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Senate Bill to Restrict Patent-Owner Rights


Contact your elected officials ASAP at: http://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_contact_senators.htm


The House of Representatives passed their version of a self-described anti-patent troll act on December 6, 2013 (H.R. 3309), and rather interestingly named it the “Innovation Act.” We question why is there a rush to enact a bill that will potentially undermine the patent system, a vital back bone of the US economy and the independent inventor community. Though highlighting the smaller troll issue, it also unintentionally curbs key inventor rights.

As an inventor, you earned a patent. Maybe several. It was a long hard road, and cost you a bundle. Can you afford to seek justice if someone violates your rights? Can you afford to stop infringement, or ask for the royalties you deserve? Or, are you looking for financing to fund your start-up, using your valuable patents as collateral? After all, this country was built on a fair patent system that protected the rights of the individual.

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was the first patent office commissioner and the patent building the second erected in Washington after the White House? We are not sure if the members of the House know this fundamental US history. The deep pocket management at some large steamroller companies surely do not seem to. Why would Congress allow such poorly thought out legislation through without engaging serious debate. The House of Representatives just passed a bill that makes it harder for you.

RIGHT NOW a Version of the BILL is in the Senate.

Here is what a few tech giants convinced the House of Representatives to do:

- Change patent infringement court cases into a “loser pays winner’s attorneys’ fees” system, to scare individuals and small businesses away from seeking justice and to favor deep pockets;

- Make inventors who have sold their patents, but keep a share of its income, fully liable for attorneys’ fees when the actual owner loses in court, even when (1) the inventor has no decision making power over taking infringers to court, and (2) the actual owner acted in good faith;

- Make it easier for infringers to take a second bite at the apple in court to try to kill your patent, even after they lose an attack on your patent at the Patent Office;

- Make the court-discovery process (the way you get infringement evidence) much longer and more expensive, by requiring judges to stage the proceedings and create delays.

Infringers want to take away the power of the patent. For hundreds of years, innovation has been the beating heart of the American business economy. Patents let that happen. They are the way for new start-ups to challenge incumbent companies, allowing new companies to form and new jobs to grow. And patents have been a favored type of collateral, allowing financing to exist, just on the strength of a good idea. The finance world knows that patents can be exchanged on the open market if necessary, with every owner in the chain having full rights of protection. Without that confidence, no rational financier will prefer patents as collateral.

The one-sided changes in H.R. 3309 are full of unintended consequences. The bill was supposed to address a specific, narrow problem – a few bad lawyers who sent out massive numbers of infringement notices based on invalid, expired or non-infringed patents. In fact, House hearings produced no evidence that this was a “problem” at all. Mass infringement notices could just as well have been a proper response to industry-wide infringement of good patents. Problem or not, the House bill goes too far. The highly complex House bill reads like a wish list for bad faith infringers who want to build enforcement barriers to make the “little guy” stop bothering them when they try to take peoples’ ideas.

A host of knowledgeable critics, including many biotech industry players, universities, independent inventors, former USPTO directors, and many others have come out against the rush in Congress to pass a harmful bill whose need is open to serious question. While the sponsors of the bill defend it as a tool to protect “mom and pop” retailers against litigation abuses, it actually makes massive structural changes that only decrease the rewards that go to innovation. Our country needs more incentives to innovate, not fewer.

Congress just passed last year the most comprehensive patent reform legislation in the last century. Why is there a rush something that may further undermine the patent process, a vital back bone of the US economy and the independent inventor?

It’s time to contact your Senator if you have concerns. Things are moving quickly.

Contact your elected officials ASAP at: http://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_contact_senators.htm

And here is a draft letter that you might use to formulate your own letter to Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy or your own Senator on the Judiciary Committee. We would encourage to read the attached and then craft your own personalized version. You need to this right away, as the Bill is currently under review.

Last…Ask Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley for one simple thing - to hold a hearing specifically to learn from the inventors, startups and universities who depend upon our patent system and fair access to courts to attract investment to continue to produce new innovations and create new jobs. This is a very small thing to ask. It will only take 30 to 60 days for the Senate to hear from inventors and small inventor entities who are currently under-represented in the debate.

#utilitypatent #patent #senatebill #inventor #inventionhelp

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