Posts in Legislation

The Innovation Act vs. The Innovation System

There is no credible evidence behind proposals to make the drastic changes embodied in the Innovation Act, the removal of discretion from judges to judge each case on an individual basis with mandatory stays and fee shifting, and new rules for pleading and discovery that would undermine the ability of legitimate inventors and patent holders from enforcing their rights against infringers.

Professors Urge Caution on Patent Reform

Earlier today 40 economists and law professors wrote to Senate and House Judiciary leaders explaining that the data it that keeps being cited to justify HR 9, otherwise known as the Innovation Act, is “flawed, unreliable and incomplete.” The professors caution Congress to proceed cautiously, particularly given the numerous misleading and flawed studies that “highly exaggerated claims regarding patent trolls.”

Carly Fiorina says Innovation Act only benefits large corporations, not innovators

Carly Fiorina: ‘[W]atch carefully who is supporting that [the Innovation Act]. It’s not the small it’s the big. It’s the big companies whose ongoing economic benefit depends upon their ability to acquire innovations and patents at a lower cost.”

Senator Coons – Patents are about the American Dream

Senator Coons: ”[P]atents are not just foundational. Patents are really about the American Dream. They are about what it means to come to this country or be from this country and believe in the possibility that you and a team of folks that you work with can invent and develop and then protect a groundbreaking innovation. Patents are about constantly laying a stronger foundation upon which future generations can continue to innovate and about insuring we will find solutions to the challenges that face us, not just here but around the world… So here is the truth. We need to both strengthen patents and target real abuse. They are not mutually exclusive…”

Demand Letter Legislation Must be Narrowly Tailored

An effort to address bad actors may unnecessarily create significant hurdles for innovators seeking to enforce or license the rights to their own innovations. The fear of unintended consequences requires targeted reform that will specifically address only the abusive behaviors relied upon by the bad actors, namely misleading and fraudulent demand letters. The trick will be to tackle these abusive behaviors that serve no legitimate purpose while not making legitimate business communications impossible. Luckily, it is not difficult to spot fraudulent demand letters and distinguish them from legitimate business inquiries. But will Congress be able to strike the appropriate legislative solution?

Fee-shifting won’t do anything to stop Patent Trolls

The company that just forcefully promised to fight the troll at all costs now can’t write the check fast enough. The case settles, the corporation feels vindicated because they didn’t have to pay their high priced attorneys for more than a couple hours, and they have mitigated the risk. This story is repeated constantly, but one thing never changes. Because the case was settled there is no prevailing party. Therefore, there will never be an award of attorneys fees against the nefarious actors that are rightly called patent trolls.

Pro-patentee Patent Reform, the STRONG Patents Act Introduced in Senate

The STRONG Patents Act appears to be overwhelmingly favorable to innovators and patent owners. This legislation stands in stark contrast with the Innovation Act submitted in the House by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (D-Va) and shows a very different, alternative vision for the patent system.

Conservatives Should Have No Part of Patent Reform

”We have corporate interests masquerading the drastic overhaul of the patent system as mere tort reform… It makes no sense to undermine long-standing property rights to address a supposed litigation explosion that doesn’t exist with a supposed tort solution that doesn’t apply.”

The Innovation Act Will Harm Income, Employment, and Economic Growth

The legal costs of the IP system should be measured against the value of intellectual capital in the U.S. economy, estimated in a study by Kevin Hassett and Robert Shapiro to equal between $8.1 trillion to $9.2 trillion… Weakening the US patent system harms economic prospects for middle income earners because it will stifle innovation, discourage patenting, reduce private investments in new technologies protected by patents, slow economic growth, increase unemployment, and harm consumers. The proposed reforms will reduce prospects for economic advancement for middle income earners because they damage entrepreneurship and small business and favor large incumbent firms over inventors and innovators.

Bayh-Dole Forecast: Sunny with 20% chance of Shark Attack

How tragic if the United States of America turns its patent system into a tool that rich and powerful companies use to suppress innovation that challenges their comfortable status quo. But Just because there are sharks doesn’t mean you stay out of the ocean. We need to get ahead of the curve and aggressively publicize what we’re doing to protect the public interest. That means showing how Bayh-Dole and the patent system advance human well-being and wealth creation not just here but around the world.

Flawed survey erroneously concludes patent licensing does not contribute to innovation

There are a variety of problems with this paper, the conclusions reached and the methodology. Perhaps the largest problem is that Professors Feldman and Lemley rely on subjective evidence rather than volumes of objective evidence that contradict the self-serving responses from those who are licensing rights they are already infringing. What else would you suspect from a homogenous subset of individuals who collectively don’t like the patent system very much? Collective bias seems a far more likely answer as to why there is “near unanimity,” as the Professors claim. Even so, how is it possible that any group could ever achieve near unanimity about anything? The fact that there was near unanimity demands one to question whether there is a bias or flaw in the survey, yet no such inquiry seems to have been made.

University of Wisconsin Celebrates 90 Years of Innovation Excellence

For the past 90 years WARF has promoted scientific research and innovation at UW-Madison and has earned more than $800 million in patent royalty revenues over the years and has generated $1.25 billion in revenue for the institution. WARF’s success spans well beyond the critical role Bremer played in the enactment of Bayh-Dole, and can be seen in how the University of Wisconsin-Madison stacks up against research universities from across the world. In 2013, UW-Madison placed 6th globally among all universities receiving U.S. patents that year with 160 patents; prostate cancer vaccines, clean compression engines and prosthetic device control were among the technologies protected.

Issa strikes defiant tone over patent reform

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, struck a defiant tone this morning speaking at the National Press Club. Issa explained in no uncertain terms that the patent litigation reforms contained within the Innovation Act will not be watered down, period. He told the audience that never again will a defendant first learn of the allegations against them only at the end of the case.

Meet the Democrats of the House IP Subcommittee

Congressman Jerrold Nadler has been selected by Democrats to be the Ranking Member of the House IP Subcommittee. It appears that Issa may be getting squeezed out, which could mean that the House IP Subcommittee will have a lot less work to do than one might expect in a Congress that will be seeking to push major reforms to both the Copyright Act, the Patent Act and to implement federal trade secret legislation. Nevertheless, it is still worth knowing who the key players could be. With that in mind, and without further ado, here are the Democrats on the House IP Subcommittee.

USPTO budget increases for FY 2016 despite reduced fee estimates

This latest budget increases the amount of money that will be available to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, although the amount specifically appropriated is less in FY 2016 than it was in FY 2015. This has lead some to incorrectly claim that the USPTO will have access to less funding in FY 2016 compared with FY 2015. According to the IPO, the FY “2016 budget proposes that the agency will draw from its operating reserves and other income to fund its total estimated obligations of $3.499 billion, including enhanced investment in its IT infrastructure.”


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