Innovation Alliance Statement on Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee Hearing on STRONGER Patents Act
Legislation Needed to Maintain Patent System’s Role as an Engine for U.S. Economic Growth and Job Creation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper today issued the following statement on the Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee hearing on the bipartisan STRONGER Patents Act of 2019. The STRONGER Patents Act was introduced in the Senate in July by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). The legislation was also introduced in the House in July, where Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Bill Foster (D-IL) are the lead co-sponsors:
“The Innovation Alliance thanks Senators Tillis and Coons for holding today’s hearing on the bipartisan STRONGER Patents Act and focusing attention on the need to strengthen patent protections for America’s inventors.
“A decade of harmful congressional actions and court decisions have weakened American patent rights, abandoned small inventors and undermined U.S. innovation. Foreign competitors, including China and Europe, have strengthened their patent rights while the United States has curtailed patent protections. This has put us at a competitive disadvantage and led to innovation increasingly moving overseas.
“The STRONGER Patents Act would help reverse this alarming trend by taking critical steps to shore up our patent system. Perhaps most importantly, it would restore the ability of inventors to obtain an injunction, a judicial order stopping a proven infringer from continuing to use or sell an invention. Since the Supreme Court’s 2006 eBay decision, the rate of injunctions granted has dropped by over 85 percent in the United States. The eBay decision has been misapplied by many lower courts as a categorical rule against injunctions for inventors who license their patents. This inability to obtain injunctions has left many individual inventors and small businesses with little recourse in the face of infringement by large corporations. It has also contributed to American innovation moving abroad, as our competitors in Asia and Europe continue to grant injunctions in such cases, providing real protection for patent holders.
“The STRONGER Patents Act would also restore fairness in administrative proceedings of the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) by limiting repetitive and harassing challenges against inventors. The PTAB was intended to be a quicker and cheaper venue to challenge the validity of questionable patents, not an easier venue. In practice, it has been easier to invalidate patents in the PTAB than in district court, and the PTAB process has been abused by large corporations who have initiated repeated PTAB challenges against valid patents in ways not intended by Congress or tolerated in district court.
“This legislation is urgently needed to maintain our patent system’s role as an engine for U.S. economic growth and job creation, as it has done for more than 200 years. The Innovation Alliance is pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee has turned its attention to this issue and we urge Congress to pass the STRONGER Patents Act as soon as possible.”
ABOUT THE INNOVATION ALLIANCE
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 www.innovationalliance.net.