Independent Inventors Against Current Patent Legislation

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We represent independent inventors and small patent-based businesses across the country and we are against any patent legislation that includes provisions of the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) and many of the various additions under consideration in the Senate. This legislation will levy grave harm upon independent inventors and small patent-based businesses, as well as the investors we need to help commercialize new technologies and to protect our inventions.

The U.S. patent system is a contract between an inventor and society. An inventor discloses an invention for all to see and build upon, and the government grants and protects for the inventor an exclusive right to the invention for a short period. The U.S. patent system was intended to enable anyone, regardless of economic status, race or gender, to profit from the invention of something new and valuable. The U.S. patent system has worked as intended for over 200 years, fueling the creation of the greatest economy in the world.

The very nature of new and useful patented inventions causes disruption of the status quo. Thus, since the mid-1800’s, vested interests have sought to use patented inventions without having to deal with patent holders by repeatedly petitioning Congress to weaken patent protection. Despite these calls, Congress has resisted most efforts to weaken the patent system. That Congressional restraint has been wise is proven by the level of commercialized innovation that has occurred in America through the patent system, which continues to drive our economy like no other nation.

Today, Congress is under another call to weaken patent protection. This time the alleged culprit is a so-called “patent troll” who, according to the attack, hijacks inventions and while providing no product and therefore no societal value, extorts billions of dollars from the economy. This story could not be further from the truth. The argument is based on highly questionable reports. Some of the assertions are that the patents of so-called “patent trolls” are much weaker than patents asserted by others, that these entities cause billions of dollars of unnecessary cost, and that the number of patent infringement lawsuits has risen dramatically due to the so-called “patent trolls.” All of these assertions are highly disputed.

The Government Accounting Office Report required by the America Invents Act finds that there is no “patent troll” problem. The billions of dollars of reported cost cannot be verified and actually represent primarily voluntary and court directed license agreements for valid patents. In addition, analysis of patent litigation over time shows that the number of patent suits relative to the number of patents issued today remains consistent over the 200 plus year history of the patent system with the exception of a short period prior to the Civil War when the rate was higher than it is today. The reports supporting this latest round of legislation are simply not valid.

Further, what is being characterized as a “patent troll”, and is the target of the proposed legislation, is really an investor. Individual inventors and small patent-based businesses need investors to practice and protect our inventions. A patent is sometimes the sole asset we can leverage for that investment. Damaging investors therefore damages inventors.

Provisions in current legislation under consideration in the Senate are harmful or fatal to individual inventors and small patent-based businesses. For example:

Loser Pays will significantly increase risk to the inventor for defending a patent. A patent infringement lawsuit is incredibly expensive. The typical independent inventor has very limited financial resources. Furthermore, most inventions have a limited market, often small enough that the increased risk of paying an opponent’s legal fees could make it economically unfeasible to protect the invention even if the funds were available. This provision could be fatal for a large percentage of inventions.

Fee Shifting “Joinder” allows investors and others to be personally liable for the legal fees of a defendant if the plaintiff does not prevail. Few investors will risk personal assets beyond what is directly invested in a business, so this provision will severely limit investment in new technologies. With no investment, this is fatal to most inventors, who are common people.

Elimination of Post Grant Review Estoppel – Under the current law, a Post Grant Review prohibits the petitioner from later arguing “any ground that the petitioner raisedor reasonably could have raisedduring that post-grant review.” The proposed legislation strikes “or reasonably could have raised.” This will allow a defendant to bring multiple sequential Post Grant Reviews in an effort to defeat the patent holder by burning financial resources and time with effectively perpetual litigation. This provision could easily become fatal to most inventors.

Patent Term Adjustment – The proposed legislation will eliminate any patent term adjustment for a delay in patent issuance caused by the USPTO. For a patent that takes many years to prosecute, of which there are many, the enforceable life of the patent could be cut in half or worse. This is not fair to the inventor and could be highly damaging or fatal to a large number of patents. It will also discourage the patenting of inventions and encourage keeping inventions secret.

Enhanced Pleadings and Limiting Discovery – In an already expensive and complicated process, these two elements require the patent holder to spend more money up front and operate with less information than is needed. These weigh heavily against the patent holder’s ability to defend a patent and reduce the ability of the judge to manage the case effectively.

The original purpose of the American Patent System was to promote innovation. The proposed legislation will have the opposite effect. In addition to the harm these changes will have on the groups mentioned, these changes represent a 180 degree shift from the ideals with which the American Patent System and America itself were created. That corporate interests could succeed in such an attempt is unthinkable. For the good of America, we stand firmly against the proposed legislation and any future legislation that would weaken the American Patent System. We are for any legislation that fully funds the Patent and Trademark Office with all of the fees it generates so that patent quality can improve and application pendency can decrease.

Independent Inventors of America

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Randy Landreneau, Executive Director, rl@CompleteProductDevelopment.com

Paul Morinville, Vice President, Paul@morinville.net

 

Initial Signatures:

Bruce Koppenhoefer, President Invent Alabama
Tia Wheeler, Vice Chairman Rocket City Inventors Club
Tim Crawley, President Inventor’s Association of Arizona
Adrian Pelkus, President San Diego Inventors Forum
Michele Nash-Hoff, Gov. Committee San Diego Inventors Forum
Greg Lauren-Wawrzyniak, Founder Invention Acceleration Workshop
Andrew Krauss, President Inventors Alliance, Bay Area
Dale Halling, Founder Inventors Roundtable
Pal Asija, President Christian Inventors Association
Dr. Doug Lyon, President Inventors Association of Connecticut
John Pfanstiehl, Past Pres., CT Chap. Inventors Club of America
Dr. David Flinchbaugh, President Inventors Council of Central Florida
David Woods, Vice President Inventors Council of Central Florida
Leo Mazur, President Inventors Society of South Florida
Freddy Lee, Vice President Inventors Society of South Florida
Joanna Zaremba, Secretary Inventors Society of South Florida
Joseph Gross, President Edison Inventor’s Society
Mike Kirby, Frmr. Board Member Edison Inventor’s Society
Wayne Rasanen, President Tampa Bay Inventors Council
Rob Aiken, Secretary Tampa Bay Inventors Council
Randy Landreneau, Past President Tampa Bay Inventors Council
Dr. Mario Golab, President Miami Inventors
David Zedonis, President Indiana Inventors Association
David Caldwell, Manager Indiana Inventors Association
Frank Morosky, President Iowa Inventors Group
John Gast, President Inventors Association of Central Kansas
Curt McMillan, President Inventors Center of Kansas City
Sean Murphy, CEO Inventors Center of Kansas City
Mary Moeller, Vice President Inventors Center of Kansas City
Don Skaggs, President Central Kentucky Inventors Council
Roderick Whitfield, President Int’l Society of Product Design Engineers
Glen Kotapish, President Inventors Network of the Capital Area
Bob Hausslein, President Inventors Association of New England
Michael Ball, President Inventors Council of Mid-Michigan
Travis White, President Inventors Network of Minnesota
Todd Wandersee, Past President Inventors Network of Minnesota
Stephen Lyon, Board Member Inventors Network of Minnesota
John Titus, Board Member Inventors Network of Minnesota
Robert Scheinkman, President Inventors Association of St. Louis
Stephen Shaw, President National Society of Inventors
Daniel Weiss, Past President NY Society of Professional Inventors
Bob Murray, Past President Inventors Society of Western New York
Brian James, President Inventors Network of the Carolinas
Frank Fleisher, President Canton Inventors Association
Dwight Stauffer, President Canton Inventors Association
Stephen Frey, President Inventors Council of Dayton
Dan Hoffman, President Oklahoma Inventors Congress
Bill Baker, Past President Oklahoma Inventors Congress
Scot Traylor, President South Coast Inventors Group
Tom Kulaga, Past President Tennessee Inventors Association
James Stevens, President Music City Inventors
George Burkhardt, President Alamo Inventors
Ken Roddy, President Houston Inventors Association
Otto Glaser, Vice President Houston Inventors Association
Mary Russell Sarao, Past Pres. Texas Inventors Association
Barbara Russell Pitts, Past Pres. Texas Inventors Association
Sandra Fan, Director Utah Inventor Entrepreneurs

Latest Signatures
705Kimberly DoughertyDec 17, 2016
704Thomas MorrisonOct 24, 2016
703Timothy SheridanJul 03, 2016
702Denise LewisMar 24, 2016
701Haile WoubouMar 13, 2016
700irene struifDec 16, 2015
699William KrollNov 25, 2015
698Ina BrownSep 21, 2015
697Dennis ZelazowskiSep 21, 2015
696Jane HowingtonAug 29, 2015
695Ricky WrightAug 19, 2015
694Howard GutowitzAug 11, 2015
693Michael DeleshawAug 02, 2015
692Peter NamtvedtJul 29, 2015
691Michael McCoolJul 27, 2015
690Elizabaeth CrouchJul 18, 2015
689John CodyJul 16, 2015
688Wojciech BeldyckiJul 09, 2015
687Ronald LewisJun 21, 2015
686Christopher LinkJun 16, 2015
685Mary-Jean RepchukJun 13, 2015
684Howard LeonhardtJun 12, 2015
683Lindsay LynchJun 10, 2015
682Jan MangosJun 10, 2015
681Hardave KharbandaJun 08, 2015
680JOSEPH MAGRUMJun 02, 2015
679Twyana HarrisJun 02, 2015
678William A. TurnboJun 02, 2015
677robert thomasJun 01, 2015
676Mike WeaverMay 31, 2015
675Glen HammondMay 29, 2015
674Lauretta ScottMay 29, 2015
673chris williamsMay 27, 2015
672David WoodsMay 27, 2015
671Heidi VanhaverbekeMay 25, 2015
670Tyrone HazenMay 22, 2015
669Donald AveryMay 21, 2015
668FRANK VALDERASMay 21, 2015
667Edward Delmonte IIMay 20, 2015
666Christopher DanielsMay 20, 2015
665Scott MayleMay 13, 2015
664Thomas RiedererMay 05, 2015
663LOUISE WEBERMay 05, 2015
662Laszlo SandorMay 02, 2015
661DENA WAYMANApr 30, 2015
660Joseph ButticiApr 30, 2015
659Ron HeiskellApr 30, 2015
658Denise RoosApr 30, 2015
657Walter MittyApr 30, 2015
656Peter LombardiApr 30, 2015

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