It didn’t take long for various groups to start issuing statements on the Patent Reform Act of 2009 bill introduced today.

Manzullo and Michaud

U.S. Reps. Don Manzullo (R-IL) and Mike Michaud (D-ME) said the latest patent reform bill introduced in the House and Senate this afternoon would actually weaken intellectual property protections for American manufacturers and put hundreds of thousands more Americans on the unemployment lines. Manzullo and Michaud led a bipartisan coalition of 64 Members of Congress last fall fighting for major changes in last year’s patent reform bill.

“This year’s version of the so-called patent reform bill again weakens America’s strong patent system, making it easier for foreign companies to take our ideas and our jobs. By diminishing the damage awards in patent infringement cases, this bill would encourage intellectual property theft by foreign competitors, putting 298,000 American manufacturing jobs at risk and curtailing U.S. research and development spending by $66 billion, according to a recent economic study. It makes no sense to us why we would threaten the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Americans at a time when our people are in desperate need of jobs.

Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform

The Chairman of the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, Gary Griswold, released the following statement after the introduction of The Patent Reform Act of 2009, in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives:

“Our coalition is committed to achieving reforms that will enhance the patent system so that valid patents are issued promptly and cost efficiently thereby encouraging innovation that will create jobs and promote America¹s economic recovery.  Legislation that makes these kinds of changes will permit Congress to reach useful and effective reforms to the patent system, and should be passed in the 111th Congress.

Unfortunately, several provisions in the bill are problematic because of their potential negative impact on innovation and job growth.  For example, the damages methodology in this bill heavily favors infringers over inventors.  At a time when we need to stimulate our innovation and aid U.S. manufacturers, this bill sends an international signal that patented American technology can be copied with little or no consequence.  We will erode our global leadership in research and invention if we eviscerate this cornerstone of our patent system. Specifically, provisions intentionally designed to reduce damages, such as prior art subtraction,  should not be part of any patent reform enacted by Congress.

Visit Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform for more information.

Innovation Alliance

The Innovation Alliance expressed its deep disappointment in response to the patent bills noting its concerns with several key provisions that it says would weaken patent protections, chill innovation for large segments of the U.S. business community, and cost American jobs.

“Unfortunately, the bill introduced today is basically the same divisive bill that was opposed by a broad range of American industries, innovators, universities and labor unions when it stalled in the last Congress,” said Brian Pomper, Innovation Alliance Executive Director.  “The U.S. patent system has been critical to the success of countless American entrepreneurs, large and small businesses, and workers for over two hundred years.  At this time of grave economic uncertainty, Congress should not make changes recklessly, without compelling evidence that the proposed changes will positively strengthen the U.S. economy.  This is especially true in light of sweeping changes in recent Supreme Court patent jurisprudence.”

The Alliance also issued a new study, “Judicial Patent Reform: How Recent Federal Court Decisions Have Already Shifted the Balance Between Patent Holders and Patent Users.”

Manufacturing Alliance on Patent Policy

The Manufacturing Alliance on Patent Policy released the following statement regarding introduction of legislation to modify the U.S. patent system:

Chief among our concerns is the language that reduces penalties on those who take the intellectual property of others. While we appreciate the sponsors’ willingness to hear our concerns, the legislation as introduced includes language from last Congress that would seriously undermine our patent protections.

We share the desire to improve the patent system.  We are concerned that reducing penalties for patent infringement would jeopardize manufacturing jobs and R&D investment without strengthening patent protection.  A recent economic analysis showed that aspects of this legislation would put as many as 298,000 manufacturing jobs at risk and reduce R&D investment by up to $66 billion.   This would be the wrong direction at a time when the American economy is struggling severely.

See MAPP for additional information.

PhRMA

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Ken Johnson issued the following statement:

“By  lowering the penalties for those found by a court to have infringed another’s patent, the bill would reduce the value of the patents that are the lifeblood of America’s innovative business sectors, which depend on intellectual property protection. Likewise, the bill does not address one of the key recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences, which would reform the inequitable conduct doctrine.

“A strong and reliable patent system provides American businesses with an incentive that spurs innovation across the country. It is especially important for pharmaceutical and biotechnology innovators that are faced with the daunting average investment of 10 to 15 years and roughly one billion dollars to develop a new drug. We are concerned that the proposed framework will put this important incentive – and, with it, the jobs that are provided by innovative industries – at risk.

“Unfortunately, a reduction in penalties – or damages – will clearly put the promise of IP protection at risk by leaving patent holders unable to recover their losses if infringed. This reduces the overall value of the patents because holders will not be able to rely on that protection.

BIO

Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood issued the following statement regarding the introduction of patent reform legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate:

“While BIO continues to have concerns with some of the specific language in the bills introduced today, we understand that today’s introductions are just the beginning of the legislative process.  We look forward to working in good faith with the Chairmen, other Senators and Representatives, and other stakeholders to achieve positive, meaningful, and consensus-oriented reforms to the patent system – reforms that will further enhance patent quality and spur innovation and economic growth here at home.

“We share President Obama’s goal of investing in the innovation economy to help fuel our nation’s economic recovery. The nation’s strong patent system has enabled us to be a world leader on innovation.  Weakening intellectual property protection would jeopardize this leadership. Changes to the patent system require careful consideration and debate, particularly in the current economic environment.  We are eager to play a constructive role in this regard.”

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  1. [...] Die Organisation der Forschenden Pharmaunternehmen (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)) sieht es ganz ähnlich und veröffentlichte folgendes Statement: “By lowering the penalties for those found by a court to have infringed another’s patent, the bill would reduce the value of the patents that are the lifeblood of America’s innovative business sectors, which depend on intellectual property protection. Likewise, the bill does not address one of the key recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences, which would reform the inequitable conduct doctrine … A strong and reliable patent system provides American businesses with an incentive that spurs innovation across the country. It is especially important for pharmaceutical and biotechnology innovators that are faced with the daunting average investment of 10 to 15 years and roughly one billion dollars to develop a new drug. We are concerned that the proposed framework will put this important incentive – and, with it, the jobs that are provided by innovative industries – at risk.” (Gefunden bei Patent Baristas) [...]

  2. [...] Baristas also has a good post describing some of the first reactions from various interest [...]