Category Archives: Legislative Advocacy For Independent Inventors

The Beast is Still Kicking – 7/21/2015

Hello Friends,

Last Wednesday, it was announced that The Innovation Act (H.R.9) was not going to a floor vote till after the summer session. This was a huge win for us. But a day later, what appeared to be firm ground started to shift. (Any new readers can go here and here to get up to speed.)

Even though the delay had been announced, an insider informed us that Goodlatte was given the OK to take the bill to the floor if he could get the votes for it. And then I started getting indications that the huge forces on the other side were trying to revive H.R.9! A big hearing was announced for Monday (yesterday) with the top attorneys for Google, Cisco, General Motors, Linkedin, and others. Wow, the officiating in this game stinks!

I went back to DC yesterday to be at the meeting and fight for our rights. They used a bunch of propaganda and cherry-picked statistics, and high-level attorneys can be pretty convincing. I challenged them on the key points, and I wish I could tell you that they threw in the towel, but they didn’t. However, after the meeting, the attorney for GM came to me and told me he agreed with me regarding presumptive Loser-Pays.

It looks like these guys are in DC right now using all of their propaganda and influence to try to resurrect H.R.9.  Having spent over $100,000,000 lobbying last year alone, they are not giving up. A hearing was just announced by the House Judiciary Committee for Thursday that will be put on by Michelle Lee, the head of the US Patent Office. Remember, Ms. Lee is the former Head of Patent Strategy at Google! You couldn’t make this up!

But here’s the good news. I took a closer look at a sentence in H.R.9 that looked like nothing, and found the smoking gun we need right now. Placed inconspicuously where nobody was looking, and written in a way that you’d have to do research to even know what it was talking about, is a legitimate smoking gun we can use to finally kill this bill! Amazingly, nobody on our side had realized what it was.

Without going into the details, in a certain type of patent infringement defense, it removes any penalty for knowingly using false claims. The guilty patent infringer can lie, cheat and steal with no penalty! It is sitting right there. And who knows how many other protections for intellectual property thieves there are hidden in this bill.

Paul Morinville and I are putting together a paper on this that we will use to definitively kill H.R.9. I’ll make it available when we have it. We will win this righteous battle!

Best,

Randy Landreneau, Founder

Independent Inventors of America

We Won Another Round! – 7/15/2015

Hello Friends,

When I met with 65 offices in DC from June 22nd to July 3rd, I could tell that our message was resonating. But in meetings in DC this week, it was obvious that a shift was occurring. Key staffers were more willing to say that their bosses were considering changing their previous position and going against H.R.9. Representatives who were co-sponsors of The Innovation Act were now undecided! Then, today, I got the word:

H.R.9 is being pulled from consideration on the Floor until after the Summer Session.

Considering that this very same bill passed the House 325-91 a year and a half ago, this is a MAJOR WIN! It is something that everyone with experience in DC said couldn’t be done. Well, we did it!

Thank you to all of you for your support and help in this effort.  This is a huge victory, and I salute all of you.

We will have to gear up now to fight what is coming in the Senate. But winning in the House puts us in a much stronger position.

Thank you again, and I’ll keep you informed about our next move.

Best,

Randy Landreneau, Founder

Independent Inventors of America

The Time to Act is Now – 7/13/2015

H.R.9, the Innovation Act, is inventor killing legislation moving rapidly through the House of Representatives.  It passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for a full floor vote in the next two weeks.  H.R.9 will effectively wipe out patent rights for small entities – independent inventors and small companies.

This legislation is being driven through the House with huge money from a consolidated lobby of banks, consumer internet companies, and retailers led by Google.  These companies benefit from weak patent rights.  The Google lobby has dumped hundreds of millions of dollars on Washington over the last eight years to buy the legislation and they are within weeks of winning.  This is cronyism on a grand scale and must be stopped.

US Inventor, Independent Inventors of America and The United Inventors Association have been in Washington constantly for over a year going door-to-door in the House and Senate to educate every Congressional office about the damage H.R.9 will bring on inventors, small innovation companies, and the economy overall. Our combined efforts have created momentum and shifted the conversation away from the fictional “patent troll” narrative supported by the anti-inventor Google lobby to the plight of inventors and small companies.  But even though the conversation has shifted, H.R.9 is still rapidly moving toward possible passage.

There is some good news.  Both the far right and the far left are against H.R.9, and the floor vote has been postponed several times.  The vote counters are not sure it will pass, but it is very close.

Many of those who are being pressured to vote for this bill want an excuse to go against it. I am being told in virtually every meeting that hearing from constituents is what is needed. We are at the point where an increase in constituent contacts could stop H.R.9 from even making it to the floor for a vote. This week is the key. We can stop this bill if we all get on the phone and call our Representatives.  Even just a few constituent calls will tip the scale and embolden Representatives to go against senior leaders in their party.  They know H.R.9 is bad legislation – they just need to hear from us. You can find your representative here.

  • H.R.9 creates “presumptive” Loser-Pays. This means that if you sue for patent infringement and do not win, you will automatically owe the infringer his legal costs (which could be over $1,000,000). To not have to pay this amount, you will have to litigate further to prove that the points of your case were “objectively reasonable,” while your opponent tries to prove the opposite. Every case will be more expensive, but there is a worse result. Your contingency attorney will have to be willing to continue to fight for you, after losing, for no pay. This means that it will be very difficult, if not impossible for the average inventor to even find representation and have any access to justice. The typical independent inventor will no longer be able to stop the theft of his or her intellectual property.
  • Joinder “joins” investors in the Loser-Pays liability. In certain situations, investors are personally liable, meaning that their liability goes beyond any funds invested and includes all their personal assets. This inflicts tremendous damage on what is called the secondary market for patent assets. This secondary market encourages capital investment in early stage companies by providing a financial outlet for patent assets.  Without the secondary market, inventors cannot attract the investment needed to commercialize inventions.

The secondary market for patents works something like the secondary market for mortgages.  When you get a mortgage to buy a house, the bank takes a security interest in your house.  If you default, the bank takes control of the house and resells it to return their investment.  No bank will loan you money if they are not allowed to resell the house.  Investors in startup companies take a similar security interest in a patent.  H.R.9 makes it nearly impossible for an investor to sell a patent if the investor ends up owning it.  It’s like telling banks they cannot resell houses.  Banks won’t write mortgages and investors in early stage companies won’t invest.

  • H.R.9 has even more provisions further damaging inventors and small companies.  If some big retailer, like J.C. Penny for example, is selling your product and you sue them for patent infringement, the retailer can stop the suit against them and move it to the manufacturer.  Unfortunately, many products are manufactured overseas in places like China, which means that you will likely be forced to litigate in multiple jurisdictions some or all of which are overseas.  This will radically increase the costs of defending a patent and increase the odds of losing.  You can bet that major retailers will find ways to ensure nobody can defend a patent by using this so-called customer stay exception.
  •  H.R.9 expands what former Chief Judge Randall Rader called “death squads killing patent rights.” He was referring to the procedures created by the America Invents Act in 2011 for invalidating existing patents, which are invalidating more than 75% of the patents they are directed at. H.R.9 actually expands the use of one of these procedures, Post Grant Review (PGR), by removing a barrier to its excessive use. The result will be that corporations can mount multiple PGRs against an inventor as a method of depleting his funds and rendering him defenseless.
  •  H.R.9 creates highly burdensome pleadings requirements and restrictive discovery rules.  These provisions act together to make patent holder have to plead with more specificity than he is able to with the limited information available. This makes it harder for the patent holder to obtain justice.

There is nothing in H.R.9 that helps inventors.  Virtually every provision makes defending your patent against theft more difficult, more expensive and more risky.  If H.R.9 passes, it ensures that small inventors will have no reasonable way to defend their patents.

If you cannot defend a patent against theft, you will not be able to attract investment to commercialize your invention.  Why invent anything?

H.R.9 destroys our innovation ecosystem for the short-term gain of large multinationals.  It is cronyism of the highest order.  We, as inventors, can stop it, but we need to act this week.

Your voice has never been more needed. Call and email your Representatives now. Find them here.

Sincerely,

Randy Landreneau,Founder, Independent Inventors of America

Paul Morinville, US Inventor

Warren Tuttle, Chairman, United Inventors Association