President Obama stresses the importance of Intellectual Property with President Hu of China

Here are some quotes on intellectual property from yesterday’s press conference with President Obama and President Hu of China.

I did also stress to President Hu that there has to be a level playing field for American companies competing in China, that trade has to be fair.  So I welcomed his commitment that American companies will not be discriminated against when they compete for Chinese government procurement contracts.  And I appreciate his willingness to take new steps to combat the theft of intellectual property.

  

Some of it has to do with intellectual property protection. So we were just in a meeting with business leaders, and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft pointed out that their estimate is that only one customer in every 10 of their products is actually paying for it in China.  And so can we get better enforcement, since that is an area where America excels — intellectual property and high-value added products and services.

And the Chinese government has, to its credit, taken steps to better enforce intellectual property.  We’ve got further agreement as a consequence of this state visit.  And I think President Hu would acknowledge that more needs to be done.  

Full Press Conference

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Bayh-Dole Podcast moderated by BIO with AUTM and patient advocate

Lila Feisee, Vice President for Global Intellectual Property Policy at BIO, moderated a podcast on the benefits of the Bayh-Dole Act and the need to maintain flexibility in our nation’s technology transfer system.  She was joined by:

  • Dr. Ashley Stevens, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Research Technology Development and Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship & Commercialization at the Boston University School of Management.  He  also serves as President of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), a nonprofit organization with an international membership of more than 3,000 technology managers and business executives. AUTM members come from more than 300 universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals as well as numerous businesses and government organizations.
  • Betsy de Parry, a patient advocate and author of The Roller Coaster Diaries, the story of her experience with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

For more information on the many benefits the Bayh-Dole Act has provided, please visit http://www.b-d30.org/.  Information on AUTM can be found at http://www.autm.net.

To listen to the podcast go to:  http://www.biotech-now.org/section/bio-matters/2011/01/12/celebrating-thirty-years-success-bayh-dole-act and press the play button at the bottom of the article.

Senator Leahy’s remarks on Senate Judiciary’s Innovation Agenda

Here are remarks Senator Leahy made at the Newseum yesterday regarding the Senate Judiciary’s agenda for the 112th Congress.  I have inserted below his comments on promoting innovation and creating jobs. 

Promoting Innovation and Creating Jobs

While we continue our work to protect the taxpayers’ dollars, we must also focus on protecting American jobs.  Last year, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously supported bipartisan efforts to stop online criminals from stealing our Nation’s intellectual property.  Online infringement costs our national economy billions of dollars every year.  Our intellectual property-based businesses are among the most productive in our economy and among its best employers.  We cannot stand by and see them ravaged, and American consumers subjected to counterfeits.  We will renew our effort this year.

Among our top priorities is the Patent Reform Act.  This bipartisan initiative to modernize our patent system has received considerable attention in the last several Congresses.  Updating our antiquated patent system will keep America at the forefront of innovation and invention.  It will help bolster our economy and protect jobs.  And it will do so without adding a penny to the Nation’s deficit.  I am encouraged that Chairman Lamar Smith of the House Judiciary Committee agrees that patent reform is sorely needed.  In the interest of protecting American jobs and economic leadership, Democrats and Republicans need to complete this important legislative effort.

Another area in which Senator Grassley and I have worked together over the years has been in confronting anti-competitive business conduct, especially in agriculture.  In the last two years, the Justice Department has become more aggressive in protecting competition.  The competition workshops held across the country jointly by the Justice and Agriculture Departments were a start, and the steps taken by the Antitrust Division have been good.  Now we hope to build on that as we confront overconcentration in agricultural businesses.  

I also hope Congress will finally repeal the health insurance industry’s exemption from our antitrust laws.  There was bipartisan support for this repeal in the last Congress.  There is no place in our health insurance market for anticompetitive abuses, and repealing this exemption is an important step toward bringing competition to the health insurance market.

There are many other ways in which the Judiciary Committee can contribute to our economic recovery and the expansion of American jobs.  We can strengthen programs like the EB-5 Regional Center Investment Program, which encourages foreign investment and spurs job creation in our state and local economies.  Senator Grassley and I are both acutely aware of the unique challenges facing the agriculture industry, and I believe the Judiciary Committee should take a close look at how we can move forward with important immigration proposals like AgJOBS, and ways to improve visa programs like the H-2A program so that important agricultural industries such as the dairy industry have access to a lawful workforce.  

There are encouraging economic signs, but our national economy is still recovering with too many people still out of work.  In the interest of American workers, Democrats and Republicans need to work together on these measures that buttress key pillars of the American economy.

BIO Joins 261 Business, Research Institutions and Organizations to Urge Caution in Microsoft v. i4i Case*

*UPDATE – 90 more organizations have decided to add their names to the letter sent to the Department of Justice.  Please find the new letter.

Please find attached an open letter to Attorney General Holder and Acting Solicitor General Katyal, signed by 171 businesses, research institutions and organizations of all sizes, representing U.S. innovation in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The signatories include leading innovators in agriculture, biotechnology, consumer products, electrical, mechanical  and chemical engineering, green energy, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, software, telecommunication and other sectors.

In signing this letter, BIO calls on the U.S. Department of Justice to proceed cautiously in developing the U.S. Government’s position in the ongoing high-profile patent litigation between Microsoft and i4i, a small software company. This case has recently been accepted for review by the United States Supreme Court and is being closely watched by domestic and foreign businesses from every technology sector, including biotechnology.

 

In this case, the Supreme Court is being asked to reconsider a longstanding rule of patent law, according to which those who challenge a patent before a lay jury or judge must carry a heightened burden of proof.  Under the current law, infringers who seek to overturn a patent must prove the facts of their case to a high degree of probability, by “clear and convincing evidence.” The rule ensures that patents that have been examined and issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and that have been relied on by patentees and the public, can only be overturned on strong, reliable, and convincing evidence.

In Microsoft v. i4i, the U.S. Supreme Court is now being asked to lower this burden of proof. As now proposed, patents could be invalidated more easily in district court litigation by using evidence that was not noted in the USPTO’s patent examination file. Effectively, patents that are challenged on such evidence would carry only the weakest possible presumption of validity – a “preponderance” standard according to which courts could overturn patents even if the facts of the case are established only to a 51% likelihood. This would be a big change in longstanding law that could make it significantly more difficult to rely on strong patent rights for licensing, partnering, investment, and product development decisions in all industry sectors.

We believe this case to be of critical importance to U.S. innovation policy, and are greatly concerned about its potentially negative consequences for domestic innovation, job growth, and U.S. technological leadership internationally. Because the U.S. Government’s position is likely to be very influential in this Supreme Court case, we ask that the Department of Justice weigh these implications carefully, and arrive at any official position only after consulting a broad range of stakeholders whose perspectives differ from those of a narrow group of big companies who would benefit from such a shift in the law.

A comprehensive collection of documents in this case can be found at http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/microsoft-v-i4i-limited-partnership/ and http://www.i4ilp.com/papers.php .

BIO’s IP Priorities for 2011

As we start a new year, the BIO Intellectual Property Department has determined their 2011 priorities.  Intellectual Property remains a foundational priority for BIO and our 1100 biotechnology company members.

BIO’s IP department has approved the following priorities for 2011:

1) PTO reforms to improve efficient, timely and quality examination

2) Congressional patent reform legislation

3) Improving IP protection in key foreign markets

4) IP legal developments in the courts

5) Protecting the breadth and flexibility of the patent and technology transfer system.

Innovation Alliance Event “Patents, Innovation and Job Creation: A Virtuous Circle”

An event is coming up on patents, innovation and job creation at the Newseum on Friday January 21.  The keynote speakers are  PTO Director David Kappos and Retired Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Paul Michel. 

Other industry experts and executives will participate in panel discussions.  Below is the news release.

As the U.S. economy struggles with high unemployment, the Innovation Alliance hosts a half-day discussion with inventors, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and industry experts on the economic value of patents and a vigorous USPTO. The conference features remarks from David Kappos, Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Paul Michel, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Retired Chief Judge. Gene Quinn, founder of IPWatchdog, Inc and Kim Hart, reporter at Politico will moderate morning panels on creating jobs and the impact of patents on the modern innovation economy. Email Innovation Alliance to RSVP

Here is the advertisement with further details.

IP Watchdog: Why Patents Matter

Great article in IP Watchdog of why patents matter.

Highlights:

-The article quotes a Patent Survey conducted by UC Berkeley School of Law which finds that:

In fact, 67% of firms surveyed indicated that the existence of patents were an important factor in their investment decisions. And for those software folks who always want to incorrectly believe they don’t need funding, the figure was 60% for software companies. Higher were biotech companies (73%) and medical device companies (85%), proving that it doesn’t matter what industry you are in, significant percentages of VCs place a premium on patents when making funding decisions.

The article suggests that:

What can be done to help the venture climate with minimal assistance from Congress?  How about issuing more patents!  Since VCs overwhelmingly place a premium on patents when making funding decisions the enormous backlog of unexamined patent applications presents a tremendous burden on the formation of funded businesses…

During fiscal year 2010 Congress siphoned of some $70 million from the Patent Office, and this year the Patent Office is collecting more than $1 million a day it cannot use.  You see, the Patent and Trademark Office of the United States government is a revenue generating entity.  User fees are supposed to go to the administration of the Office, but amounts over and above what Congress appropriates does not go back into the Office to invest in people, systems and infrastructure, but rather it goes to things that have nothing to do with innovation and the patenting thereof.

For more data and the rest of the interesting article.