March 20, 2015
“As Congress considers legislation to address abusive patent litigation, we believe it is imperative that your decisions be informed by reliable data that accurately reflect the real-world performance of the U.S. patent system.” – Letter from top economics and law professors
The letters, one from twenty-four prominent conservative organizations, one from forty top academic law professors and economists, another from the Small Business Technology Council, and a joint letter from the APLU (Association of Public and Land-grant Universities) and the AAU (Association of American Universities) hit the desks of prominent House and Senate members from both sides of the aisle.
“The bill’s overly broad provisions apply to all litigants seeking to assert patents, not just “patent trolls,” and as a result will severely undercut the ability of inventors to enforce their intellectual property rights, ultimately devaluing patents, stifling American innovation, and diminishing our global competitiveness.” – Letter from top conservative organizations
Each group had a particular viewpoint relevant to the ongoing patent system battle.
- Overly broad provisions apply to all litigants seeking to assert patents, not just “patent trolls”, which limits inventors’ IP rights enforcement.
- H.R. 9 is being driven not to protect patent holders, but to favor organizations that want to license existing patents at a lower cost, thereby increasing corporate profits.
Law Professors and Economists:
- Claims that “patent trolls” bring the majority of patent lawsuits is incorrect. 2014 actually saw a decline in new patent infringement filings.
- The assertion that “patent trolls” cost U.S. businesses $29b a year has been roundly criticized, and studies claiming non-practicing entity litigation as harmful to R&D and investment are deeply flawed.
- Tinkering with the engine of innovation—the U.S. patent system—on the basis of flawed evidence is the real threat to economic growth.
Small Business Technology Council:
- Small businesses contribute 25% of America’s most important innovations; this bill will make it more difficult and expensive to obtain a patent.
- HR 9 is based on HR 3309, a bill that faced strong opposition by both the National Small Business Association and Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.
- Universities and non-profits rely on a strong patent system to help drive research, license inventions, and transfer technology in a way that ultimately adds value to our country’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Fee shifting and involuntary joinder provisions greatly increase the risk of legitimately defending University IP, likely deterring potential VCs and licensees from investing in R&D from the outset.
The letter from the conservative organizations can be found here and the letter from the lawyers and economists, which includes an appendix with supporting sources, can be found here. The letter from the SBTC is here and the joint APLU/AAU letter is here.