Opposition Grows to Post-Grant Review Provisions in Proposed Patent Reform Act of 2009

Opponents Point Out That Two Obama Administration
Officials Have Ties to IBM and Microsoft

New York, N.Y. – October 20, 2009 – “Patent policy is suddenly being run by advocates for Microsoft and IBM,” says Pat Choate, noted economist and writer, and a board member at American Innovators for Patent Reform (AIPR), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and defending American innovation. Dr. Choate was quoted in an article, “Senators, Inventors Criticize Patent Bill Favored by Tech Cos,” that appeared in the Friday, October 16, Wall Street Journal and was distributed by the Dow Jones Newswire Service.

Dr. Choate’s comment was in response to criticism that U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos spent 26 years at IBM, and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke received campaign contributions from Microsoft employees. At issue is proposed post-grant review provisions in the pending Patent Reform Act of 2009 that would give third parties – such as IBM, Microsoft and other giant high tech corporations – expanded ability to challenge newly issued patents.

The Wall Street Journal article also addressed another challenge to the Patent Reform Act of 2009 that came from 12 Senators who co-signed a letter from Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican from Kentucky. In the letter, the senators wrote that the proposed legislation “threatens to diminish the value and enforceability of U.S. patent rights.” The letter also stated that the Senators found the proposed bill’s post-grant provisions to be “quite problematic.”