From the Alliance

Nov. 6, 2019

Innovation Alliance Letter to Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee on Patent Quality

The Honorable Thom Tillis
United States Senate
185 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Chris Coons
United States Senate
218 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Tillis and Ranking Member Coons:

Thank you for holding the hearing last week in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Intellectual Property entitled “Promoting the Useful Arts: How can Congress prevent the issuance of poor quality patents?”  The Innovation Alliance appreciates the opportunity to provide brief views on the issues raised during the hearing.

The Innovation Alliance represents innovators, patent owners and stakeholders from a diverse range of industries that believe in the critical importance of maintaining a strong patent system that supports innovative enterprises of all sizes.  Innovation Alliance member companies, innovate across a wide range of industries, including audio compression, wireless communications, currency counting and counterfeit detection equipment, mobile computing, haptic technology, vehicle transmission and drive train technology, and media content management, among others.  What our companies have in common is their commitment to innovation and the belief that strong patents and a strong patent system leads to more innovation, more high-paying U.S. jobs, and a stronger U.S. economy.

Stakeholders throughout the patent system no doubt agree that patent quality is a good thing.  Indeed, the Innovation Alliance’s commitment to patent quality is memorialized in our logo, which includes the motto “Improving Patent Quality • Promoting Innovation.”  We support ensuring the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and its examiners have sufficient resources to perform their exacting work, keeping patent fees from being diverted to other uses, and enacting other reforms that strengthen patents and improve predictability in the patent system.

We agree with University of Pennsylvania Law Professor R. Polk Wagner, however, that the term “poor quality patent” is often used as shorthand to denigrate a patent that may in fact be strong on substance but that stands in the way of someone who wishes to use the invention protected by the patent without taking out a license to do so.  In this regard, the Innovation Alliance urges the Subcommittee to be wary of any assertion that there is a “crisis” in patent quality.

Read more here.