Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Round 2: Tech Companies Clash in Senate over S.1145

In this corner - Coalition for Patent Fairness (CPF):

In a letter dated October 24, the CPF wrote to Senate leaders, expressing their support for S. 1145:

Supporters of patent reform and the Coalition for Patent Fairness, an alliance of large and small businesses and associations in the technology, financial services, energy, chemical, manufacturing and media industries, wish to express our strong support for S. 1145, the Patent Reform Act of 2007. This bill will stimulate American innovation, growth and competitiveness by restoring balance to our patent system. In the end, it will benefit all American workers and American consumers.

* * *

Now, after years of study and compromise; of calls to action and careful examination; of a steady drain on our economy and innovation; the time has come to act. With the U.S. House and the Senate Judiciary Committee having passed their respective versions of the Patent Reform Act, we urge the Senate to stand up for America’s leading innovators, consumers and workers, and pass the Patent Reform Act of 2007
by the end of the year.
Read/download the CPF letter here (link)


And in THIS corner - 430 other companies:

A letter was also written the day before (October 23) by a collection of more than 430 companies, opposing S. 1145:
While we welcome efforts to make improvements to the U.S. patent system, we must make clear our opposition to S. 1145 as approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill contains provisions that will create uncertainty and weaken the enforceability of validly issued patents. Some of the proposed reform provisions, such as an expanded apportionment of damages, an indefinite post-grant opposition
process, excessive venue restrictions, burdensome and expensive mandatory search requirements, and unworkable interlocutory appeal provisions, pose serious negative consequences for continued innovation and American technological leadership in a competitive global economy. In addition, the bill codifies the current inequitable conduct doctrine rather than to make broadly supported reforms to eliminate litigation abuse of the doctrine and gain increases in patent quality.

No compelling case has been made for a bill written in this fashion. It is based on claims of a crisis in the current patent system that does not exist, supported by selective assertions which do not hold up under scrutiny. Importantly, the bill fails to take into account the impact of numerous court decisions and administrative rules that have occurred recently regarding major patent issues. We believe the authors of the legislation must make fundamental changes to the legislation if it is to work for all American innovators, and we urge you not to consider the bill on the Senate floor unless such changes are made.
Read/download the letter here (link)

An anonymous reader of these letters provided some additional comments to the 271 Patent Blog:

• The opposition letter has over 3 times the number of signatories, compared to the CPF list.
The opposition letter also has more than twice as many states represented.

• The opposition letter has a greater representation of startups and small business relative to
the large entities, where the CPF letter represents almost entirely large businesses and/or companies that do not actively utilize patents (aside from B2B transactions between large companies and other large companies).

• Aside from the tech giants, many of the CPF companies have very small utility patent portfolios relative to their size (ranging between 1 and 17 patents; notably Google only has 61 issued patents, and 51 published applications, per the USPTO’s database). Many other companies have no patents at all.

7 Comentários:

Anonymous said...

"Google only has 61 issued patents"

That number is off-mark. Google may have 61 patents assigned on their face to Google, but you can't discount all the patents they have acquired from the companies they have absorbed. That is not a trivial number.

Anonymous said...

"... many of the CPF companies have very small utility patent portfolios relative to their size (ranging between 1 and 17 patents; notably Google only has 61 issued patents, and 51 published applications, per the USPTO’s database). Many other companies have no patents at all."

This quote apparently attempts to undermine the CPF position by implying that those companies don't use/need patents. Though, I think it may be more representative of that fact that these are players that don't abuse the current patent landscape.

Anonymous said...

The CPF and Research in Motion connection:

http://www.nipra.org/coalition.html

CPF companies are the ones that would *want* to abuse the patent landscape (or at least start tearing it down).

Oopala said...

Peter:

Well, I would guess this is all going to come down to who can muster the most lobbyists to sway opinion, not what it best for the patent system or innovation. Dollars trump common sense in spades. I cross-posted on your piece to http://blog.innovators-network.org The Innovators Network is a non-profit dedicated to bringing technology to startups, small businesses, non-profits, venture capitalists and intellectual property experts. Please visit us and help grow our community!

Best wishes for continued success,

Anthony Kuhn
Innovators Network

Anonymous said...

What a shame for the coutry !!!

On the issue of utmost national importance politicians are voting according to the wishes of their local corporate money donors...

Just look at how the House Reps voted for/against patent "reform"
last month:

New Jersey "democrats" - all agaists "reform", of course, because of the big pharma money...

California "democrats" - all for the patent "reform" - big tech infringer's money...

I used to vote for democrats in all of the elections, but enough is enough...
No more voting for me
Do those people have no shame ?
(there are few exceptions on both sides, of course, but the overall picture is quite ugly)

CPD said...

I wonder if the prospect of facing an increased number of anti-trust class actions will change the views of some in industry... increased scrutiny during prosecution could be a blessing in disguise.

CPD said...

I wonder if the prospect of facing an increased number of anti-trust class actions will change the views of some in industry... increased scrutiny during prosecution could be a blessing in disguise.

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