From the Alliance

Jun. 4, 2019

Innovation Alliance Statement on Draft Tillis-Coons Bill on Patent Eligibility

Bill Would Promote American Innovation by Restoring Certainty About What is Patentable in the U.S.; Represents Major Positive Step Toward Sensible Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper today issued the following statement on the draft bill released last month by Senators Tillis and Coons, and Representatives Collins, Johnson and Stivers, that would reform Section 101 of the Patent Act. The bill is being considered in a series of Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee hearings being held June 4, 5 and 11.

“The Innovation Alliance commends Senators Tillis and Coons, along with Representatives Collins, Johnson and Stivers, for releasing draft legislation that would promote American innovation by restoring certainty about what is patentable in the U.S. This legislative effort represents a major positive step toward sensible reform.

“For nearly 150 years, section 101 was interpreted to allow inventions to be patented across broad categories and subject matters. These patents incentivized American R&D and innovation and led to countless technological and medical breakthroughs.

“Yet, starting in 2010, the Supreme Court has issued a series of decisions which have upended longstanding settled law and narrowed the scope of patent-eligible subject matter. These decisions have created chaos in the patent world and have left inventors uncertain about what is patentable. As a result, innovation and venture capital has been driven overseas. In fact, a 2017 study of 18,000 patent applications rejected in the U.S. found that nearly 1,700 were granted in the European Union or China, or both; and a 2019 study found that venture capital investments are heavily impacted by patent eligibility considerations.

“The disparity in patent eligibility between the U.S. and our foreign competitors is particularly problematic in the critical areas of emerging technologies and biotech innovations, including 5G, advanced computing, artificial intelligence and medical diagnostics. This undermines U.S. competitiveness and the ability of the U.S. to remain the global leader in innovation.

“The Tillis-Coons draft bill would take a number of important steps to restore certainty about what is patentable in the U.S. We thank the bill sponsors for tackling this important issue and urge Congress to move forward with section 101 reform.”



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 members can be found in large and small communities across the country, helping to fuel the innovation pipeline and drive the 21st century economy. Learn more at