The purpose of the U.S. patent system has been to promote innovation. The various ”Patent Reform” bills will in fact retard innovation and cost America jobs. They are contrary to the Founding Fathers’ intent in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution, contrary to the policies of over 220 years of patent law, contrary to the advice of the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration, and contrary to prior statements of President Obama.
In this Part IV, we will discuss the proposal that all interested parties by plaintiffs, the enhanced pleading requirements, limitations on discover and customer stays. While some of these provisions may seem to make sense on their surface, and tailored to provide greater transparency, the reality is that the provisions are extraordinarily burdensome. For example, as written one proposal would require a corporation bringing a patent infringement lawsuit to disclose every stockholder no matter how few shares are owned. Furthermore, by micromanaging patent litigation discretion will be taken away from district court judges while at the same time onerous obligations are placed on small businesses before they can even begin to assert patent infringement, which is problematic because so many entities already knowingly choose to infringe rather than negotiate licenses or engineer around patent rights.
In this Part III, we will discuss the Covered Business Methods (CBM) expansion and the proposed elimination of post grant review estoppel. If these provisions are enacted it will provide greater incentive to challenge granted patents, making serial challenges the new norm. This will substantially and negatively impact small business innovators who will be forced to continually fight to keep the patents they have obtained after having already spent many years during patent prosecution to obtain the rights. This means patent rights will never be more than an expectation and not a true property right. Therefore, if these provisions are enacted it will mean no patent is every truly safe, no title is every quieted, and this will substantially, and negatively, impact investment opportunity and ultimately the commercialization of innovations.
The US House passed the Innovation Act (HR3309) in December 2013. The Senate is now well on its way to incorporating this legislation which will make Americans poorer. The bills have many problems that will inhibit small inventors, but the most insidious are “Loser Pays” and “Pay to Play”. It changes the law, singling out inventors as a class so onerous that only they must pay the other side’s legal fees if they don’t win every claim. Pay to Play makes inventors guarantee payment up-front. Some proposed Senate bills (e.g.: S.1013 & S.1612) make sure that almost all Americans and most small companies will never be able to afford to enforce their patents on their inventions.
For small business, patents will become mostly unenforceable due to the proposed much higher upfront cost of litigation, thus making small business patents significantly less valuable. Loss of patent value constricts new company formation, chilling new investments, and choking job formation. Legislating disincentives for capital investments will result in the loss of many hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth in America and dry up the major source of new jobs, small inventing businesses… Patents are the number one indicator of regional wealth according to the Federal Reserve Bank… If these “Patent Reform” bills are signed into law, they will discourage small business patents, and the contrapositive indicates that we will be a poorer nation.