Patent News

Jul. 10, 2019

Press Release: Sens. Coons and Cotton, Reps. Stivers and Foster Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Protect U.S. Patent Holders, Inventors

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and U.S. Representatives Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.) today reintroduced the STRONGER Patents Act to protect and support inventors and innovators and ensure that our patent system protects this essential property right. The STRONGER (Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience) Patents Act of 2019 is an improvement on legislation that Coons and Stivers introduced during the last Congress.

The STRONGER Patents Act seeks to restore and strengthen the U.S. patent system by implementing measures to make it easier and less costly for patent holders to enforce their patents. The legislation would provide injunctive relief against those who infringe patents; make post-issuance proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) more fair and efficient for all parties, including solo inventors and small businesses; address the problem of repetitive, harassing petitions at the PTAB; and reduce duplication between these reviews and district court litigation.

“We must act now to recalibrate the U.S. patent system, so that our inventors’ and entrepreneurs’ ideas and businesses can continue to fuel the American innovation economy,” said Senator Coons, author of the STRONGER Patents Act in the Senate. “While our global competitors strengthen their intellectual property laws, we are at risk of losing our reputation as the gold standard for patent protection because U.S. patents have become too difficult to enforce and too unreliable to justify critical investments in emerging technologies. It is time to restore balance to our patent system and ensure our continued leadership on the global stage.”

“Main Street can and should be just as much of an engine for innovation as Silicon Valley, but we must ensure that the innovators are able to protect their next big idea,” Congressman Stivers said. “I’m proud to work with this bipartisan coalition to reintroduce the STRONGER Patents Act and provide entrepreneurs the protection they need to develop intellectual property and bring new ideas to market for everyone to benefit.”

“I am proud to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to make our patent system stronger and more effective for anyone with a new idea,” Congressman Foster said. “From the earliest days of our country’s history, our economy’s strength has relied on a patent system that has allowed innovators and entrepreneurs to thrive and businesses to flourish, creating jobs for millions of Americans. Our current patent system, however, has been weakened to the point that it discourages research and innovation rather than supporting it. I thank my colleagues for their leadership on this important issue as we work together to make our patent system better for everyone.”

The STRONGER Patents Act focuses on achieving the following:

  • Restoring investor confidence in patents by ensuring that administrative reviews at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are balanced and efficient.
  • Restoring incentives for parties to reach license agreements without going to court by reestablishing that patents are property rights, enforceable with injunctions.
  • Helping universities and small businesses access the patent system, fostering the next generation of breakthrough technologies.
  • Ensuring that the USPTO has unfettered access to the fees it collects from the users of its services so that it can modernize its technology and issue patents of the highest quality.

Read a one-pager on the bill here.

Read a section-by-section summary of the bill here.

In addition to Coons and Cotton, the STRONGER Patents Act of 2019 is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).

Additional cosponsors in the House of Representatives include Representatives Brian Babin (R-Tex.), Michael Burgess (R-Tex.), Warren Davidson (R-Oh.), Scott Peters (D-Cali.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), French Hill (R-Ariz.), Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Bill Huizenga (R- Mich.), Dave Joyce (R-Oh.), Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), and Tom McClintock (R-(Cali.).