Category Archives: Legislative Advocacy For Independent Inventors

Taking Back Inventor Rights – 4/13/17

Hello Friends,

Ever since we stopped the recent legislation that would have been fatal to inventors’ rights, I’ve been hinting that we would be going on the offensive. You see, while the recent legislation would have been fatal, there have already been changes in the last decade that have us in critical condition. If you haven’t had to use the law to stop someone from stealing your intellectual property, you may not realize this.

For instance, in the past, if you took an infringer to court and won, you could stop the thief from continuing to produce your invention, which is called getting an injunction. Now, it is very hard, and often impossible to get an injunction, because a judge ruled that the “public good” is served by the thief of your invention continuing to produce it! Hard to believe, but true. So, now you are forced into a licensing agreement by a judge, whether or not you want to and at a rate that you cannot negotiate. And this is after you likely spent everything you had to win the case. Does this sound fair? Why would a company license your invention if they can steal it, and even if you beat them in court, they can keep producing it? Outrageous, right?

There’s a lot more, like the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB), created by the America Invents Act, which passed in 2011. This is the administrative court that is used by infringers to invalidate patents they are infringing, and they are doing it to about 95% of the patents that get to the PTAB. This is what former Chief Justice Randall Rader called “death panels for patent rights.” We are going to fight to stop this injustice as well.

The first step is a petition that every single inventor, innovator, and person who cares about America needs to sign (see here). You probably remember Paul Morinville – he’s the inventor that I went to Washington DC with so many times in 2014 and 2015. Paul formed USInventor.org, a non-profit, and I am a Managing Board Member. USInventor.org has been fighting for us and we have big things planned for the upcoming months.

Please sign the petition (see here) and forward this to everybody you know who cares about invention, innovation, and the future of this great nation.

If we pull together like before, we can take back what the Founders of this great nation intended. This will be huge! The first step is the petition. Please sign it and forward it. Thank you.

Best,
Randy Landreneau
US Inventor
Independent Inventors of America

The Latest on the Battle for Inventors – 4/11/2016

Hello Friends,

I hope you are all doing well. If ever you need something to be proud of, consider that you are part of the the most important grass-roots movement of our time, the effort that has so far kept multinational corporations from destroying the heart of America – Independent Invention.

Perhaps you think I’m overstating our importance. If so, you should really take a look at what we represent. Nothing is more American than an individual using his or her intelligence and creativity to solve a problem with a novel concept that then becomes part of a successful enterprise and sometimes, a game-changing step forward for mankind.

Historically, it has been the individual, not the corporation, that has come up with real innovation. You would think that corporations, with all their resources, would be better positioned to innovate. But they, by necessity, have to protect what they already have. A friend who was once an engineer at Hewlett Packard told me that whenever someone there came up with something that was “too good,” it got shelved because it would take income away from already profitable product lines.

The individual is the key to innovation, and the reason that America has out-innovated the rest of the world from the beginning is that our Founders understood the importance of empowering the independent inventor with the rights to the intellectual property created by his or her mind. And they really did mean “his or her” – the Patent Act of 1790 described inventors as “he, she, or they.” Yes, women had all the rights of men when it came to critically important American innovation.

But didn’t other countries have patent systems? What they had were systems designed to benefit those in favor with the establishment and keep the powerful in power. Later, when it became obvious that America had created something revolutionary and the rest of the world was being left behind, other countries made efforts to make their patent systems more like ours. But they never really got there because their general philosophies were far from rugged individualism. Apparently, the aristocrat never really wants to empower those “below” him.

Another thing we have in America that the rest of the world lacks is a legal system that has allowed the independent inventor to get justice. There are two elements to this. In the rest of the world (or at least the vast majority of it), you can’t hire an attorney on contingency (his pay coming primarily from the eventual winnings). Being able to hire an attorney on contingency is the only way that most American inventors can afford to take an intellectual property thief to court.

Also, in the rest of the world, if you sue someone and don’t win, you owe the other person his or her legal costs, called “Loser Pays.” Could the typical inventor risk owing the infringer millions of dollars? Think your wife would be OK with that?

The fatal bills that we have so far kept from becoming law (H.R.9, The Innovation Act and S.1137, The Patent Act) would put Loser Pays in effect and, while not directly addressing the contingency arrangement, would make it infinitely harder to obtain contingency representation. Investors in patent-related innovation could become personally liable for millions if it became necessary to litigate against a patent infringer. For the independent inventor, his or her investors, and future American innovation, these bills are fatal.

If you’re thinking bills like this could never pass, The Innovation Act did pass the US House in a landslide in December of 2013. Paul Morinville and I sprinted to DC in January of 2014 and, with many face-to-face meetings, lots of emails and calls from all of you, and a little luck, helped get it side-tracked in the Senate. Of course, it all came back in 2015 and the fight was harder and longer, but we had a few more allies this time.

The good news is that with all that is going on in Washington right now, and with the ruckus we have stirred up on this issue, it is possible that these bills will not be able to be addressed this year. I will be watching closely along with our allies US Inventor and Innovation Alliance to see if things change.

I’ll be giving updates on this, as well as on some offensive efforts to take back some of what inventors have lost in past legislation. It is possible that we may get some help from the Supreme Court! Stay tuned, and keep inventing.

Best,

Randy Landreneau, Founder

Independent Inventors of America

Inventor Rights Fight Update – 9/1/2015

Hello Friends,

I hope you are doing well. In my last email, I was (again) too optimistic. To win this fight, it will take a lot more than just finding proof of actual hidden efforts within the bills to help patent infringers. I found another one that nobody has been talking about.

To explain it, you first need to know about a very bad bill for us that passed in 2011 - The America Invents Act. One thing this bill did was change the American Patent System from First-to-Invent to First-to-File. One of the many arguments against this change was that, with First-to-File, a person who obtained information about an invention could file before the inventor and get the patent. Those for the bill said that the person filing for the patent would have to execute an oath or declaration that he was the inventor, which they claimed would help stop dishonest filers. Well, in The Innovation Act (Manager’s Amendment Version), on page 73, lines 10-13, the language that said the filer “shall execute” is changed to “may be required to execute” an oath or declaration. So, again, The Innovation Act will make it easier to steal intellectual property. This language is also in the Senate’s PATENT ACT, S.1137.

How much of a smoking gun do we need to end this thing? I am reminded of an ethically challenged Louisiana governor, Edwin Edwards, who got elected a number of times. The day before one successful election, he proclaimed to the press “the only way I can lose this election is to be caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.” Definitely let me know if you find out something along these lines regarding ”patent reform.”

The forces behind the House’s Innovation Act, H.R.9 and the Senate’s PATENT Act, S.1137, are working hard. The recent propaganda articles in The Economist and Forbes are examples. But a positive note is what happened at Carly Fiorina’s Press Conference at the Iowa State Fair a week ago ( go here and watch 1:24 to 2:53). The guy “in the hat” who asked the question is none other than Paul Morinville – well done, Paul! Another ally is Heritage Action. Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action was on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and he said something about K Street lobbyists getting patent legislation passed that is against what Republicans were voted in for.

We’ve got allies, but our opponents are pushing hard. Behind the scenes, the drug companies are working hard to get enough of a carve-out that they can back the bill. If they do, we will have a much harder time stopping it.

The bottom line is that we have to keep fighting. Keep calling and emailing your Representatives and Senators. Get personal meetings with them when they are in town. A successful action has been going to the Town Hall meetings of your Rep and Senators and telling them publicly that you are against these bills. If he is a Republican, bring up property rights, Constitution, and the capitalization of small business. If he is a democrat, focus more on how these bills enable the large corporation to crush the little guy.

Don’t stop fighting. Also, I’ve been approached by a few individuals on this list who need some of the services I provide in design and prototyping. If you have any interest, here’s a short video.

Best,

Randy Landreneau, Founder
Independent Inventors of America