Posts Tagged: "Congress"

US Inventor Arguments for Opposing the Pride in Patent Ownership Act Fall Short on the Merits

Last September, a bipartisan pair of Senators introduced the Pride in Patent Ownership Act, which, if passed, would add greatly-needed transparency to our patent system. The legislation would require patent owners to disclose their identity to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) when a patent issues and whenever it changes hands so that members of the public have easy access to information about who the true owners of patents are. Right now, inventors, businesses, and other interested members of the public often have to undertake time consuming and expensive litigation to determine who owns a patent. As Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) rightly pointed out when introducing the legislation, “Patents provide a limited term monopoly against the public, and it’s in the public’s interest and benefit to know who owns that monopoly.”

USPTO, Copyright Office Joint Study on NFTs Could Help Dispel Confusion About IP Ownership in Media Content Underlying Digital Assets

On November 23, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the U.S. Copyright Office published a joint notice of inquiry in the Federal Register announcing that the two agencies would be collaborating on a study regarding intellectual property legal issues related to digital assets known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The announcement follows the dramatic rise in mainstream attention on NFTs due to their wildly fluctuating value, which has in turn created a great amount of confusion surrounding IP rights to NFTs and the underlying digital files used to create them.

This Week in Washington IP: Science Results from the James Webb Space Telescope, Measuring Innovation and Competitiveness in the U.S. and EU, and PPAC’s Next Regular Meeting at the USPTO

This week in Washington IP news, the House Space Subcommittee takes a look at the first few images and scientific measurements that have been captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, while the Senate Judiciary Committee vets several nominees to federal judgeships including a couple of judges chosen for appellate courts seeing much of the country’s IP appeals. Elsewhere, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation releases the findings of a joint study on competitiveness and innovation in North America and Europe, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hosts the latest regular meeting of the Patent Public Advisory Committee, and Brookings Institution discusses the role of state and local regulators in regulating digital assets and cryptocurrency.

With Decision Looming on Extension of TRIPS IP Waiver, House Dems Want More Info, Industry and Advocacy Groups Battle for Public Narrative

On November 10, a group of Democratic members of congress sent a letter to United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai expressing concerns about extending a waiver of intellectual property rights under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement to therapeutics and diagnostics for the treatment of COVID-19. The letter comes as talks are heating up at the World Trade Organization (WTO) about such an extension, with the technical deadline for a decision being December 19. The letter poses seven questions for Tai to consider and respond to as she formulates the U.S. position on waiver extension, including whether the current waiver of IP rights for vaccine-related technology has been effective, how “diagnostics” and “therapeutics” will be defined, and that she provide a list of countries that have expressed interest in gaining access to American IP for COVID-related diagnostics and therapeutics.

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.

Lawmakers Aim a Triple Whammy at American Innovation

Last week, the Bayh-Dole Coalition held a webinar titled “The Three-Pronged Attack on U.S. Innovation and Intellectual Property.” Before we consider each prong, it’s worthwhile reflecting on a larger point. Each would deal a body blow to American innovation just as we struggle to keep the economy on track. And each would be a self-inflicted wound that must have our foreign rivals shaking their heads at our folly.

Jim Jordan Letter to Vidal on West Virginia v. EPA Could Implicate USPTO’s Section 101 Subject Matter Eligibility Guidelines

On November 1, Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent letters to several federal agency heads, including Kathi Vidal, Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), asking those officials what their agencies had done to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency decided this June. While Jordan’s letter is clearly responding to political developments during the Biden Administration, West Virginia has garnered interest among some patent industry stakeholders responding to recent USPTO rulemaking surrounding subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

This Week in Washington IP: IP Rights and the Right-To-Repair Movement, Implementing CISA’s First Strategic Plan, and the USPTO’s RFC on Robust and Reliable Patent Rights

This week in Washington IP news, both house of Congress remain quiet during regularly scheduled work periods. Elsewhere, the Hudson Institute explores the growing right-to-repair movement and potential conflicts with federal policy on intellectual property protections. The Center for Strategic & International Studies explores the first three-year strategic plan for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and how it should be implemented. Finally, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office closes the week with a webinar discussing the agency’s recent request for comments (RFC) on initiatives to support robust and reliable patent rights being issued by the agency. 

Michel Calls Out CAFC for ‘Tremendous Failure’ to Provide Clarity on Eligibility Law

During IPWatchdog’s Life Sciences Masters 2022 today, Retired Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Paul Michel said a lot could be fixed by the CAFC itself with respect to patent eligibility law if it would just go en banc more often. “By my recollection the Federal Circuit hasn’t gone en banc on a major patent case in a decade,” Michel said. “And yet, all CAFC judges are on record saying that 101 law is a total mess and needs to be fixed.” Michel was speaking on a panel moderated by Laura Smalley of program sponsor, Harris Beach, and including Mike Cottler of biosimilars company Alvotech and Tom Stoll of Genentech. The panelists were discussing the effect of U.S. patent eligibility law on the life sciences industry, including the potential impact of current efforts to reform patent eligibility law, such as Senator Thom Tillis’ (R-NC) Patent Eligibility Restoration Act. While Michel said he believes it’s ultimately Congress’ job to make the kind of policy judgments the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit have been making in this sphere, there is still a lot more the Federal Circuit could be doing to help the situation

This Week in Washington IP: IPWatchdog’s Life Science Masters 2022, Cybersecurity Efforts at the DHS and Quarterly Update on Chinese IP Law Developments

This week in Washington IP news, both houses of Congress remain quiet during regularly scheduled work periods, but IPWatchdog debuts its new headquarters in Ashburn, VA with Life Science Masters 2022 on Monday and Tuesday. In Seoul, South Korea, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s Global Trade and Innovation Policy Alliance hosts a two-day summit to focus on strengthening strategic ties in innovation economies among member countries. ITIF also hosts an event this week to explore the upcoming COP 27 climate change conference and how stronger innovation policies can lead foreign governments to meeting climate commitments established at this meeting. Elsewhere, the Center for Strategic & International Studies hosts a pair of events taking a look at cybersecurity efforts within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hosts a regular quarterly update of recent legislative and case law developments on intellectual property in China.

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. 

Letters Seek to Dispel Gene Patent ‘Scaremongering’ Surrounding Tillis’ Patent Eligibility Bill

Last week, the leadership of the Judiciary Committees and IP Subcommittees from both houses of Congress received letters seeking to address misinformation being presented by critics of the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act, a bill proposed by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) that would abrogate several U.S. Supreme Court rulings on patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Both the Council for Innovation Promotion (C4IP) and University of Akron Law Professor Emily Michiko Morris not only supported Congressional passage of Tillis’ patent eligibility bill but also pushed back on criticisms that the bill would enable biotech firms to patent genes as they exist in the human body.

This Week in Washington IP: U.S. Cyberspace Strategy, Cryptocurrency Regulation, and Discussions with Former U.S. Trade Representatives

This week in Washington IP news, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is hosting events on blockchain and drafting provisional patent applications, while the Brookings Institution is hosting an event on the regulation of cryptocurrency markets. Also in the cyber world, three authors will make their case for a more holistic and aggressive U.S. approach to cyberspace strategy at The Heritage Foundation.

White Paper Proposes Solutions for Overhaul of Section 512

The International Center for Law and Economics (ICLE) released a white paper on Thursday arguing that Section 512 of Title 17 of the Copyright Act has been a failure, and it should be reevaluated and overhauled. Congress passed Section 512 as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and authors Kristian Stout and Geoffrey Manne argue the federal courts have written out key provisions in the law. Stout and Manne write that Section 512 has succeeded in allowing online service providers (OSPs) such as social media companies to grow and thrive by providing a safe harbor provision as long as they take down infringement promptly. However, the authors argue that the law has failed to provide proper incentives and systems to prevent digital piracy

The Pride in Patent Ownership Act is Big Tech Boondoggling

The Pride in Patent Ownership Act, S.2774, is currently being attached to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA is “must pass” legislation funding the military at a time when wars are brewing around the world, some with credible threats of nuclear war. Attaching the Pride in Patent Ownership Act to the NDAA means it will certainly become law.
The Pride in Patent Ownership Act requires those who acquire patents to publicly register their ownership assignments with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) within 120 days. Thus, it serves to identify potential patent infringement plaintiffs. If the patent holder misses the 120-day deadline, an extremely harsh penalty of losing treble damages for willful infringement, the sole remaining deterrent to willful infringement, is applied.