First, thank you to those who have donated to the effort to keep the rights of inventors from being lost. Enough came in after my last email to allow me to be in Washington DC fighting for us for two weeks straight, last week and this upcoming week. I don’t yet know who the donors were, but I will be thanking you personally.
The timing is critical because there is an effort underway to bring The Innovation Act, H.R.9, to the House floor for a vote as soon as possible. For any new readers who aren’t aware of what this bill will do to our rights, see here and here. If you have questions, email me. Donations go to the non-profit corporation US Inventor, they are confidential, and they directly help me come to Washington DC and fight for the rights of the independent inventor. You can be a part of this crucial effort – go to US Inventor and look for the donate button in the top left. Any amount will help.
This last week, I met with 35 different House offices. I have to tell you, I mentioned this number to a few individuals who do this for a living and they were amazed at this quantity. I’m usually meeting with the key staff person handling this issue, but I did see my Representative, David Jolly, and he is one of our allies. Of the 35 offices I met with, 6 are definitely going against the bill, and it is likely that another 16 will go against it (especially if I work more on them). The rest are on the fence, but not lost, except possibly one whose biggest constituent is Dell Computer (a proponent of the bill). I’m leaving two papers with these offices, We’ve Been Googled and a new paper – The Innovation Act is Fatal to the American Innovation Ecosystem.
I’m going to do my best in the remaining week to move as many offices our direction as possible. I’m concentrating on the more conservative Republicans and new members who weren’t around in December of 2013 when this bill first passed in a landslide. Even though those who voted for it the first time were misinformed, getting a Representative to vote against a bill he or she voted for earlier is difficult. Helping our argument is the fact that there has been a major change in the environment that goes against a key alleged need for the legislation (see third paragraph down here).
Last time, the bill passed 325 to 91. A lot of “experts” have said that it isn’t possible to stop a bill that has had previous numbers like this. Paul Morinville and I decided to disagree with the “experts.” It is still a major David vs. Goliath battle, but we now have some notable allies on both sides of the aisle.
For Republicans, it is becoming known that there is growing Conservative opposition to The Innovation Act. The American Conservative Union, Heritage Action, and the Eagle Forum are all on our side. Presidential candidates Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum are big allies. And Ted Cruz took our side in the Senate, opposing the sister bill in the Senate (The Patent Act), sponsored by Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
For Democrats, the top Democrat in the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, came out very strongly against The Innovation Act. Also, a Democrat who will be running for the Senate in Chuck Grassley’s Iowa has just posted a great article on IP Watchdog (see it here). With some luck, inventors’ rights may become an issue in the upcoming Presidential race.
We are definitely still in great danger. I need all of you to continue to call and email your Representatives (find them here). For Republicans, use the information above and talk about Constitution, property rights, and the capitalization of patent-related small businesses. For Democrats, talk about how this bill enables large corporation to crush the little guy.
We’ve made it this far. If we can raise enough opposition in the next week, we could delay the floor vote. With more time, we can win this battle. Also, if you are able to, help get me back to DC to continue the office to office battle – donate here.
Randy Landreneau, Founder