Posts in Legislation

Patent Reform to be introduced in House next week

Multiple sources have confirmed that House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), will soon introduce the latest round of patent reform legislation in the United States House of Representatives. The bill, which will be nearly identical to the Innovation Act, which Goodlatte introduced during the 113th Congress, is expected to be introduced on Thursday, February 5, 2015. Goodlatte will bypass the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, and the bill will proceed directly to the Committee level.

A 2015 Trade Policy Outlook

With Republicans in control of both Chambers, the Administration may finally get TPA, fast- track negotiating authority for trade agreements that allows the President to negotiate international agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. Senator Hatch will likely have an ally in incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- KY), who has signaled that TPA is a pro-business measure that could pass Congress and have the support of the President.

Michelle Lee confirmation hearing brings questions on fee shifting, post-grant proceedings

Michelle Lee, the current Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, was once again in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee panel yesterday, answering questions during her confirmation hearing. Lee, who would take over the vacant position of Director of the USPTO if confirmed, had already been subject to one confirmation hearing in December 2014. With little time before the end of the 113th Congress, then Ranking Member Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), informed Lee and the Senate panel that no vote would be taken in the 113th Congress and new members of the Judiciary Committee would be given the opportunity to ask questions prior to a vote in Committee during the 114th Congress, which started January 6, 2015. Newly elected Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and David Perdue (R-GA) did take the opportunity to ask questions.

A Rebuke to Terrorists

Long term economic growth is intricately linked with political freedom. Political freedom fosters stable international relations. Stable international relations promote wealth creation. And so the cycle grows. Innovators go around the world looking for the best ideas and talent to create prosperity. The benefits of innovation are so enormous that they improve lives even in countries at the bottom of the economic barrel. We can only imagine what would happen if the creativity in those countries were unleashed as well. Few would trade this vision for the one the terrorists have in mind.

Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Bayh-Dole

Debates over economic fairness, the appropriate role of government in the economy and the value of the patent system spill over into our world. One factor that made the enactment of Bayh-Dole so difficult was the feeling in the 60’s and 70’s that patents were inherently bad. Intellectual property used to fall under the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopolies when I joined the Judiciary Committee staff– which says much on how patents were viewed. It took the wakeup call of losing our traditional lead in innovation to Japan and Germany to start reversing this trend.

The Past, Present and Future of Post Grant Administrative Trials

Between September 16, 2012, and August 7, 2014, there were 1793 post grant challenges instituted. See USPTO PTAB Update, slide 5. Of those challenges 1,585 (or just over 88%) were inter partes reviews. There have been 201 covered business method challenges, 6 derivation proceedings and only a single post grant review… Prior to enactment of the AIA it was believed that bio/pharma would largely be spared from post grant challenges. Biotech and pharmaceutical companies tend to have fewer patents and do not collect patents in the same way that electronics and software companies do. Furthermore, biotech and pharma patents tend to be more detailed and overall of a higher quality than your average patent. Given the relatively few patents that these companies hold that cover core assets even 5.2% of post grant challenges coming from the bio/pharma space is surprising. No patents are safe from post grant challenge it seems.

If Patent Reform Is Meant to Starve Patent Trolls, Why Is It Feeding Them Instead?

In the post-AIA world, patent litigation has become an expensive and very risky proposition for law firms. The end result is undoubtedly one of the great ironies in patent reform thus far. With reform gradually making it impossible for all but the wealthiest patent holders to enforce their intellectual property rights, many patent holders must instead turn to NPEs.

USPTO to Host AIA Roadshow in Seven Cities Nationwide

The USPTO specifically wants to broaden public knowledge of the FITF provisions and assist understanding of the provision’s administrative processes to aid inventors and their representatives in the filing and prosecuting of patent applications under the FITF system. At each roadshow, panelists will discuss FITF statistics to date, the applicability of the FITF provisions on patent applications filed today, the FITF statutory framework and its exceptions, and AIA evidentiary declaration practice useful to invoke these exceptions. The experts will present a variety of sample scenarios to illustrate both the applicability of the FITF provisions as well as tips for prosecuting applications filed under the FITF provisions.

When Patents Aren’t Enough: The Case for Data Exclusivity for Biologic Medicines

Although complementary, patents and data exclusivity protection incentivize innovation in different ways and serve distinct purposes. Patents provide protection for innovations that meet the standards of patentability and are novel, nonobvious, and useful. In the context of biopharmaceuticals, patents protect both breakthrough discoveries as well as incremental improvements. Due to the length of the drug-development and patent-approval processes, effective patent terms rarely correspond to FDA approval. Accordingly, in some cases innovative therapies may experience patent expiry shortly after making it to market. In contrast, data exclusivity protects the tremendous investments of time, talent, and financial resources required to establish a new therapy as safe and effective. This is accomplished by requiring competing firms seeking regulatory approval of the same or a similar product to independently generate the comprehensive preclinical and clinical trial data rather than rely on or use the innovator’s data to establish safety and efficacy of their competing product.

Bayh-Dole: The Envy of the World Because it Works

MUIR: “There are approximately 40 countries around the world that have enacted their own version of the Bayh-Dole legislation because they have seen the numbers. They have seen the success that the United States has had in commercializing these discoveries. We truly are the envy of the rest of the world. In three or four months I’m going to be visiting about six different countries. What they want to hear about is how is the U.S. achieving this level of success. So oftentimes we look at our own backyard and don’t have a full appreciation of the beautiful flowers growing there but there are lots of beautiful flowers growing in our tech transfer profession in the United States.”

FTC Testifies on Legislation to Prohibit Deceptive Patent Demand Letters

The Federal Trade Commission testified on consumer protection issues involving patent demand letters, patent assertion entities (PAEs), and proposed legislation to prohibit deceptive patent demand letters. Delivering testimony before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Lois Greisman, Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Marketing Practices at the Federal Trade Commission, provided lawmakers with comments on a draft bill regarding deceptive patent demand letters, and recognized that demand letters raise broader issues about patents and the U.S. patent system.

Reality Check: Patents Foster Innovation and Economic Activity

The trouble is the so-called “patent reform” would cripple small businesses that innovate and need patents, while at the same time not offering any relief whatsoever to those small businesses that are being targeted by the bad actors… The inconvenient truth is that there is no evidence that a weaker patent system fosters innovation, but there is overwhelming evidence that a strong patent system does foster innovation, leads to growth, investment from abroad and a more prosperous economy. Indeed, weak patent rights virtually guarantee innovation simply won’t happen. We know that because where there are weak patent rights, there is no innovation, and there is no economic activity. Indeed, if a weak patent system were the answer you would expect countries that have a weak patent system, or no patent system at all, to have run away innovation. What you see, however, is the exact opposite. This fact alone rather conclusively demonstrates that those who assert that patents stifle innovation are simply wrong.

Easing the Standard for Recovering Attorney Fees in Patent Cases

I think that the Supreme Court decision will be enough to prevent the so-called “patent reform” from gaining any traction in the Senate. The cynical view is that there is so much lobbying money flowing why would Congress want to turn that spigot off when it could easily flow into the next Congressional term? Further, there has been a growing and steady effort by those opposed to the pending patent legislation. Opponents were already making their case heard as the Senate continued to time after time postpone dissemination of the Manager’s Amendment, signaling the consensus that some Senators desperately wanted to reach was illusive, if not impossible. Now with the Supreme Court decisions in these two cases those on the Hill who were already skeptical have more than enough ammunition to slam on the brakes, at least for now, to see what the ultimate ramifications of the decisions will be on the reality of patent litigation.

Why ‘Patent Reform’ Harms Innovative Small Businesses – Summary

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.

‘Patent Reform’ Tips Power in Favor of Infringers and Against Small Businesses

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.


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