BIO has issued a strong letter of support for the Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act

by Stephanie D. Fischer

BIO has issued a strong letter of support for the Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act.  The letter is posted on our website and the text is below:

“On behalf of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), I am writing to express our strong support for your Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act. It is our strong desire to see this bill, as amended, passed by the House, and then we will work with you to ensure that any final product is perfected.

This legislation is similar to the bill adopted earlier this year by the U.S. Senate by a nearly unanimous vote, and we are pleased that the Manager’s Amendment to the bill has resolved many of the remaining concerns for the life sciences industry.

Your legislation will, once and for all, end the diversion of fees collected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), increase the objectivity of our patent system, and increase patent quality. It is precisely these types of reforms that should receive bipartisan support, as they are good for inventors and investors, hence good for business and jobs in America.

We thank you for all of your hard work to move the patent reform process forward in the House, and we look forward to working with you and the Senate to ensure that patent reform legislation is ultimately enacted into law this year.”

Earlier this week, BIO joined a broad coalition of organizations, universities, companies and other stakeholders to express strong support for Section 22 of the bill which would prevent future fee diversion:

“Although each of our organizations has varying views on the reforms contained in H.R. 1249, we unanimously support Section 22 and believe that it is the cornerstone of any patent reform legislation. Absent a statutory mechanism to prevent future fee diversion, as we have seen all too often in previous years, the existing and new responsibilities vested in the USPTO will suffer, the ability of the USPTO to plan long-term and build the agency our innovation economy demands will be frustrated, and the job-stifling patent application backlog will continue.”  This letter is available on our website.

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House Judiciary Committee’s Patent Reform Bill is in Need of Reform, Says BIO

PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Friday, April 15, 2011) – Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood released the following statement regarding the America Invents Act, H.R. 1249, which passed the House Committee on the Judiciary yesterday:
 
“BIO has consistently praised House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) for his introduction of a comprehensive patent reform bill similar to the bill adopted by the U.S. Senate earlier this month by a nearly unanimous vote.  Unfortunately, given the addition of the Goodlatte supplemental examination amendment, added to the bill during Committee consideration, we have no choice but to oppose floor consideration of the bill until this issue is repaired.

“The supplemental examination provision as passed by the Senate and originally included in the House bill would allow patent holders to seek a review of their issued patents at their own risk.  The Goodlatte amendment undercuts this provision by creating disincentives for patent owners to use the new procedure by having the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) act as quasi-investigative body.

“We commend Chairman Smith for all the work he has done to craft a bill, the America Invents Act, which is a clear improvement over prior House versions of patent reform legislation.  BIO was very supportive of Chairman Smith’s Manager’s Amendment.  We are pleased that the legislation will end, once and for all, the diversion of fees collected by the PTO, allowing the agency to use all of its fees to hire more examiners, reduce the backlog of pending applications, and make other improvements to its operations.  We also commend the inclusion in the bill of many other reforms that will improve the patent system and enhance patent quality, including transition to a “first-to-file” system, the creation of an inter partes review system, and the elimination of other subjective elements of patent law.
 
“Nonetheless, given the importance of adopting a supplemental examination provision much like that which passed the Senate on a bipartisan, 95-5 vote, BIO notes our objection to this bill being considered on the House floor.  We commit to work with Chairman Smith and others to rectify this issue, so that a patent reform bill with broad support can be brought to the floor of the House.”

Smith To Introduce House Patent Ahead of Next Week’s Hearing

Article from Tech Daily Dose in the National Journal stating:

House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, will introduce his own version of patent reform legislation next week, possibly as early as Monday.

Patent Reform Bill good for Biotech

Patent Reform Passes the Senate and Moves to the House

 

Posted by Roy Zwahlen, manager of intellectual property and technology transfer policy at BIO.

On March 8th, the Senate approved the America Invents Act (S. 23) by an overwhelming vote of 95-5.  BIO supports this bipartisan, consensus-oriented bill, formerly known as the Patent Reform Act of 2011.  Once enacted into law, it will strengthen and improve our nation’s patent system, spurring innovation and job creation.

Patents are often the main assets of small biotech companies, and they rely on this intellectual property to attract investors to fund the lengthy and expensive research and development process necessary to bring breakthrough new therapies and other biotech products to patients and consumers.  The improvements made by the America Invents Act would benefit the biotechnology industry, and indeed all sectors of the U.S. economy, by enhancing patent quality and the efficiency, objectivity, predictability, and transparency of the patent system.

Increased Resources for the PTO

The America Invents Act contains two provisions that would provide greater resources and operational flexibility for the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).  First, it would end the diversion of fees collected by the PTO in excess of its budget, and would permit the PTO to retain such fees for use in either the current or future budget years.  It would also give the PTO the authority to set and adjust fees for patent applications, while requiring discounts in fees for small businesses.  These measures will help the PTO improve its long-range budgeting and planning for capital and human resources, hire more examiners to process the more than 350,000 patent applications it receives annually, and reduce the current backlog of more than 700,000 pending applications.

Improvements to PTO Re-Examinations

The America Invents Act would create new and improved proceedings for interested members of the public and the patent owner to seek review of issued patents by the PTO.  The new procedures would result in a more transparent and efficient system of patent quality review. Importantly, patent owners would have a new procedure under which they could go back to the PTO whenever they find new information that might affect the validity or scope of their patent claims without fear of later being accused of concealment or misrepresentation in court by an alleged infringer under the much-maligned inequitable conduct doctrine.  These new procedures would create more business certainty, less risk in investment in biotechnology products, greater assurances in licensing rights, and greater enforceability of patents.

False Patent Marking Litigation

False patent marking litigation occurs when a manufacturer labels a product with an incorrect or expired patent number.  Current law allows any member of the public to sue and sets the fine at $500 per falsely marked article, which has spawned a cottage industry of law firms using this law to shake down industry for settlements in return for promises to drop the lawsuits.  Historically, this was not of great concern until 2009 when the number of these lawsuits greatly increased.  The America Invests Act would require that, in order to sue, someone must have suffered a competitive injury.  This utilizes a common legal principle to ensure that those actually injured are receiving compensation, while excluding those trying to take advantage of a statutory loophole for personal gain.

First Inventor to File

One of the most hotly debated provisions of the America Invents Act would change America’s first to invent system to a first inventor to file system.  This system is embedded in international patent practice, with the United States as the only exception.  While some argue that America’s first to invent system is superior, it is inherently fraught with uncertainties, and problems arise when biotechnology companies try to protect their inventions here and abroad. This bill would remove these uncertainties, while providing adequate protections against misappropriation of an invention by someone other than the true inventor.

Additional Benefits

The America Invents Act would provide several additional benefits for the biotechnology industry, including making it easier for the actual owners of the invention to file patent applications and eliminating the “best mode” requirement as a defense in infringement litigation.  Generally, the removal of subjective elements of patent law helps to create a more equal playing field for all interested parties of an invention.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA), and the other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are to be commended for their tireless efforts to build bipartisan consensus on this legislation, which resulted in wide support of its passage in the Senate.

 

We look forward to working with the House Committee on the Judiciary as it continues its consideration of patent reform, and hope to see meaningful patent reform signed into law later this year.

 

BIO Hails Senate Passage of America Invents Act

BIO Hails Senate Passage of America Invents Act

Bipartisan, consensus-oriented approach will strengthen nation’s patent system and spur innovation, job creation

Washington, D.C. (March 8, 2011) – Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood released the following statement on the passage today of the America Invents Act (S. 23) by the U.S. Senate:

“BIO commends the Senate for its overwhelming passage of the America Invents Act by a vote of 95-5.  We appreciate the dedication of Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA) and the bill’s other cosponsors for their tireless efforts to build bipartisan consensus on the legislation.  Once enacted into law, it will strengthen and improve our nation’s patent system, spurring innovation and job creation.

“Patents are often the main assets of small biotech companies, and they rely on this intellectual property to attract investors to fund the lengthy and expensive research and development process necessary to bring breakthrough new therapies and other biotech products to patients and consumers.

“The improvements made by the America Invents Act would benefit all sectors of the U.S. economy by enhancing patent quality and the efficiency, objectivity, predictability, and transparency of the patent system. 

“BIO encourages the House of Representatives to consider patent reform without delay, and we look forward to working with Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and the members of the House Committee on the Judiciary.  We are committed to ensuring that patent reform legislation preserves and enhances the incentives necessary to sustain our nation’s global leadership in biotechnology innovation and to spur the creation of high-wage, high-value jobs throughout the country.”