Most Recent Patent Legislation Is Stalled, But a New “Patent Reform” Bill Is Announced

Two recent patent reform bills – that are really anti-patent legislation – are stalled, but new anti-patent legislation has been proposed.

H.R. 3309 “Innovation Act”: Passed in the House last December, this proposed patent legislation has nothing to do with “innovation” or true patent reform. The purpose of the legislation is to make it more difficult for universities, inventors, small businesses and other innovators to prove patent infringement and assert their patent rights by making them liable for the legal costs of the defendant should they go to trial and lose. H.R. 3309 was drafted by lobbyists for the big tech corporations that are the most blatant infringers of patents under the guise of patent reform. A large corporation can afford to pay the $3 or $4 or $5 million it costs to sue an infringer for patent infringement, but small entities are hard pressed to finance the cost of patent litigation, much less also pay the legal costs for the losing side.

Here are some links expressing opposition to H.R. 3309:

Once it was passed in the House, H.R. 3309 was sent to the Senate, but the Senate has yet to bring it up for a vote. The consensus among patent legislation watchers is that this bill will not be brought up for a vote at this point.

S. 1720 "Patent Transparency and Improvement Act": Instead of bringing the House’s patent legislation, H.R. 3309, up for a vote in the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee – with the assistance of lobbyists for Big Tech – drafted separate anti-patent legislation for the Senate again under the guise of patent reform. While this patent legislation does not include the “loser pays” clause included in H.R. 3309, the Senate bill was clearly designed to make it more expensive – and, therefore, considerably riskier – for patentees to assert their patent rights and prove patent infringement.

S. 1720 was twice scheduled to come up for a committee vote, and both times the bill was withdrawn from consideration. The latest from the Senate Judiciary chair, Senator Thomas Leahy, is that S. 1720 is not patent legislation that will come up for a committee vote this year.

“Trade Protection Not Troll Protection Act”: Proposed by Texas Representative Blake Farenthold, this patent legislation is the latest so-called patent reform effort. It would prevent Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) – or what the infringers call “Patent Trolls” – from bringing patent infringement claims to the International Trade Commission (ITC). In addition to being anti-American manufacturer and pro-foreign manufacturer, this proposed patent legislation puts patentees into two classes – those who practice and those who do not practice their inventions – a distinction the U.S. Constitutions patent and trademark clause does not make!

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!

The America Invents Act
This major patent legislation is now law, and you need to be informed. 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.