A bi-partisan bill introduced by Senators Coons, Cotton and others is one of the most important pieces of legislation for American competitiveness and innovation to come along in recent memory.
So why has it gotten almost no coverage from the leading business, technology and general news media? It may have to do with perspective, as well as how the media and its constituents wish readers to regard more certain patents, which are potentially more expensive to license.
Washington Examiner, IP Watchdog and a few others, who are generally pro-strong patents, provided extensive coverage. Others did not cover the STRONGER Patent Act at all.
The Hill ran the following headline: “Senate Dem Offers Patent Reform Bill.” It’s actually a bi-partisan effort, between Chris Coons (D-Del), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark), Dick Durbin (D-Ill), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hwi), and is supported by conservative members of the House, as well as business groups, like the Innovation Alliance, the Chamber of Commerce, inventors and others.
From 1st to 10th Place
The U.S. patent system is now ranked tenth worldwide by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a tie with Hungary. Until this year, it had always been ranked first.
Mostly, the business, technology and general news media have been silent on the best thing to come out of Washington in support of U.S. competition and jobs in a decade. Conservative groups are supporting the bill. Internet and some large tech companies who favor weaker, less challenging patents are not likely to support the bill in its current form, and may try to oppose it.
“This bill is totally worth getting behind,” a Washington observer told IP CloseUp. “Reforming the PTAB and restoring injunctions, what’s not to like? Frankly, just the injunction issue alone gives Coons great leverage over all other legislation.”
Key points in the STRONGER Patent Act in its current form include:
- Restore injunctive relief for infringed inventions
- Reform unfair Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) reviews
- Allow the USPTO to retain its fees for faster, higher quality examinations
- Protect consumers and small businesses from patent abuse
This STRONGER bill is a more robust version of the Coons-proposed STRONG Patents Act that was introduced in 2015.
The Washington Examiner article can be found here. The IP Watchdog piece by Brian Pomper of the Innovation Alliance, here. For the Hill article go here.
“Coons wants to get ahead of Goodlatte in the House and Grassley in the Senate,” the IP CloseUp contact said. “He would like to seize the momentum from TC Heartland (driving more patent litigation to Delaware) and encourage Republicans to join the cause. During last year’s campaign, Trump voiced pro-patent sentiments, a change from Obama. Cotton is on board, and I hear that Kennedy [Louisiana] and others are interested and willing to go against Grassley.”
For a one-page summary of the bill, go here.
For a section-by-section review, here.
For more on the subject of media coverage of patents, see the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding report, “Patterns in Media Coverage of Patent Disputes,” here.
Image source: cpip.gmu.edu; ipwatchdog.com