Brian Pomper Image

Brian Pomper

Executive Director

Innovation Alliance

Brian Pomper serves as Executive Director of the Innovation Alliance, a coalition of research and development-focused companies heavily engaged in patent policy debates.  He has served in that role since 2009.  He formerly served as chief international trade counsel to former Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT).  In that role, he was responsible for advising Chairman Baucus and other members of the Senate Finance Committee on all aspects of the Committee’s international trade and economic agenda.

In his current lobbying practice, Brian offers public policy, political, and strategic business advice to Fortune 500 companies and industry associations on a wide range of policy issues, including international trade and intellectual property.  He represents companies before Congress, the White House, and federal agencies on a diverse set of public policy matters, including advocacy and lobbying on domestic and foreign legislation and regulations; market access problems, foreign investment, and international trade negotiations and trade disputes; and intellectual property, international tax, and customs issues.  He also serves as an adjunct professor teaching international trade policy and politics at George Washington’s Graduate School of Political Management, and as an Educational Counselor for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

He received a J.D. from the Cornell University Law School, clerked for Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and is a member of the U.S. patent bar. 

Recent Articles by Brian Pomper

Tillis Bill Would Restore Needed Clarity and Predictability in Patent Eligibility Law

Over the last 15 years, the United States Supreme Court has mutated patent eligibility into an impossibly complex and confusing mess. The Court’s current eligibility test strays far from Congress’s original intent, erodes trust in predictability, and has left many remarking that innovation in the United States is falling behind due to uncertainty of patent eligibility law. Even more troubling, the resulting uncertainty of patent ineligibility for large swaths of innovation in critical technology areas, including artificial intelligence, poses significant risks to U.S. competitiveness, economic growth and national security. The Court has had opportunities to rectify its patent sinkhole but recently declined another chance to mend the chaos. When the Court denied certiorari in American Axle v. Neapco—despite the Solicitor General’s plea to hear the case—it became clear that Congress must step in to rescue U.S. innovation.

America Needs a Chief IP Negotiator: Confirm Chris Wilson Now

The U.S. Senate might be the world’s “greatest deliberative body.” But it’s certainly not the quickest. For over a year, senators have failed to review and approve an uncontroversial nominee for a position that most Americans have never heard of—but one that’s immensely important to our economy. In 2015, Congress passed the late Senator Orrin Hatch’s Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, which created the position of Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator. Senator Hatch believed that intellectual property (IP) was so important to the U.S. economy that it deserved the focus of an ambassador-rank official charged with guaranteeing strong IP standards are upheld and enforced with global trading partners. He was right: IP-intensive industries support more than 62 million American jobs, nearly half of all U.S. employment. 

New Research Supports What We’ve Long Known: Enforcement Is the Key to Benefitting from Trade Deals

Despite high aspirations among political leaders, lawyers and others for a rules-based international order, a major new study from researchers at York University finds that the 250,000 existing treaties designed to foster international cooperation have mostly been ineffective. One big exception, however, is in the area of trade and finance, where negotiators wisely put meat on the bones of the commitments by including meaningful enforcement mechanisms. As a result, the researchers found, these international agreements were effective in increasing commerce and global prosperity.

A Step Forward for the STRONGER Patents Act

The bipartisan STRONGER Patents Act of 2019 took an important step forward last week, as the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held a hearing on the proposed legislation. Senators Tillis and Coons, the Subcommittee’s Chairman and Ranking Member, should be commended for holding the hearing and focusing attention on our patent system’s role in promoting American innovation and job creation. As several of the hearing witnesses made clear in their testimony, our patent system has been dangerously weakened in recent years through a series of judicial, legislative, and administrative changes. These changes have undermined patent rights and made it difficult for inventors to protect their innovations from infringement. Meanwhile, our foreign competitors, including China and Europe, have strengthened their patent rights. This has put us at a competitive disadvantage and helped contribute to a trend of both innovation and venture capital increasingly moving overseas. For example, the U.S. share of global venture capital fell from 66% in 2010 to 40% in 2018, while China’s share increased from 12% to 38% in the same time period. And despite more than a decade of economic growth following the Great Recession of 2007-2009, startup formation has failed to return to its pre-recession levels.

Senators Coons and Cotton introduce STRONGER Patents Act of 2017

This comprehensive legislation is exactly what is needed to strengthen our patent system, which will promote American innovation, competitiveness and job creation. For roughly a decade now, we have seen a steady weakening of patent rights in the U.S., undermining the ability of inventors to protect their innovations from infringement from large corporations and foreign entities. The STRONGER Patents Act says ‘enough is enough’ and ensures that patent rights are protected as a fundamental underpinning of our innovation economy.  

PATENT Act Still Ominous For Startups and Small Inventors

Although the latest version of the PATENT Act (S.1137) represents an improvement over previous versions of the legislation, it would still make all U.S. patents less enforceable and cast an ominous cloud over startups and small inventors… The latest version of the PATENT Act notably fails to address the critical overbreadth problems of the customer stay, heightened pleadings, and discovery provisions. Together these provisions place an undue burden on the enforcement rights of legitimate patent owners.

Innovation Act makes patents harder to enforce, easier to infringe

Many of the provisions of H.R. 9 would unnecessarily undermine the enforceability of all U.S. patent rights, even when clearly valid patents are being enforced in good faith against clearly infringing actors. While a consensus on measures to target abusive behavior in patent litigation is achievable, the sweeping provisions of the Innovation Act cannot be supported.

In Considering Patent Law Changes, Don’t Forget Impact on Universities

While there has been much written in the past months on efforts to change the U.S. patent system, there has been little focus on the vital role that the current patent system plays in supporting universities in conducting basic research and development (R&D). This university-driven R&D is a critical force in driving innovation, inventions and often startups that create jobs and promote American competitiveness.

Past Events with Brian Pomper