Posts Tagged: "Congress"

Defend Trade Secrets Act ready for markup in Senate Judiciary Committee

Earlier today the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which is authored by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). This is an important issue for Congress because trade secret theft puts American jobs at risk and threatens incentives for continued investment in research and development in the United States. Currently, civil trade secret laws can and do vary state-to-state, and while the differences may not be substantively large it is truly odd that in a global economy the United States has left trade secret law to the States to individually regulate. It is long since time for Congress to act.

Patent Reform – What’s Driving the Patent Legislative Agenda?

Phil Johnson on IPR: “I think with hindsight we might say they made the mistake of relying on the Patent Office to promulgate regulations for fair proceedings for both patent owners and to challengers. And they expected, for example, that the same claim instruction standards would be used in IPRs are as used in the courts. They expected that when the law said that a patent owner could file a reply in the institution phase that it wouldn’t be told oh, no, you can’t include new evidence for that reply. They expected that other burdensome presumptions, including things like consideration of objective indicia of nonobvious would be treated the way it is in the courts, and so on. So in the end they expected that the outcome in IPRs would be approximately the same as in the courts and what we have seen is that that absolutely is not the case and, therefore, it’s not that — necessarily that the law was wrong, it’s that I don’t think pharma decisions and bio decisions have been promulgated properly.”

Misleading patent troll narrative driven by anecdote, not facts

”An anecdote is a snapshot, a one-dimensional shard of the big picture. It is lacking in scale, perspective, and data,” authors Steven Levitt and Stephan Dubner write. I was struck by how well the dynamic of anecdote vs. story captures the heated Washington debate over patent legislation we have witnessed in the past few years. The ”patent troll” narrative — fueled by anecdotal tales of mom-and-pop operations snared by fraudulent patent suits and the image of ugly green trolls paraded from the House floor to the White House – became the conventional wisdom on patents almost overnight. The only ”data” offered to support the narrative were compiled from surveys with unscientific methodologies, nonrandomized survey bases and ill-defined notions of a ”troll” that swept in universities, small inventors and anyone who owned a patent but didn’t manufacture, market and distribute the related product.

A NASA journey to nowhere may be exactly what U.S. needs

It’s unfortunate that NASA has had to operate in such a unfavorable climate, being pushed for more and more answers out of its space exploration program while suffering uncertainty in its federal funding amounts. It would be a mistake for Congress to ground NASA unless fine details on its Mars program are forthcoming. Having a goal oriented target has proven helpful for NASA, but scientific discoveries and the innovations that come therefrom are not easily or even appropriately quantifiable on a spreadsheet, business plan or budget. Historically, NASA space exploration mission objectives have led to great benefits for the American people, even when their plans and mission goals have been a little light on the technical details.

A fear of trade secret trolls is completely unfounded

Fears about trade secret trolls are based in mythology, not on fact. If those claiming federal trade secret legislation would lead to trade secret trolls actually understand trade secret law they simply couldn’t possibly come to a conclusion that there is any risk there will be a single trade secret troll, let alone some kind of zombie-like rise. Simply stated the fear is pure fiction. In addition to seeing absolutely no evidence of trade secret trolls on the State level, trade secrets require a relationship or some nexus between the parties to the dispute. You simply cannot commoditize trade secret litigation in the same way patent trolls can and do commoditize patent litigation.

With Boehner gone will House Freedom Caucus be conservative on patent reform?

Will House Freedom Caucus members be conservative on patent reform, or will conservatives continue to support the Obama/Google patent reform agenda? Ironically, while Speaker Boehner has been criticized by conservatives as being a Republican in name only (RINO), several of the members of the House Freedom caucus who serve on the House Judiciary Committee have been anything but conservative on certain votes. For example, when it comes to patent reform at least some self professed Congressional conservatives have decided to side with the Obama Administration, giving Obama corporate supporters everything they want from patent legislation.

Patents, Prosperity and Political Systems

Unfortunately, we are going through another period where many see the triumvirate of big government, big business and big labor guiding an economy stuck at a 2% growth rate as preferable to the messy “creative destruction” of free enterprise capitalism. The emphasis on making sure the existing economic pie is fairly distributed rather than grown leads to increased hostility to the intellectual property system. We see arguments that patents harm rather than stimulate innovation and hear how much better it would be if they were placed in the public domain or licensed non-exclusively to be more fair. Many have forgotten that our prosperity is the result of inventions that in just a few decades created a standard of living previously unimaginable.

A false patent reform narrative – The Innovation Act is not about small businesses

you continually hear from Members of Congress, Staffers and those giant companies pushing for weaker patents that the goal of the bill is nothing more than to keep small business owners from getting sued for using pieces of equipment that they purchased. The truth, however, is far different. The small businesses that Congress claims they want to protect are just political pawns in a much larger game of chess. The people funding the effort to enact further patent reform are not small businesses; rather they are Google, Cisco, J.C. Penney, and other giant corporations. The interests important to these giant corporations are driving the push for more reform, not a deep-rooted concern for the plight of American small businesses.

Fat cats have the patent system perpetually on the brink

The stark reality of how government operates leaves us with a patent system that will be perpetually on the brink. Giant corporations have become effectively insulated from any consequences associated with stealing patented innovations, yet they continually want more and more help from Congress, which they dress up and roll out as “reform.” Even if they fail this time these companies will return, with more lobbyists and special interest groups demagoguing innovators as inherently evil, Satan practically. Rather than recognize the critical role patents play in the innovation ecosystem and in the U.S. economy, Congress is poised to flush the patent system down the drain because there are a handful of giant tech corporations that believe they would benefit.

How a Washington Breakfast Influenced Conservative Votes on Patent Reform

By May 22, 2015, Congressman Goodlatte scheduled at least three $1,000 a plate breakfasts for wavering Judiciary Committee Conservatives. Money made at these breakfasts went directly to the Conservative’s campaign coffers. While not directly stated, the timing of the breakfasts suggest they might have been intended to influence their vote on patent reform. The secret to maximizing lobbyist donations is to guarantee the proper bang for the buck. For this reason, Goodlatte, whose rank and power matter to crafting legislation favorable to donors, attended these breakfasts personally, allowing his name to be used in order to ensure a larger turnout.

The path to prosperity requires sound patent policy, not more patent reform

Innovation is the lifeblood of a prosperous economy. Sound patent policy, which encourages the nexus between risk and ideas (especially for small entrepreneurs), makes invention profitable. The U.S. patent system enables that dream by protecting the market an invention creates long enough for the inventor to gain a toehold against competition, and by creating a property right capable of attracting critical investment to bring the invention to market and grow the business. Don’t let H.R. 9 or S.1137 kill this can do American spirit of innovation.

Conservative Groups Upping Patent Bill Opposition

Leading organizations of the Conservative Movement have stepped up their game informing Congress on the philosophical reasons for opposing the Innovation Act and its Senate companion, the PATENT Act. This increased patent bill opposition is directed at Republican lawmakers, the political majority party in both houses of Congress. With House leadership deciding to postpone H.R. 9’s floor debate until at least September, the expanded conservative opposition seems to be effective.

Will the Obama Administration continue to seek amendments to the Innovation Act?

As patent reform keeps chugging along in Washington, an important briefing was held on Thursday, July 23rd, between members and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle Lee. The meeting focused on H.R. 9, the Innovation Act, which recently moved out of committee and is heading to the floor of the House for a vote once it’s scheduled, although a vote is not expected until September at the earliest. The briefing was closed to the press.

Patent Reform riddled with intended, unintended, and unknown consequences

Most Congressional offices now understand how loser-pay, bonding and joinder stops the flow of capital to innovation startups, how customer stays make defending patent rights impossibly difficult, why eliminating PRG estoppel perpetuates litigation shifting almost all of the costs onto inventors, and how IPR’s and CBM’s unjustly strip property rights and devalue all patents. Rank and file offices seem to be listening. However, key offices are deliberately deaf.

Innovation Act delayed in House amid bipartisan bicameral disapproval

Members of both major American political parties from both the Senate and the House of Representatives came together at a press conference held on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 14th, to oppose the most recent round of proposed patent reform bills in either chamber of Congress. Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that suggest that the Innovation Act (H.R. 9) has been tabled for the rest of the summer in the House of Representatives.