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What They Are Saying: Stakeholders Raise Concerns about Patent Litigation Reform

Robert Zirkelbach
Robert Zirkelbach April 24, 2015

What They Are Saying: Stakeholders Raise Concerns about Patent Litigation Reform.

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Patents are critical to the innovation ecosystem, and the lifeblood of the biopharmaceutical industry. Protecting and enforcing them is essential to keeping the engine of scientific discovery running for patients.

patentOver the past few months, a wide range of stakeholders – including universities, employers, and the biopharmaceutical industry – have raised concerns that  the Innovation Act, legislation designed to address abusive patient litigation, could have unintended consequences for patients. If intellectual property is not adequately protected, innovative research becomes more difficult which in turn impacts biopharmaceutical companies’ ability to develop new medicines for patients.

Here is what stakeholders are saying about The Innovation Act:

  • “The Innovation Act, would change the U.S. patent system in ways that would diminish the benefits of university research, as well as the innovation produced by independent inventors and startup companies.” – Robert Brown, President, Boston University and James Clements, President of Clemson University in The Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2015
  • “The “Innovation Act” will allow large, market-dominant firms to infringe with impunity, by making it much more difficult for small inventors to enforce their patents.” – Robert Schmidt, Co-Chair of the Small Business Technology Roundtable in The Hill, April 16, 2015
  • “Yet the Innovation Act…[is] sweeping legitimate patent holders, including universities, in with trolls, making it considerably riskier and costlier for all patent holders, not just patent trolls, to enforce their patents against violators. – Robert Brown, President, Boston University and James Clements, President of Clemson University in The Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2015
  • “Paradoxically named the “Innovation Act,” supporters of HR 9 claim they want to reduce frivolous lawsuits on intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, its broad terms would throw a wet blanket on the greatest sources of innovation and path-breaking research this nation has — American universities and small entrepreneurial start-ups.” – Heather Wilson, President, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Roll Call April 13, 2015
  • “The pending patent reform bill, called the “Innovation Act,” is targeted at frivolous cases, right? Wrong. The Innovation Act is designed to make it harder and more expensive across the board for companies to assert and prosecute patent infringement complaints. The costs on our innovators to enforce their patents will increase, decreasing the value of their patents. Unfortunately, the bill isn’t narrowly tailored, and, in turn, applies with equal force to meritorious claims and frivolous ones. That results in legitimate patent holders being disadvantaged, and some who infringe valid patents unfairly preferred.” – Christopher Cotropia, University of Richmond School of Law; Jay Kesan, University of Illinois College of Law; and David Schwartz Chicago-Kent College of Law in The Hill’s Congress Blog, March 20, 2015
  • “The Innovation Act threatens American inventors, particularly individual inventors and those working at small businesses and startups. The bill attempts to “fix” a few isolated abuses of the patent system, but instead it sets forth a comprehensive overhaul of the legal framework that compromises the rights of all legitimate inventors.” – Thomas Massie, U.S. Representative for Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District in The Washington Times, March 14, 2015
  • “The “Innovation Act” “will cloud patent titles, by allowing them to be continually assaulted, making them weaker. For small business, patents will become mostly unenforceable due to the proposed much higher risk of litigation, thus making small business patents significantly less valuable. Loss of patent value constricts new company formation, chilling new investments, and choking job formation.” – Robert Schmidt, Co-Chair of the Small Business Technology Roundtable in The Hill, April 16, 2015
  • “We are concerned that H.R. 9, the Innovation Act of 2015, goes beyond targeting abusive practices, including with respect to its excessive pleading requirements, mandatory stays of discovery, and mechanisms for joinder of third-party investors, licensors, and collaborators in all patent-related cases. These provisions, among others, would raise the cost of, delay, and complicate the enforcement of patents by all patent owners, and are not narrowly targeted to address the articulated concerns regarding patent trolls.” – BIO statement, April 14, 2015
  • “The Innovation Act, which is under consideration in the House of Representatives, contains a number of provisions that could make it difficult for legitimate companies to enforce their patents.” – Ryan Davis, Law360, March 27, 2015
  • “If the “Innovation Act” becomes law, universities like ours will have to rethink whether we can take the risk of patenting our better mousetrap.” – Heather Wilson, President, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Roll Call April 13, 2015

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Topics: Research and Development, Patents