The lobbyists for the high tech corporations have generated five separate bills that are currently before Congress. No. 5 on this list, H.R. 3309, incorporates the features of the first three, and is the most serious threat to American innovation.
- “Saving High-tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (or SHIELD) Act” (H.R. 6245) proposes to protect high tech companies from frivolous patent lawsuits by putting the financial burden on entities that buy and enforce patents. This bill is designed to deter small businesses, universities and inventors from filing a patent infringement lawsuit because they could be responsible for the defendant’s legal costs, should the plaintiff go to trial and lose.
- “End Anonymous Patents Act” (H.R. 2024) would require the disclosure of ownership and transfers of ownership of patents. This is again an attempt to intimidate patentees – such as inventors, universities and small businesses – by forcing them to reveal who owns the patent-holding entity. It is a common practice – as a safeguard against the counter-lawsuits that are often filed by the defendants/infringers against the patent holder – to create a holding company (currently referred to as a Patent Assertion Entity or “PAE”) that becomes the plaintiff in the lawsuit.
- “Patent Abuse Reduction Act of 2013” (S.1013) would add procedural requirements for patent infringement suits to Title 35. This bill also makes it more difficult for inventors, small businesses and universities to assert their intellectual property rights by requiring them to include much more detailed information such as a more detailed explanation of how the alleged product infringes the patent-at-suit.
- “Promoting Startup Innovation Act” (H.R. 2236) would modify the definition of micro entity in Title 35. Unlike the other bills, this bill actually promotes innovation by making it easier for inventors and universities to qualify for “micro entity” status, reducing the cost for them to file a patent application.
- “Innovation Act” (H.R. 3309), proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), is the result of a Discussion Draft of legislation distributed earlier this year. This bill is the most dangerous, because it incorporates the anti-property rights elements of H.R. 6245, H.R. 2024 and S. 1013. The bill has nothing to do with innovation. It was created to reduce patent infringement lawsuits from inventors, small businesses and universities, and to reduce legal costs for the high tech corporations that are the most egregious infringers of patents!
What Can You Do?
Write to both of your Senators and your U.S. Representative, and tell them that H.R. 6245, 2024 and 3309, and S. 1013, are NOT a reform of the U.S. Patent system, but a dismantling of it. These bills will embolden the tech giants that are the most blatant infringers of patents, and these bills do NOT promote innovation, do NOT improve American competitiveness and do NOT create jobs. They should vote NO on all four!
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!
The America Invents Act
Download “What Innovators Need to Know – and Need to Do – under the America Invents Act,” a white paper developed by AIPR and sponsored by General Patent Corporation.