I’m back on Capitol Hill fighting for inventor rights along with Paul Morinville and a new member of the team, Michael Norwood. I’ve been here four times in the last six weeks. Our very existence is at stake right now. For any readers who aren’t up on what is happening, read the papers here and here.
Earlier in the fight, I was more confident than I should have been, and I want to apologize if I gave you a false sense of our situation. The forces arrayed against us are massive, and the depths to which they are willing to sink have become obvious.
We were making headway in the House. We had met with the key people in close to 200 offices and had gotten enough of the real story out that opposition was growing. Universities and drug companies were fighting along with us.
Under The Innovation Act, a university could be liable for millions of dollars if patents created and licensed through university research were ever defended against infringement unsuccessfully. The university could be held liable for the legal costs of the infringer if the patent holder did not prevail in the patent infringement case – this is Loser Pays with Joinder (interested parties joined in the liability).
Rather than fly through the House as expected, the Innovation Act stalled. But then the Senate came out with its version, The PATENT Act, S.1137, which has carve-outs for universities, drug and GMO companies. CARVE-OUTS – these groups will not be affected by the worst provisions of the bill!
This is serious. Universities and drug companies are saying The PATENT Act isn’t that bad, but it is actually worse for us. There is now a requirement that a patent holder certify that he has the funds for the Loser Pays liability before he can sue for infringement (easily $1,000,000 plus). This will eliminate the ability of virtually every independent inventor to defend a patent. And, if an investor provides the funds, he will be personally liable for the Loser Pays (piercing the corporate veil and throwing away hundreds of years of corporate law).
Without universities and drug companies fighting with us, we are in big trouble. Whether or not we lose everything could depend on having large numbers of inventors calling and emailing their Congressmen. Now is the time that I really need you to fight along with me. Find your Representatives and Senators here.
Tell your Representatives that you are against The Innovation Act, H.R.9. Tell your Senators that you are against The PATENT Act, S.1137. If they are Democrats, say these bills allow corporations to crush the little guy. If they are Republicans, say that these bills eliminate property rights by inventors not being able to defend their patents, and drastically reduce investment in innovative small businesses. These bills are fatal to inventors and American innovation.
I hope you really get that it is crunch time. If you fight this with me this week, we might get through this. I will be here doing everything I can to create outrage at what is happening.
One more thing. Paul and I have almost gone totally broke in this effort. We would do it again, but we are running out of the ability to continue this fight in the way it needs to be waged. Paul has a “Donate” button at www.USInventor.org (top left), which is a non-profit (501(c)(4)). We need some support.
Randy Landreneau, Founder
Independent Inventors of America