Despite its attractive name, the Innovation Act has nothing to do with “innovation!” It is an attempt by lobbyist for the large, high-tech corporations to make it easier for them to infringe patents, and more difficult, more expensive and riskier for independent inventors, universities, and small and start-up businesses to assert their intellectual property rights.
The 2013 Innovation Act (H.R. 3309)
Passed in the House of Representatives in 2013, the first Innovation Act failed to pass in the Senate. Both Innovations Acts are identical. The promoters of this ill-conceived law believe they have a better chance of passing in a Republican-controlled Senate. In addition to American Innovators for Patent Reform, there were many groups and individuals that opposed the 2013 Innovation Act:
Opposition to the Re-Introduced Innovation Act (H.R. 9)
Each of the clauses in the Innovation Act are analyzed in "Patent Law Gone Awry: How Bob Goodlatte's Bill Combines Useless Rigidity with Dangerous Discretion, "an article by Richard Epstein, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, in Forbes Magazine. Prof. Epstein concludes that “It is a sad commentary to say that the Goodlatte bill manages to combine the worst of both worlds: false precision where it is not needed and open-ended discretion where it serves no useful purpose. The entire bill should be scrapped and sent back to the drawing board.”
Additional problems with the Innovation Act are included in “Celebrating Inventors’ Day by protecting strong patents," an OpEd by Charles Sauer, President of E4 Growth, that appeared in The Hill. Mr. Sauer explains that “Inventors depend on a strong patent system to ensure our ideas and innovations are protected and have a chance to go from idea to product, which also means jobs. While we celebrate inventors today and highlight the fact that our Founding Fathers created a patent system and literally enshrined it in the Constitution, we are in danger of undermining this very fragile system in the hunt to stamp out a few bad actors.”
Why the Innovation Act will make it more difficult for start-ups to raise capital to commercialize their innovations is explained in "Innovation Act 2.0 gets it all wrong – will destroy startup IP value" that recently appeared in Venture Beat, a magazine that serves the venture capital industry. The article shows that the claim that patent assertion entities cost the economy $29 Billion is simply not true, that the increase in patent litigation is the result of the Supreme Court’s Alice vs. CLS decision and not more active patentees, and a recent survey found that only 12% of marketers believe patent litigation is a major issue.
To learn what you can do to promote REAL patent reform, contact our Executive Director, Alec Schibanoff.
Keep in mind that intellectual property is not an issue for which legislators receive large volumes of input from their constituents, so just a few letters, calls and/or e-mails can make a difference!