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Inventors Digest Publisher, Louis Foreman, Cited in Patent Reform Debate in US Senate

Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: Mar 3, 2011 @ 3:20 pm
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Louis Foreman

Yesterday from the floor of the Senate, while debating whether the Senate should pass patent reform bill S. 23, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) cited a letter from Louis Foreman in support of patent reform, which was entered into the record without objection.  The name Louis Foreman is well known to those in the inventor community.  Foreman is the publisher of Inventors Digest, the Executive Producer of Everyday Edisons, an inventor himself and a serial entrepreneur.

Foreman, who supports patent reform efforts generally and S. 23 specifically, started his first business as a sophomore in college twenty years ago.  He has successfully started 8 business in that twenty year period and has been an integral part of twenty additional ventures.  Foreman has ten U.S. patents and his firm, enventys, has helped develop and file for another 400 patents.  This experience easily has shown Foreman, in his own words, that “the USPTO is hampered by a system that is in dire need of reform.”

In his letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Ranking Member, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Foreman explained:

From my perspective, the Judiciary Committee-passed bill helps independent inventors across the country by strengthening the current system for entrepreneurs and small businesses by including the following:

  • Lower fees for micro-entities;
  • Shorter times for patent prosecution creating a more predictable system;
  • First-Inventor-to-File protections to harmonize U.S. law with our competitors abroad while providing independent inventors with certainty;
  • Stronger patent quality and reliability by incorporating “best practices” into patent application examination and review, making it easier for independent inventors to attract start-up capital; and
  • Resources for the USPTO to reduce the current patent backlog of 700,000 patents.

As the debate in the Senate starts to wind down and moves to the House of Representatives, whether you are pro-reform or against reform, get involved and participate.  Taking the time to be engaged can go a long way.  In listening to the debate in the Senate over the past 4 days it is clear to me that Senators are listening to those on both sides who engage in thoughtful debate.  While I am often cynical about government, it has been refreshing to watch.  Painful at times, but nice to see that ordinary citizens can make a difference.

Tip of the hat to Louis Foreman.

 

 

About the Author

Eugene R. Quinn, Jr.
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
US Patent Attorney (Reg. No. 44,294)
Zies, Widerman & Malek

B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Rutgers University
J.D., Franklin Pierce Law Center
L.L.M. in Intellectual Property, Franklin Pierce Law Center

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Gene Quinn is a US Patent Attorney, law professor and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He is also a principal lecturer in the top patent bar review course in the nation, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. Known by many as “The IPWatchdog,” Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website IPWatchdog.com in 1999, and since that time the site has had millions of unique visitors. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, CNN Money, NPR and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide. He represents individuals, small businesses and start-up corporations. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

14 comments
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  1. My apologies for the reprint – the comment seems a natural fit here:

    Blind Dogma March 2nd, 2011 2:27 pm

    Gene,

    Noticed the blurb at http://www.inventorsdigest.com/?p=5793

    Noticed also your post thanking them.

    Did not notice if you noticed that their story used your trademark dog with magnifying glass at the top of their story (without the additional lettering). Now on first blush I was indeed confused as to the provider of the story as I associate the little watchful dog expressly with your product. It does make me wonder (just a little) if you have applied for registration of the trademark (and how).

  2. Foreman does not speak for inventors. IEEE and several small entity inventor orgs opposed the bill. All you have to do is poll inventors to figure that out.

  3. Here is a similar story

    Louis J. Foreman is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for innovation. He started his first business from his college fraternity room and, for the past 20 years, has been starting and building successful companies. Louis is the founder and CEO of Enventys, a product-development firm working with major consumer product manufacturers and leading retailers. He is the publisher of Inventors Digest magazine and executive producer of the Emmy® award-winning PBS show Everyday Edisons. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

  4. “Lower fees for micro-entities”

    However, the bill defines micro-entities by the number of applications one files, not by the size of the firm. That is misleading. Many other things Foreman and other supporters of the bill say are misleading or simply untrue. Foreman does not speak for small entities. They do not support the bill.

    http://www.nsba.biz/docs/patent_reform.pdf

  5. Justcause-

    Reality check time. Just because you disagree with a truthful assertion doesn’t mean that the assertion is misleading.

    Everything Louis says is correct, and your unsupported conclusions that what he is saying is untrue is simply wrong. Are we to take the word of someone who demands anonymity and then makes conclusions without ANY support?

    By the way, Louis doesn’t claim to speak for all small entities, but there are plenty of small entities that do, in fact, support the bill. Just because you might be a small entity and don’t support the bill doesn’t mean your position is unanimous. Far from it in fact. Many small entities do support the bill, including those independent inventors who understand the bill will present significant strategic advantages for independent inventors over large corporations.

    Opposing views are welcome on IPWatchdog.com, but not conclusory statements that are untrue. Whether you like it or not, the bill does have lower fees for micro-entities.

  6. Slight correction (and to the point of the post):

    Whether you like it or not, the bill does have lower fees for micro-entities as defined.”

    Truth can be a very subtle thing.

  7. BD-

    That is true enough, but doesn’t it go without saying “as defined”? There are price breaks for small entities, which itself is a term of art that has a definition. Not many people would say a small entity is one with 499 employees, but that is what the law says.

    I just take issue with the statement that the term is misleading when it has a specific meaning that is well defined for all to see. Complaining that a clearly defined term is misleading coupled with a conclusory statement that those supporting patent reform are essentially lying needs to be called out. Seems like bitter commentary to me.

    -Gene

  8. but doesn’t it go without saying?

    Evidently not. While the term of art “small entity” is indeed a term of art – its parameters well understood by those in the art – I would say that the term “micro-entity” does not share this same distinction.

    The point of the previous post thus should be well taken that the size designation is oblivated with the linkage to number of filings. This is a brand new and totally unrelated to anything previous concept that should not be swept under the definitional rug.

    This is the “issue” as I saw it. While I will not go as far as to say that this is “essentially lying,” I also will not say that this is not misleading. The term “hiding in plain sight” applies to such items. Just because it is in plain sight does not mean that it is not misleading.

  9. BD-

    I am with you right up until the end when you say “in plain sight does not mean that it is not misleading.” I understand what you are saying though. Given that “small entity” relates to size and people believe there is a “large entity” (although there really isn’t) the term “micro-entity” could lead people to think something that is not true I suppose.

    I don’t think it is surprising that “micro-entity” doesn’t share the same term of art status as “small entity.” That is only logical since it is a new concept altogether.

    I understand many could be upset to learn they don’t qualify for micro status and instead are small status, but the fact that there is something in there that order a further break in fees for at least some seems positive to me and should help the typical garage inventor. Maybe not the professional garage inventor, but help is help.

    -Gene

  10. If, (and a mighty big if – as I do not know what if any rules apply) the definition of “Micro-entity” is fixed or mallable, then the interaction (forseen or not) on quantity of applications may more than surprise entities with the passage of Patent Reform.

    Greatly realizing just how much of an “angels on the head of a pin” exercise this still is, can you imagine the disaster looming when needing to file many many more applications to cover actual development meets with the loss of expected micro-entity status meets the ability of the Patent Office to actually process applications?

    You think the backlog is large now? You think the ability of the Office to forecast (hence budget) is opaque now? If the Taffas victory was to have any meaningful effect on protecting the rights of the inventor against arbitrary Office shenanigans (an admittedly juvinile, but apt word), you can kiss that effect goodbye with the confluence of developments here.

  11. “small entities… do not support the bill”

    Please see http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/policy/2011/022311.pdf

    Clearly, many small entities and their orgs oppose the bill. In my opinion Foreman pretty well stands alone. Feel free to list any small entities or their orgs that you believe support the bill and we’ll perform a head count. I am quite confident we all will see that small entities do indeed overwhelmingly oppose the bill. Let’s put the theory to the test, shall we?

  12. justcause-

    There are certainly small entities that oppose the bill, but there are plenty of small entities that support the bill, so Foreman is not at all standing alone.

    See:

    The BayBio organization supports patent reform S. 23. See: http://www.baybio.org/about/presidents-desk/support-patent-reform/
    If you look at their membership it becomes clear that it is pretty well dominated by small entities. Just a few examples will suffice to rebut your erroneous assertion that Foreman is standing alone:

    Charisela Technologies — 5 employees, see:
    http://www.allbusiness.com/companyprofile/Charisela_Technologies_Inc/1F2C0DAEFA39CD74E17851F1DF38C327-1.html

    Broncus Technologies, Inc. — 62 employees, see:
    http://www.hoovers.com/company/Broncus_Technologies_Inc/rfstkji-1.html

    Bio Surplus — under 20 employees, see:
    http://www.manta.com/c/mmndb41/bio-surplus

    Aviir, Inv. — 7 employees, see:
    http://www.manta.com/c/mmndb41/bio-surplus

    Ground Zero Pharmaceuticals, Inc. — under 10 employees, see:
    http://www.lead411.com/company_GroundZeroPharmaceuticals_Siegel_42310.html

    KineMed, Inc. — under 50 employees, see:
    http://www.lead411.com/company_KineMed_Stein_42494.html

    Association of University Technology Managers (representing 350 universities, research institutions, teaching hospitals and government agencies) has said: “AUTM along with the university associations have taken positions in support of the Senate version of patent reform. The university associations are asking their members to contact their senators and ask them to bring S.23 to the floor for a vote.”
    http://autm.org/Patent_Reform.htm

    Gary Michelson is a small entity (independent inventor) and he also supports S. 23. See http://ipwatchdog.com/2011/02/25/gary-michelsons-letter-to-congress-supporting-patent-reform/id=15540/

    I personally am a small entity (independent inventor) and I support S. 23.

    There are also inventors groups supporting S. 23 as well, so just because you don’t support S. 23 and you are a small entity doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of small entities that do support S. 23. It took me less than 10 minutes to come up with the above list. Perhaps a little more homework on your part would be appropriate.

    -Gene

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