We’re still in the fight, but we have punch ourselves out of a corner. I met with most of the Senate Judiciary offices last week, and we definitely have a few allies and potential allies. There are also some who are lost causes. Anybody reading this who doesn’t know about how inventors’ rights are close to being totally lost, go here and here.
The good news is that our voices are having an effect. The House and the Senate Judiciary Committees were both going to do their markups (pass a bill out of the Judiciary so it can go to the floor) this week and they have been postponed. I heard from a number of you last week, and your calls and emails to your Representatives and Senators are definitely helping. But our opposition is pulling out all the stops.
The Consumer Electronics Association and some anti-patent group called Engine is flying in lawyers and individuals associated with Kickstarter, Etsy, Meetup, Mapbox, and a few others. They will be doing their best to destroy our rights.
One of our allies is Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. His Counsel told me to get stories from our side that can be used to help our cause. If you know any inventor who has had a patent invalidated using one of the Post Grant Opposition procedures, get him or her in touch with me. The same goes for an “abstract idea” invalidation, or any negative outcome caused by the current weak patent system. For instance, I saw a letter to one inventor from a major attorney who explained that he couldn’t take the case because of how the tech companies have made defending a software patent almost impossible. Another good area is stories about being infringed and unable to defend your patent. If you have a story, get with me ASAP.
Our opposition is organized, funded, and relentless. They are throwing everything they have right now. Our only weapon is the truth, but a little truth can go a long way in this fight. We need to get the truth to as many Senate and Judiciary offices as possible right now (find your Representatives and Senators here).
Those of you who have already been doing this, thank you. I need you to keep doing it. Change the letter or the talk a little and do it again and again – you’ll probably get to a different person each time you call. Those of you who have been on the sidelines, we all need you in the game.
Remember, the universities, drug and GMO companies have gotten carved-out of the Senate’s PATENT Act, S.1137. So they will continue to have patent rights but independent inventors won’t. This is outrageous! There is an effort to amend the House’s Innovation Act, H.R.9 so that it is similar to the Senate bill, carve-outs and all. Without anybody else fighting on our side, we will be slaughtered unless we really get active. Every single inventor needs to get in the game. Get this email out as far and wide as you can.
Also, remember that there actually is one bill that is good for us – The Strong Patents Act, S.632. This one reins in the Post Grant Opposition Procedures so they won’t continue to invalidate 76% of patents they are directed at, addresses frivolous demand letters, and stops fee diversion. This bill helps us, but if the other bills pass, it won’t matter.
Tell your Representatives that The Innovation Act, H.R.9, and your Senators that the PATENT Act, S.1137 are fatal to independent inventors, early-stage investment, and American innovation, but that the Strong Patents Act, S.632 is a good bill. Also, it will help if you send them these documents (for Senators, for Representatives).
Randy Landreneau, Founder
Independent Inventors of America