The National Academies of Science (NAS) has suggested a set of improvements for the patent system. However, the Patent Reform Act of 2007, while offering some needed changes, does not reflect the body of improvements suggested by NAS and would, in some ways, weaken our patent system. We are concerned in particular that two sections of the proposed legislation, the post-patent review process and apportionment of damages, may have a negative impact 'on innovation and research.
The courts already follow a multi-point system for considering damages. This system should remain intact, rather than be constricted to limit damage settlements. Similarly the bill would add a third step to the two existing post-patent review steps, potentially opening the door to serial patent challenges, which for some, can become a business strategy designed to elicit a settlement. For the firms facing challenges, it is often easier to outsource products to a vendor rather than deal with the legal process.
At a time when the Chinese government is constantly being challenged to live up to its intellectual property obligations, we do not want to take actions that may weaken ours. We urge you to take the concerns of the manufacturing sectors of these issues into account in developing the final version of the Patent Reform Act of2007, H.R. 1908.
In particular, IFPTE has the following concerns with this legislation:
* Subsection 4(b): By allowing an application for a patent to be filed by a person other than the inventor, this section would abrogate the rights and prerogatives of individual inventors which our current patent system derives from the constitution. Additionally, by moving the U.S. to a "first to file" system in Section 3, the proposed legislation would reward the fastest filers over the original inventor and further undermine the rights of inventors and their incentive to innovate. In other words, individual inventors not familiar with the filing requirements, versus corporate interests whose lawyers could quickly navigate the patent filing maze, would be unreasonably penalized by the language included in this section. Subsection 4(b) should be removed from the bill.
* The 18-month publication provision: This forces disclosure of innovations before there has been a determination as to what patent protection, if any, the inventor will receive. Even if a patent issues, competitors would already have had the opportunity to exploit the technology in the marketplace and establish a dominant market position. This provision undermines the protection of patents and should be removed.
* The post grant opposition provision: This language is essentially a hunting license for entrenched competitors to attack patents of small innovative companies in order to tie up a patent in a long expensive proceeding. This would deplete small innovative companies of resources -- resources that could be used to continue with innovation - while competitors unfairly copy the patented technology with impunity. This should also be removed from the bill.
* Work Conditions for Patent Examiners: A strong patent system requires high patent standards and quality examination. Unfortunately, the Unites States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) puts pressures on to few examiners to speed up patent production, and the methods of allocating work have reportedly reduced the capacity of examiners to do their jobs effectively. Quality patent examination requires well-trained and motivated examiners with up-to-date search and examination tools and, most importantly, the time necessary to apply their training and tools to the examination process. According to the Union that represents USPTO workers, the pressure to increase patent production has reduced the sense of job satisfaction of examiners, who feel unable to take the time to do the job properly and effectively. I urge you to consider including in this legislation an authorization for providing more patent examiners as well as a concomitant increase in the examination time allocated to complex patent applications so that the USPTO workforce can effectively search and examine patent applications.
While I applaud the Subcommittee and Full Committee for working in a bipartisan manner to address this important issue, I believe that H.R. 1908 misses the opportunity to focus in on the underlying causes of the problem. I believe that the changes called for in the underlying bill will not only be harmful to the members of IFPTE who are inventors, but will also be damaging to the overall competitiveness of our nation.
Two aspects of these bills are particularly problematic for our members, namely the post award-patent review process and the strict guidelines limiting damages to patent holders from illegal infringers that have violated their patents. Additionally, we are concerned with the trade and competitiveness implications of the legislation.
For years, foreign firms have been trying to slow America's innovation engine under the guise of "harmonization" with foreign patent law. The American economy is more innovative than many of our competitors, precisely because it is more difficult to challenge patents here. The intellectual property we create is the lifeblood of our manufacturing sector - indeed, almost 70% of the patents filed in the U.S. come from manufacturing interests. These bills would allow an endless loop of legal challenges after patents are awarded that will make it more difficult for U.S. patent holders to prevail against frivolous challenges - often initiated by our foreign competitors. Companies with deep pockets could prevail against such challenges, but not the small manufacturers, universities and tech start ups upon which our innovation leadership depend.
Secondly, it would be better for U.S. manufacturing if the current system to determine damages for infringing patents remains intact. The U.S. judicial system over time has developed reasonable guidelines based on precedent to protect patents. If this bill were enacted, litigation would increase and patent certainty would decrease.
Finally, there are intellectual property, trade and competitiveness implications of this legislation, particularly as it relates to China. On April 10, 2007, the United States Trade Representative requested consultations with China over its failure to live up to its WTO intellectual property rights commitments. Very little progress is being achieved on these issues and Chinese government officials have accused the U.S. of being confrontational, when we are simply pressing for our rights under the WTO rules. Just as we are urging China to strengthen its intellectual property rights protections via a trade case at the WTO is precisely the wrong time to weaken U.S. patent law. The USTR's efforts to obtain progress from the Chinese will be undermined by downward harmonization of U.S. law.
Yes, with Inouye and Akaka both two of the eldest senators, this is an important point. Were they unable to continue to serve out their terms, Lingle, the Republican governor, would have to appoint a Democrat to replace them. Might not be a Democrat to our liking (e.g. she could appoint Ed Case), but it wouldn't affect the balance of power in the Senate.
The laws says "the person so appointed [...] shall be a registered member of the same political party as the senator causing the vacancy." It doesn't say how long they would have had to have been such a member, so I guess technically anyone could just join the party and then be appointed by the governor. But it still wouldn't affect the balance in the Senate.
with all the talk of republican "mandate" starting in 2000, did they ever win the polling on every single issue across the board? i don't think so. so if the republicans ever had a mandate (according to the media), the democrats have an even greater one than the repubs ever had.
right, Beatty was defeated in the R primary by Jerry Coffee, whose name was on the ballot but who had withdrawn for health reasons, so the R party of Hawaii appointed Thielen.
So Beatty's $557 is not relevant, although Thielen having just started her campaign this week can't have much more.
Here's my dKos diary which gives some background on Thielen, and her son David did post a message to that effect in the thread (although it actually got positive ratings).
For the record, I do happen to think Thielen is a relatively good Republican, and the only one (of the few) in the state legislature who I have respect for -- for example, she has been a strong proponent of renewal energy like wave energy, of industrial hemp and medical marijuaha, and has worked for Native Hawaiian issues in the past. She's also pro-choice. She sidestepped a question about her support for Bush and indicated support for the removal of Rumsfeld. So she isn't your typical Republican.
But she is a Republican.
And she hasn't a prayer against Akaka, I don't think. So the overall assessment in correct about the Republican's lack of 50-state strategy (and very shallow bench in Hawaii), just the wrong candidate.
oh, but for those who do live in Maine, make a point to tell them that you live in Maine, since they don't seem to be asking, as it may make a difference with how much weight they give to your opinion.
They don't need a long explanation. The people who answered the calls didn't even ask where I was calling from. Just say you are opposed to the so-called compromise on torture that would effectively end habeas corpus, and they'll know what you mean, and hopefully mark it off on their tally. That's all you need to do, no long speeches.