A project of US Inventors:
Promoting Innovation. Defending Intellectual Property.
Sign the Letter
The Honorable Paul Ryan The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader
Speaker U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi:
H.R. 9 fails to account for a series of major judicial and administrative developments in patent law over the past year and a half. Since Congress considered similar legislation in late 2013, the Supreme Court has decided six patent cases which make it easier to defeat weak patents and discourage frivolous claims; the new IPR and postgrant review procedures created by the AIA just four years ago have only recently been fully implemented and also make it easier to invalidate patents that were inappropriately issued; the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general have been taking steps to combat abusive demand letters; and the Supreme Court has adopted changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that will impose heightened pleading standards on patent cases by the end of the year.
We agree that there are abuses in the patent system, but we believe that Congress can work with us and other stakeholders to ensure that we do not curb abuse at the expense of our most innovative individuals, universities, and businesses. We support narrow, targeted reforms to prevent abuse that maintain the United States’ leadership in the global innovation economy.
We look forward to working with you to strike the appropriate balance, and we urge you to withdraw H.R. 9 from consideration until a narrower consensus based bill can be achieved.
The importance of strong patents
Watch the video below to learn more about the Inventor’s Project.
(This article first appeared in IPWatchDog)
It would appear as if Obama holdover Michelle K. Lee continues to run the USPTO. More than six weeks after President Trump’s Inauguration Lee is delivering remarks at PPAC and PTAB Bar Association on March 2, 2017, appearing as a speaker at industry events (e.g. AUTM), signing notices published in the Federal Register, and signing newly issued U.S. Patents. This could be a very expensive problem for inventors as these patents end up in litigation and defense lawyers inevitably challenge the validity of any patent issued and signed by Lee because there is no clear authority for anyone to sign patents until an official announcement has been made on Lee’s statuts.
The lack of transparency surrounding Lee’s status is but one serious problem at the USPTO; there are others. Take for example the story of how the USPTO under Michelle Lee is pushing a fee increase. We first alerted the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) in an open letter outlining the problematic nature of the USPTO fee increase just ahead of the first quarterly meeting on March 2, 2017. A major issue is that fees for examination, where the USPTO creates patents, are being internally diverted to the PTAB, where the USPTO destroys patents. Yet, the USPTO wants to increase examination fees anyway, presumably so those fees can still be diverted to fund the financially failing PTAB. The PPAC accepted the letter and will soon publish it on their site.
The contents of our letter were not discussed at the most recent PPAC quarterly meeting, but it was acknowledged for receipt and it appears some PPAC members wanted to discuss it. However, during that meeting serious questions came to light about whether Lee’s USPTO is undermining President Trump ‘One-In Two-Out’ Executive Order.
President Trump’s ‘One-In Two-Out’ Order (formally Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs) mandates that whenever an executive department or agency publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed. Moreover, under the ‘One-In Two-Out’ Order, the costs of any new regulations must be offset by the elimination of existing costs of at least two prior regulations. The ‘One-In Two-Out’ Order broadly defines the term “regulation” or “rule” to mean “an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or to describe the procedure or practice requirements of an agency.”
To read the rest of the article, Click Here.
(This article first appeared in IPwatchdog)
Congressman Darrel Issa was the guest at a town hall meeting held at AMN Healthcare in San Diego when he first began pitching the America Invents Act (AIA). I was in the audience. Of those attending, less than a handful were actual inventors. Many were attorneys, but most were socialites following the man who donated $2 million in 2003 to recall Governor Gray Davis in an attempt to replace him. (Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected instead). Few in the crowd had any understanding of the damaging consequences of the America Invents Act.
I am professionally a new product developer and the named inventor on 14 issued patents. I have spent decades inventing and helping hundreds of inventors and startups. All that was needed to protect IP at the earliest stages was to keep an accurate notebook documenting, illustrating, signing and witnessing the process of developing an idea into an invention. This 200 plus year old method was tried and true. I was taught this method when I was an engineer and taught it to engineers that I hired at my business. Their properly documented Laboratory Notebooks became valuable intangible assets. There was no need to change it!
Before the America Invents Act, an inventor’s idea was developed into a proof of concept and business models were vetted for the probability of commercial success at a minimal cost. To refine an idea into a commercially viable invention, inventors must disclose an invention to neighbors, relatives, friends and other early stage investors as well as multiple vendors, prototypers, suppliers, and others. The inventor was free to do this prior to the AIA because there was a 12 month grace period to file for a patent.
This grace period saved thousands of dollars of upfront costs because a patent did not need to be filed until after the idea was fully refined and determined to be commercially viable. After all, if the idea can’t be produced at a profit or if buyers will never buy it, why patent it? No small inventor can justify spending thousands of dollars on an idea with no way to know if it will ever bring a profit.
But that is what the America Invent Act has forced inventors to do.
To read the rest of Adrian’s article, click here.