From the Alliance

Oct. 23, 2013

Innovation Alliance on House Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte’s Patent Bill

Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper released the following statement today regarding Chairman Goodlatte’s patent bill;

“The Innovation Alliance appreciates the willingness of Chairman Goodlatte and his staff to meet with and take input from stakeholders throughout the development of this bill and we believe it has been improved as a result.  There are provisions in the bill that the Innovation Alliance does support in principle, including balanced fee shifting, heightened pleading standards, and enhanced disclosure of real parties in interest. These provisions should be crafted in such a way that they preserve the role of an independent judiciary and are not overly burdensome on stakeholders.

“There are some remaining provisions, however, that would have serious negative unintended consequences on U.S. inventors and the economy.  For example, the mandatory stay as drafted is too broad, applying to entities well beyond the small retail “mom and pop” stores that inspired the provision.  It would invite abuse by infringers who want to limit their damages, prevent patent holders from obtaining fair and efficient access to justice, and actually increase patent litigation.  The Innovation Alliance believes that measures to address litigation abuse should be narrowly crafted to target the abuse and not reduce the value and enforceability of patents more broadly.  Unfortunately, we believe the mandatory stay provision is not sufficiently narrowly crafted.

“We also oppose the expansion of the covered business method patent program.  The covered business method program created by the America Invents Act has only been in operation for slightly more than one year.  There is no evidence at this early juncture to suggest that the program is not working or needs to be changed or extended.  The Innovation Alliance also believes our patent system should not discriminate against any particular class of patents by subjecting certain patents to additional costly administrative proceedings in the USPTO and potentially exposing their owners to serial validity challenges.

“We also continue to remain concerned with proposed changes to the America Invents Act’s estoppel standard for post grant review.

“In closing, our concerns stem from the fact that the bill’s provisions as drafted, taken together, will significantly shift the balance of patent ownership and licensing power from small companies and inventors to larger, better financed incumbent companies.  It is important to bear in mind that the expenses and time required to assert patent rights are less of a challenge to larger incumbent companies.  But doing so for small innovation companies poses a significant risk and does so at the expense of U.S. startups, investors, and inventors – the very source of our next big technology inventions.

“We look forward to working with Chairman Goodlatte and his staff to address the concerns we have raised as the measure progresses through the legislative process.”

Contact:  Jaime Horn, (202) 827-7859,