Patent News

Jul. 27, 2015

IP Watchdog: Patent Reform riddled with intended, unintended, and unknown consequences, by Gene Quinn and Paul Morinville

This post originally appeared in IP Watchdog on July 27, 2015.

In the rush to pass inventor killing legislation, only one inventor was allowed to testify in House Judiciary Committee hearings and inventors were silenced altogether by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Almost all of the hearing witnesses were supportive of the patent infringer lobby, which is anti-inventor. I guess if you know your bill will significantly damage the pro-innovation climate that has existed for generations, it’s better not to ask any questions of those it harms.

But, if you don’t ask questions, you can’t solve problems. We should not be surprised that H.R.9 (the Innovation Act) and S.1137 (the PATENT Act) are riddled with intended, unintended, and unknown consequences.

US Inventor sat down with over 350 House and Senate offices laying out how H.R.9 and S.1137 levies enormous damage on inventors and small innovation companies. 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.

Just when you thought patent reform couldn’t get any more bizarre, and un-American, both Judiciary Committees replaced the entire original bills with Manager’s Amendments at the last minute carving out favored groups from the most damaging provisions. The Manager’s Amendments were then rammed them through Committee and onto the floor with virtually no discussion. What’s worse, both Senator Grassley (R-IA) and Congressman Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairs of the respective Judiciary Committees, recognized that more changes need to be made even after passing their Committees before the bills can be voted on by the full Senate and full House. Taking them at their word, that means we don’t even know what the bills will actually be if and when they come up for a vote.