The House Judiciary Committee markup* happened yesterday, and a new version of The Innovation Act, H.R.9, passed. This bill is now moving toward a vote on the floor of the House. The Senate’s PATENT Act, S.1137, passed the Senate’ Judiciary Committee markup last week, and is also moving toward a floor vote. For a bill to become law, it has to pass both the House and the Senate. If one of these bills passes in one place, there will be an effort to then pass it in the other place. If that happens, it is over.
Let me first assure you that, at this time, all is not lost and that it definitely is still possible for us to not lose significant rights American inventors have had for over 200 years. It is possible, but it will require a very significant effort on our part. For any of you new to this fight, you can find out more about what is in these bills here: House Bill and Senate Bill.
Definitely read the information below so you will fully understand where we are right now, and how we have gotten here. I don’t see how we have a chance of really fighting this war on both fronts in the limited time we have if I am not doing it full-time. Any of you who aren’t more broke than me need to step up to the plate and help get me to DC full-time. The donations go to US Inventor, a non-profit that can lobby. You can donate anonymously. We cannot let a bunch of conscienceless hired-gun lobbyists spread lies with impunity until we lose everything. If you have questions about donating, call me at 727-744-3748.
Remember that the original Innovation Act, H.R.3309, passed in the House in December of 2013 quickly, with very little discussion, and in a landslide – 325 to 91. It was expected to go quickly through the Senate, but a few of us worked hard and it was eventually side-tracked.
A few months ago, the very same bill was re-introduced in the House as The Innovation Act, H.R.9. Considering the huge earlier passage, everyone in DC said there was no way to stop it. Paul Morinville and I went to about 200 House offices and caused a fair amount of commotion. Paul’s “We’ve Been Googled” paper definitely got passed around. And this time, universities and drug companies were fighting along with us.
The bill stalled. This was very good. Normally, the bill would have passed the house and then the Senate would have tweaked it and tried to pass it. Because it was stalled, the Senate went ahead and came out with their version, The PATENT Act, S.1137.
Because of the opposition in the House, the Senate did some devious things. They carved out the universities and drug companies! This means that fatal provisions of the bill that will affect you and me will no longer affect them. This is how you reduce opposition to a terrible bill. They also put in some window-dressing that appeared to address our concerns, but actually did next to nothing in real world scenarios.
Then, with no advanced warning, the Senate Judiciary sprang an amended version (Manager’s Amendment) and the Judiciary Committee markup* meeting. This is how it happens in DC. In every situation where serious discussion and opposition is needed, it is thwarted. If you aren’t physically in DC and able to fight full-time, you are at an extreme disadvantage. I was there, and Senator Durbin’s Chief Council had me getting information to him late into the night just before the markup. Senator Durbin fought for us and mentioned Independent Inventors of America as one of the groups against the bill.
But The PATENT Act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee markup. Within a week, the House Judiciary sprang its “Managers Amendment” and markup, and it was also passed.
One thing to know is that, earlier in this fight, key individuals stated adamantly that they wouldn’t change anything in The Innovation Act. Well, they did have to make changes, including similar shameful carve-outs as above, and it passed, but much less strongly than in 2013: 24 to 8 vs. 33 to 5. I know for sure that there are Reps who definitely didn’t like this bill but chose not to vote.
The fact is that our side made a fairly significant impact against a group of individuals (Judiciary Committee Members) that includes too many individuals who are jaded, lacking in conscience and unable to summon the courage to do what is right.
The good news is that the rest of the House and Senate are not as hard to convince as the Judiciary. But, there are a lot of offices (400 in the House, 100 in the Senate), and limited time to convince a majority to side with us.
The war is now fully on two fronts – the House and the Senate. To have a chance at winning, I need to be going door-to-door in the House and Senate every day until we have a majority on our side. Up until now, I have been going three days at a time every other week and trying to not go totally broke in the meantime (8 trips). This will produce about 15 to 20 personal visits with key people every two weeks, assuming I can even keep doing this. Full-time would produce 50 to 66 visits in the same time period – over three times the impact and possibly enough coverage before it is too late.
If we are going to have a chance at winning this war, I need you guys to step up to the plate and help me fight for us. The donations can be anonymous, and go to US Inventor (see Donate button), a non-profit that can lobby. You can’t deduct donations that will be used for lobbying, but you can definitely help stop your rights as inventors from being stripped away. Your donations will go directly to helping me fight for our rights.
Up to now, total donations to US Inventor are about $400. Thank you to those who have donated, but it will take the rest of you getting active for us to mount a real fight. Just $50 apiece would go a long way, $100 much further.
I can’t guarantee that me going full-time will enable us to win this fight, but I promise you that I will do everything I can to win it. I can also tell you I know the general membership of the House and Senate are easier to convince than the Judiciary, and that they put much greater value on a meeting with someone like me than with a hired gun from the “Google lobby.”
I want nothing more than to fight for our rights every day with everything that I’ve got until we win or lose. But if we lose, let’s make sure we have done everything we can to reveal our opposition as the liars that they are and make every individual who votes against us aware of his or her guilt in the destruction of the best of America. Help me do this – donate now.
Randy Landreneau, Founder
*Markup refers to the Judiciary Committee meeting where a bill is debated, possibly amended, and then voted on by the committee to determine whether or not it will go to the general membership for debate and a vote.