New Patent Bill Destroys American Jobs

By Gene Quinn
March 3, 2009

U.S. Reps. Don Manzullo (R-IL) and Mike Michaud (D-ME) today 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 to preserve American ingenuity and jobs in last year’s flawed “patent reform” bill. The bill died in the Senate last fall and was reintroduced in both chambers this afternoon as the Patent Reform Act of 2009. Manzullo and Michaud issued the following joint statement:

STATEMENT

“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.

“In this difficult time for U.S. manufacturing, we hope the authors of this bill will abandon this contentious approach and instead work with us on patent reform legislation that strengthens American jobs rather than puts them at risk.  Let’s tackle consensus issues like Patent and Trademark Office efficiency, patent pendency and patent quality.   Let’s work together to reform the system, rather than take actions like diminishing the value of damages that could obliterate it.”

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

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Discuss this

There are currently 5 Comments comments.

  1. EG March 5, 2009 8:37 am

    Gene,

    Reps Manzullo and Michaud are my new heroes. That at least some Democrats, along with Republicans, see the potential problems with this new version of so-called “patent law reform” as potentially costing American jobs and undercutting American global competitiveness is fair warning that this bill benefits the corporate Goliaths, not the innovative Davids. The corporate Goliaths certainly aren’t going to create the jobs needed to bring American out of the current recession, but are (at least those in the banking and financial services world that created this mess) instead simply “sucking” money out of the so-called “stimulus” packages passed by the same Congressional characters who are supporting this new version of so-called “patent law reform.”

    Again, look at who is supporting this bill, the Coalition for Patent Fairness, a truly oxymoronic title for an organization that could care less if America’s patent system goes down the toilet. CFPR, which whines continually about how the current American patent system is stacked against it, isn’t going to create American jobs, but will simply increase the dominant position of the large computer/IT companies (who will continually cut American jobs). Also, could it be that these Congressional characters supporting this new version of so-called “patent law reform” pocketed funds from the Coalition for Patent Fairness? Again, this new version of so-called “patent law reform” will simply stamp out the Davids of Innovation, and with it the hope for job creation and global competitiveness in America. Anyone who believes otherwise is living in a dream world.

  2. Jaideep Venkatesan March 6, 2009 3:56 pm

    Reps. Manzullo and Michaud are likely getting their numbers from a study put out by the anti patent reform group Innovation Alliance, by Case Western economist Scott Shane, and focuses on the effect of the proposed amendment to patent damages. It’s worth considering the effect of lower patent damages in a change in policy, but I don’t put much stock in this analysis. Julian Sanchez’s excellent analysis of the patent reform bill at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/03/patent-reform-bill-reintroduced-to-tech-industry-cheers.ars dismantles Shane’s study, noting the fallacies in (1) assuming that any increase in patent damages automatically increases the value of U.S. companies, without accounting for the savings in reduced awards paid by accused infringers, and (2) assuming that a reduction in patent damages will cause a dollar for dollar reduction in the value of U.S. patents (in fact anticipated damages are only one factor in the complex formulas used to value intellectual property).

  3. Breadcrumbs March 7, 2009 11:29 am

    And the spin battles commence…

    last checked, the “anti patent reform group” label belonged NOT to the group of which Scott Shane wrote for (which I believe also include MAPI), but to the group that Jaideep seemingly defends, the oxymoronic Coalition for Patent Fairness.

    At least I have a viewpoint to check out regarding the Shane study. Thanks Jaideep.

  4. Jaideep Venkatesan March 7, 2009 1:15 pm

    Good point, Breadcrumbs. “Anti-patent reform group” is a pejorative that I should not have applied to Innovation Alliance.

  5. anonymous March 7, 2009 8:31 pm

    Oh, c’mon Jaideep, at least be honest – doesn’t everyone know that Innovation Alliance is Pro-Patent and the Coalition for Patent Fairness (which includes HP Marketing Co. – slogan “Where Innovation is Rebadged!”) is Anti-Patent?

    Basically, the CPF would rather be able to copy any design and compete on economies of scale, distribution channels, etc. than have a strong patent system… effectively forfeiting *all* American IP (dag, even Pharma?) for the sake of some immediate shareholder profits… seems like a good way to bring America down to its knees.

    Of course, CPF profits have nothing with promoting progress of Science and the Useful Arts. It’s just a redistribution of wealth and technology away from small companies… and giving away America’s IP to the world – which I guess is important to some.

    There are better solutions to the problems with software and business method patents (which CPF companies are arguably more responsible for than anyone else… have they essentially reaped what they have sown?) than gutting Pharma protection.