Opinions and Editorials

Jun. 14, 2023

San Antonio Express-News: Stop Big Tech’s patent abuse by Lamar Smith

In my time in the U.S. House of Representatives, I had the privilege of working alongside Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to craft a comprehensive and bipartisan patent reform bill. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, signed into law in 2011, modernized a system that had hardly changed for 60 years. Our purpose was to accelerate American innovation and provide an easier path for inventors to patent their discoveries and creations.

One focal point of the bill was a new administrative law body, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, or PTAB, which was based out of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We intended for the PTAB to serve as a more efficient alternative for challenging patents than costly, time-consuming district court litigation.

Little did we know that our plan to stimulate job growth and innovation would be subject to abuse by giant tech companies. They have flocked to PTAB as a forum to overwhelm their smaller competitors through the sheer volume of resources they command. Sadly, Congress must now take action to curb this abuse and return the PTAB to its initial purpose.

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