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Bittersweet Milestone: Ten Million Patents Issued in the US, but What Are They Worth?

Last month, the U.S. Patent Office issued patent number 10,000,000. This historic occasion calls for rethinking our patent system and the future of American innovation.

In the past, such an event would have been a cause for celebration, a testimony to our ingenuity. Back then, patents were valuable assets, protecting and incentivizing innovation. A valid patent gave its owner the right to stop infringers in their tracks. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

More Madness from Congress!

June 5, 2014 – Just when we thought sanity had begun to prevail, Rep. Blake Farenthold – a Republican from Texas no less – proposes the “Trade Protection Not Troll Protection” bill! The bill would prohibit Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) – what Rep. Farenthold calls “patent trolls” – from bringing patent infringement claims before the International Trade Commission (ITC).

Some Sanity from Congress

May 30, 2014 – It looks like to anti-patent, anti-innovation bills – both of which were cleverly labeled as “patent reform” – are dead. Or at least will not be acted on in this Congress. Last year, the House passed H.R. 3309, the “Innovation Act.” Besides the fact that the bill has nothing to do with innovation, it could have made it costlier and riskier to assert a patent by requiring the losing party in a patent infringement lawsuit to pay the legal costs of the prevailing party. The bill passed by a wide margin in the House (we can only assume that no one actually read it), but it has not been brought up for a vote in the Senate, and it does not look like it will. And that’s good news for the innovation community.

Fee Diversion Continues at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: $70 Million in Fees Is Currently at Stake!

Proposed 2011 USPTO Budget Does Not Appear to Include Fee Diversion, but Actually Does!

October 20, 2010 – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) collected approximately $70 million in fees over and above the agency’s authorized budget for Fiscal 2010 that ended September 30, 2010. American Innovators for Patent Reform is petitioning Congress to turn that $70 million back to the USPTO, to end fee diversion in Fiscal 2011 and beyond, and authorize the USPTO to keep all the fees it collects.

Big Tech Condemns Patent Reform Bill; Pharma, Biotech and Small Tech Disagree

March 15, 2010 - Earlier this month, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) announced in a press release that the Senate Judiciary Committee has reached a bipartisan agreement and produced an amendment with compromises designed to make the bill ready for a Senate vote.

"This compromise may not be everything that everyone wants," acknowledged Leahy, "but it makes important reforms to the outdated patent system."

American Innovators for Patent Reform Mentioned in Wall Street Journal

On October 16, 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that twelve Republican senators – apparently feeling left out of the patent reform process – wrote a letter to Senate leaders asking them to reconsider parts of the Patent Reform Act of 2009 that would be deleterious to small businesses, universities and individual inventors.

The article quotes AIPR’s board member Pat Choate as one of the critics of the patent reform bills currently making their way through Congress.

Politics – and Patent Legislation – Make Strange Bedfellows

An interesting and disparate coalition of groups has come out in opposition to the proposed Patent Reform Act of 2009, groups that traditionally have nothing to do with each other.

  • Pharmaceutical Industry: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the major drug companies.
  • Biotech: The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) represents research, genetics and other biotech companies.

Automated Patent Examination Support – A Proposal

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) complains that it is overwhelmed by the onslaught of patent applications, and seeks to shift to the applicants the burden of finding prior art and distinguishing the claims from it. Two PTO regulations1 provide for applicants to provide a “support document” under certain circumstances.

Todd Dickinson Should Be (re)Appointed Director of the USPTO

As you probably recall, Q. Todd Dickinson started as deputy in early 1998 and then served as director of the USPTO until January 2001, during a critical juncture in its history. He dealt with Congress as it passed the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999, the last major legislative amendment to the patent law, and managed the PTO as it was reconstituted a Performance-Based Organization of the government. He also initiated planning for agency’s relocation from Crystal City to the Carlisle Campus in Arlington.

On the Patent Reform Act of 2009

By Alex Poltorak, March 8, 2009

Last Tuesday, March 3, 2009, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Representatives John Conyers (D-Michigan) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas) have introduced to the Senate (S. 515) and the House (H.R. 1260) almost identical bills aimed at reforming our patent system. These bills, collectively referred to as the Patent Reform Act of 2009, as expected, are very similar to S. 1145 and H.R. 1908 of the Patent Reform Act of 2007 that failed in the last Congress.

Proposed changes to patent law in the Senate Bill include:

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