Manus Cooney serves as a Managing Partner of ACG Advocacy. He brings to the table a distinguished public policy practice specializing in intellectual property, competition, and administration of justice policy matters. ACG’s clients will have the benefit of his expertise in strategic public policy planning, execution, and representation before federal agencies and Congress.
Prior to his career in client advocacy, Mr. Cooney served as Senior Vice President and Policy Counsel for the file-sharing company Napster, Inc. He was responsible for setting the company’s strategic course on public policy and product development issues. He served as the principal liaison to the White House, the Department of Justice, Congressional offices, industry leaders, and the media on key technology policy and product issues.
Mr. Cooney served with distinction on Capitol Hill for over a decade. From 1996-2000, Mr. Cooney served as Chief Counsel & Staff Director of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was the principal legal and policy advisor to the Committee’s Chairman, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT). Mr. Cooney was primarily responsible for the development and stewardship of the Committee’s legislative, executive, and oversight agendas. The issues overseen by Mr. Cooney included: intellectual property law; Internet policy issues; judicial nominations; civil justice reform; and oversight of the Executive Branch and Judicial Branch.
As we thankfully see 2020 fading into the rear-view mirror and all look forward to a hopefully much better 2021, we want to take a moment to reflect on what the past year brought us and how the stage is set for another very fluid and consequential year for intellectual property policy. In times like these, it is clear that leadership matters more than ever. During some of the most challenging times our country has faced, there were a number of places where we saw strong leadership result in tangible progress. This year has already shown us a dramatic first few days. Beyond the tragic events in the U.S. Capitol, we saw the somewhat unexpected shift of power in the Senate to Democratic control based on the election of both Rev. Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff in Georgia. It is clear that the new Congress and the new Biden Administration will face huge challenges before we approach anything close to “normal” in any sense. That said, when it comes to IP, what can we expect?
EDITOR’S NOTE: What follows is a summary of the Goodlatte patent bill created by American Continental Group, which is a government affairs and strategic consulting firm in Washington, DC. Manus Cooney, a former Chief Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee is one of the partners at ACG, and is also frequent guest contributor on IPWatchdog.com. Cooney and his partners and associates worked to prepare this summary, which was described as a team effort. It is republished here with permission.
Instead of condemning NPES, the GAO emphasized at the very outset of its report that our nation’s history is filled with examples of inventors who did not develop products based on the patented technologies… [O]verall, the report directly and indirectly supports the view that there is no patent litigation crisis and that, to the extent that there are problems with the patent system, they are linked primarily to patent quality – not the identity of the patent owner (e.g. NPE, PAE, PME, operating company or whatever name one chooses to use).
On Friday, November, 30, 2012, a bill making technical changes to the AIA was introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill number is HR 6621. The proposed AIA package does NOT include a so-called “fix” to post-grant review that some considered to be substantive and not technical. Key staff on the Hill believe the measure to be non-controversial. House passage of the measure could take place before year’s end.
News analysis and op-ed pieces following the $1 billion jury decision in Apple v. Samsung have been filled with reactive statements critical of the US patent system. Apple’s enforcement of its patents may “literally choke innovation” cried one law professor. A critic of the decision said that cases like this will require competitors to innovators like Apple to be much more mindful of patents and to “try to avoid or secure rights to [patents]” before bringing a product to market. What the critics have not explained is how making it easier for a foreign company like Samsung to steal US-born innovation is in our long-term national interest.
It is fair to say that enactment of the AIA is not what most stakeholders championed early on. Many small inventors and innovation companies feel that some of the provisions are not in their best interest. IT would have preferred a bill that did more to change how patents are valued and enforced. Nevertheless, to most stakeholder, the final version of the bill is an improvement over previous versions of patent legislation. When patent reform legislation was first introduced in 2005, its primary objective was to reduce the infringement liability of large technology aggregators by significantly limiting equitable and monetary remedies, restrict venue, and make issued patents far easier to invalidate through post-grant review. In addition, earlier versions of the bill would have given the USPTO unprecedented substantive rulemaking authority and increased the cost and burden of filing a patent application. In combination, these measures would have significantly undermined the enforceability and value of patent rights, while increasing the cost, complexity, and uncertainty of obtaining patents. All of these reforms were advanced by a IT interests set on weakening the ability of small innovators to obtain and enforce patents.
On Friday, September 16, 2011, President Obama signed into law “The America Invents Act” (“AIA”) which passed the Senate on September 8, 2011, by a vote of 89-9. The AIA passed the House of Representatives on June 23rd by a vote of 304-117. The measure, which is the product of a seven-years-long legislative battle among patent policy stakeholders, changes how patents are obtained and enforced in the United States. Important reforms to patent law are incorporated into the AIA and, just as significantly, several controversial proposed changes were deleted from the AIA before final passage. This article is a play-by-play of the process and how it unfolded.