Bloomberg Patent Reform Panel Recap

April 27, 2014

Why is Congress considering patent reform legislation that will chill R&D investment, devalue patents and create an unfairly balanced environment for large infringers vs. small inventors? That was the theme on April 1, when Bloomberg Government held an in-depth panel discussion in Washington, DC about the potential overhaul of the patent system. The discussion had panelists from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Federal Trade Commission, Association of American Universities, Samsung Electronics, and more.

Panelists addressed the most pressing issue surrounding patent reform, the danger of stifling innovation in an attempt to reduce litigation. Former Chief Judge Paul Michel stated early on, “we need more innovation and better litigation, it’s not a choice between one or the other.” This was the sentiment that was widely agreed upon throughout the discussion, as many panelists were concerned about the effect that broad reform would have on American innovation.

“Why haven’t we heard from the inventors?”

This was a point that was touched upon briefly by U.S. Representative Thomas Massie, and echoed by speakers including Louis Foreman of Edison Nation and former director of the USPTO David Kappos. All panelists seemed to agree that inventors have been largely voiceless during a majority of patent reform discussions.

While the panel touched on many of the dangerous aspects of the proposed bill, the general consensus was that patent reform must be looked at carefully, in order to minimize the possibility of causing more harm than good. As Rep. Thomas Massie stated, “by trying to prune every tree, we risk cutting down the whole forest.”

Watch the whole discussion via Bloomberg Government here: