House Health Subcommittee Holds Fractious Hearing on Drug Pricing and Patent Protections

By Steve Brachmann
March 12, 2019

“Let’s be honest about the debate here today. If you’re not recognizing that we could have a free market pressure system to contain these costs, then what you’re offering is government-controlled takeover of the pharmaceutical industry in America.’ – Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY)”

On the morning of Thursday, March 7, the House Ways & Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held a hearing titled Promoting Competition to Lower Medicare Drug Prices. The hearing focused a great deal on the effect of patents in the pharmaceutical industry as they relate to pricing. Although some of the Republican membership of the subcommittee pointed out issues with various proposals to limit patent protections for drugmakers, the panel acted largely as a firing squad for patents.

Opening Statements Hint at Party Lines  

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee, spent much of his opening statement chastising the Big Pharma boogeyman, claiming that the industry was “pointing the finger at everyone else in the supply chain” instead of addressing the root problems that had caused the prices for drugs commonly prescribed under the Medicare Part D program to increase at 10 times the rate of inflation. He also said that 74% of pharma patent applications filed over the past 10 years weren’t for new innovative cures but rather to modify existing treatments, a measure meant to increase the period of a drug’s exclusivity which he called “evergreening.” Doggett discussed ending pay-for-delay settlements that could increase competition from generics and touted the Competitive DRUGS Act that he first introduced into the House in October 2017 as a way to prohibit such deals.

Ranking Member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) acknowledged that there were broken incentives in the Medicare program, but he expressed concern that some ideas meant to reduce drug pricing were going too far, especially the confiscation of a drug company’s intellectual property if that company rejects what the government provides as its best offer to pay for the drug under Medicare Part D. “That sort of policy, the seizure of medicines by an unhappy government agent, is best left to socialist regimes, not here in the United States of America,” Nunes said. While 100 members of the majority Democratic party supported this approach, Nunes indicated that House Republicans opposed what he called the “control and confiscate agenda.” While there was no silver bullet to address bad actors in the system, Nunes said that the House could work to get the incentives right without resorting to compulsory licensing.

Pricing Transparency and Patent “Monopolies”

Speaking first on the witness panel was Robin Feldman, Director of the Institute for Innovation Law, UC Hastings School of Law. In her testimony, she argued that the price of Medicare spending for brand name drugs rose 62% between 2011 and 2015, a rise in price rate that was unsustainable for patients. “It’s tough to tell patients in Chicago to pay thousands of dollars for a drug when their cousin in Toronto pays $30,” Feldman said. She decried the lucrative rebates offered by drug companies to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in deals that were kept secret from the public. Feldman also pointed to issues with patents, saying that her research showed that 75% of drugs associated with patents were not new drugs but rather covered a secondary change, such as adjusting a drug’s dosage. She advocated for the closing of tax loopholes that allow companies to deduct the cost of lobbying as well as what she called a “one and done principle,” which would allow a pharmaceutical company to select one period of exclusivity on a drug based on one patent or the drug’s period of test data exclusivity.

Following Feldman was Ameet Sarpatwari, Assistant Director of the Program on Regulation, Therapeutics, and Law, Harvard Medical School. He cited research showing that, between 2011 and 2015, net spending on prescription drugs under Medicare’s Part B and Part D plans, as well as Medicaid spending, increased 156%, 59% and 55% respectively. He also cited an October 2018 survey which found that one-third of respondents decided not to fill a prescription because of cost. Sarpatwari pushed back on the idea that the high price of drugs is necessary to promote future innovation by arguing that pharma companies spend about 20% of their revenue on research and development, less than half the average proportion of revenue spent on marketing and administrative expenses. He advocated for the greater use of value-based drug pricing while also warning against outcomes-based contracting, which offered what he called “illusory savings” based on a refund offered by manufacturers that could be largely symbolic. Sarpatwari thought that enhancing the negotiating power of the public player in a way similar to that of the Veterans Administration (VA) was a way to give Medicare better leverage.

Amy Kapczynski, Co-Director of the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale Law School, was the first to launch with reckless abandon into the fallacy that patents provide a monopoly. This was repeated several times during the hearing by panel witnesses and subcommittee members alike. She also spoke out against lagging pharmaceutical innovation supported by pay-for-delay settlements and the creation of “patent thickets… that will eventually be invalidated as junk but that can give [companies] several more years of monopoly power.” Kapczynski advocated the use of existing law to break patents, noting that it has never been impossible for the U.S. to use a private patent if it provides fair compensation, likening the situation to one in which a railroad is being built but the last land owner who hasn’t sold demands far more than the land is worth.

While there are absolutely issues with high drug prices that can be solved, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum, noted that there were many conditions that made the current situation ripe for increased drug prices. His testimony noted that 60% of American adults had at least one chronic condition and 40% had two or more conditions. The treatment of chronic diseases accounted for 86% of all U.S. healthcare costs as well as 98% of Medicare and 83% of Medicaid costs. He also noted that the way that drug pricing data was viewed has a great impact on the debate since those views can tell vastly different stories. Over the past six years, list prices for drugs have increased between 7% and 13.5%, while net prices only rose between 1.9% and 4.7% and out-of-pocket costs remained flat on average. Holtz-Eakin urged the subcommittee to look at existing policies that were causing some of the pricing issues, such as the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which has resulted in unintended consequences by reducing the number of community physician practices and driving up the cost of care for all services provided at hospitals and other health care facilities. He also echoed Kapczynski’s call to look at abuses in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) program.

Following Holtz-Eakin was Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA, who argued in his testimony that, despite progress on reducing the number of uninsured Americans, health care costs for American families were rising faster than their paychecks. He said that 44 percent of Americans reported not going to see their doctor because they couldn’t afford it and that one-third of Americans weren’t properly taking their prescriptions because of costs. “This is a very, very simple problem,” Isasi said. “Congress created a system that provides a government-granted exclusivity to drugmakers.” (Though informed observers will note that the U.S. Constitution actually provides the basis for patent law.) “Over time, the focus of the industry has shifted from creating innovative drugs that can save lives to doubling-down on high-powered lawyers to help them find loopholes, sue competitors, and generally abuse the spirit in which federal prescription drug laws were written.”

Would a Single Drug Formulary Prohibit Certain Prescriptions?

In his questioning period, Rep. Nunes asked Holtz-Eakin about some of the potential impacts of proposed policy changes, such as a single drug formulary for Medicare Part D patients. He noted that issues regarding a single formulary used in the UK’s healthcare system prevented physicians from prescribing the muscular dystrophy drug Spinraza because it’s too expensive. He asked Holtz-Eakin if it was a real concern that the similar use of a single formulary could prevent seniors on Medicare from obtaining certain prescriptions and Holtz-Eakin said it was. Holtz-Eakin also pushed back on the Trump Administration’s Medicare Part B proposal noting a study released last October by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS study of 27 drugs covered by Medicare Part B showed that the U.S. paid 80% more than other countries did for those drugs but Holtz-Eakin noted that the study didn’t account for the fact that only 11 of those drugs were even available in every country surveyed.

How Could Transparency in Drug Pricing Benefit Consumers?

Greater transparency in deals struck by PBMs was an issue that came up often during the hearing. In his questioning period, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) asked about problems posed by PBMs using direct and indirect remuneration fees in rural and underserved areas. Feldman answered by speaking out against the clawback system used by PBMs to assign a high price to a drug in excess of the acquisition cost of the drug. She said that independent pharmacists were being “mercilessly squeezed” by this system. If there were transparency in the deals being made by PBMs, then the market could “work its magic” in Feldman’s words. Later, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) lauded steps taken by the Nevada state legislature to increase informational disclosures between PBMs and drug manufacturers and questioned why some of this information, including manufacturer rebates, was considered to be proprietary. Feldman, citing her decades of experience in IP law, found it “puzzling” to see companies claim this information as a trade secret and argued that this kind of information ought to be shared by companies who want market approval for their medications.

The positive impact of transparency on consumers was discussed by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) who told the story of one man he met at a town hall meeting in his district who was told that his wife’s MRI would cost $2,200 after he lost his insurance. After the doctor offering the MRI dropped the price to $1,800 if the man paid in cash, he made additional phone calls to shop prices around and ended up procuring the MRI for $400. While Buchanan agreed that more competition would lead to lower prices, he noted that compulsory licensing proposals could wind up with lengthy periods of litigation brought by drug manufacturers, which could take years to determine what constituted reasonable compensation to those companies.

Looking at the Issue of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

The discrepancy between marketing and R&D expenditures by drug companies was a thread picked up by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), who indicated that he was astounded by claims from doctors about their patients demanding a brand-name drug because of television advertisements for that medication. Isasi responded by supporting a proposal made by the Trump Administration to force manufacturers to include drug pricing information in those ads. Later, in a response to a question from Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Feldman noted that pharmaceutical firms can claim a business tax deduction for those ads that may be driving consumers to purchase higher-priced drugs even when cheaper alternatives exist.

Also picking up on the issue of TV ads was Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY), who noted that the U.S. was only one of two countries that allows for direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical firms. Higgins would go on to question whether there was a conspiracy within the pharmaceutical industry to keep drug prices high, citing price-fixing allegations made in recent lawsuits filed by Humana as well as attorneys general from 47 states. He asked the panel the percentage amount by which Medicare drug prices could be reduced with greater leverage from the government and while some witnesses pointed to savings at the VA, Higgins was discouraged by the panel’s response:

“I expected more, to be truthful. You’re all here admonishing us to do more about this issue and you have a certain degree of leverage yourselves as experts in the area. And I’ve read figures that say that under the VA, there’s a 40% discount by using the market leverage of some 30 million beneficiaries. Again, this whole idea of a conspiracy is not something that I’ve brought up, it’s a lawsuit by Humana, it’s joined by 47 attorneys general. There is ample evidence to support this. We need the expertise of your industry to help us help the American people.”

Reed-Blumenauer Spat Shows the Gap Between the Parties

The partisan divide on this debate was perhaps best exemplified by an exchange between Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) about two-thirds of the way through the hearing. While Reed, the father of a son with Type 1 diabetes, had firsthand experience with the drug pricing issue as it relates to insulin, he said that he was optimistic regarding ways to address pricing issues through market pressures created by greater pricing transparency without resorting to the confiscation of intellectual property. In such a system, Reed noted that potential competitors could stay on the sidelines until after the expensive R&D process to develop a new drug was complete and then manipulate a situation created by the government. Blumenauer followed Reed, arguing that the pharmaceutical industry was the furthest you could get from a free market because of the government’s grant of a “monopoly.” He argued that a free market for pharmaceuticals didn’t exist anywhere in the world and told Reed that he rejected his free market premise. That led to the following exchange:

REED: “Then let’s be honest about the debate here today. If you’re not recognizing that we could have a free market pressure system to contain these costs, then what you’re offering is government-controlled takeover of the pharmaceutical industry in America. And that is a fair debate to have. If you want to rely on government control in this area, that is fine. But what I do believe is that we could have market pressure drive these costs down.”

BLUMENAUER: “Reclaiming my time.”

REED: “And I yield back.”

BLUMENAUER: “Reclaiming my time. Poppycock. And I look forward, under the–”

REED: “I appreciate the substance of the debate saying poppycock.” *Laughter*

BLUMENAUER: “Under the leadership of the chair, I think we can dive into this to really ferret it out, Tom, to find out what you think is free market about this, and I’m happy to have that debate with your constituents and mine. But it’s not taking over anything, we’ve already set the rules, we’ve given them a monopoly, we paid for it, we paid for the research, and I think we ought to be able to find something in between there to follow through on the proposals.”

Rep. Doggett Dismayed by the Day’s Proceedings

In his closing statement, Rep. Doggett expressed his dissatisfaction with the tenor of the day’s debate. “I view it as encouraging that there is bipartisan recognition of the serious problems so many Americans are facing with, really, prescription price gouging,” he said. “The question is whether we’ll have any bipartisan agreement on doing anything about it.”

Doggett went on to say that anyone who believes that pharmaceutical companies will yield their “monopoly” power hasn’t been observing the situation with “any level of objectivity.” He pushed back on Republican claims regarding compulsory licensing, noting that the American military had used similar tactics in order to procure patent-protected equipment at favorable rates.

“I would just close by returning to my opening comments that we have a system where the taxpayers fund much of the research, the government grants a monopoly in defiance of the free market and then there is no restraint against price, it’s whatever a sick or dying person will pay for a little more time or a little relief. That system, relying on monopolies the government has approved, is not innovating, is not meeting our needs, and we need to find ways to deal with it. I think it will take more than just tweaking the system in order to solve these problems.” – Rep. Lloyd Doggett

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The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients and is available for research projects and freelance work.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 16 Comments comments.

  1. Pro Say March 12, 2019 7:32 pm

    Thanks Steve — great reporting as usual.

    Hilarious to see so many democrats pushing for a “free market.”

    ‘specially since what some of them are really pushing is . . . socialism.

    A Canadian friend of mine’s father had to leave Canada for an important operation because it was going to take a year to have it done in his own country.

    There are answers / solutions to “too high” drug prices, but ending Constitutional patent protection isn’t one of them; and would in fact result in untold millions of unnecessary, preventable American deaths in the years and decades to follow.

    O/T: More Eligibility comments now posted:

    https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/comments-public/comments-2019-revised-subject-matter-eligibility

    With more still to come …

  2. Dan Hanson March 12, 2019 10:02 pm

    Don’t knock the Canadian healthcare system. It’s not perfect, no system ever is, but the vast majority of Canadians would not trade it for something like the USA.

    Canadians like not having to fill out insurance forms. They like not having to worry about pre-existing conditions. They like eliminating the risk of losing their life savings in the event of a medical emergency. They like having the regulator being a government bureaucracy answerable to the citizens instead of a corporate bureaucracy answerable to private officers and directors.

    Yeah, the taxes are higher than in the States. But Canadians in general are healthier and live longer than their buddies to the south.

    And while we’re talking anecdotes, it is not unusual for US hospitals to send patients to Canada to get needed treatment. And since I came to Canada 12 years ago, I have received prompt and effective care when I’ve needed it, every single time, and have not had to pay any out-of-pocket doctor or specialist or hospital fees.

    Now, getting back to the subject of patents….

  3. Bob Hodges March 13, 2019 8:51 am

    I’m always surprised that no one ever mentions that so-called “evergreening” patents cover a reformulation of a prior drug formulation (now off-patent) that was being prescribed (and marketed) just a couple of years ago as the frontline treatment. Continued prescription and use of the perfectly fine and off-patent drug formulation could put a big dent in the price of the new drug formulation. Doing so would require laws and regulations regarding continued production of the old drug formulation and restricting marketing and advertising that makes it look like only the new drug formulation is worthwhile. Nothing would be needed in the area of patents.

  4. xtian March 13, 2019 8:54 am

    Dan – I don’t see the taxes being higher in Canada. It looks like the CA tax base is just more spread out than the US.

    https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/frequently-asked-questions-individuals/canadian-income-tax-rates-individuals-current-previous-years.html

    Looks like the lowest taxable rate (fed plus province) in CA is 19% for income up to $47K. Their highest rate is 54% (33% fed plus 21% provincial for nova scotia) for income over $210K. It looks like all (emphasis on all) Canadians pay some fed and provincial taxes. Is this correct?

    If we adopted this in the US, then we would have much larger tax receipts to do a “medicare for all” system.

    I just don’t think our political parties would/could ever convince US citizens to broaden the tax base like in CA.

  5. Anon March 13, 2019 10:28 am

    Bob,

    I am not sure of the force in your suggestion (admittedly implied) to force anyone to continue to make something.

    Perhaps “continued production” may be better phrased as governmental support of new production (by perhaps ne entities) of the old materials…

  6. Night Writer March 13, 2019 10:38 am

    @3 bob

    I agree this is a big potential saving and a huge issue.

  7. xtian March 13, 2019 11:22 am

    @bob – “Doing so would require laws and regulations regarding continued production of the old drug formulation and restricting marketing and advertising that makes it look like only the new drug formulation is worthwhile.”

    Unless there is a reason for safety or efficacy, the brand cannot pull the NDA for the old drug formulation. This is known as a “hard switch” and was found to be contrary to antitrust laws.. see State of New York v. Actavis plc. No new laws are needed.

    The rub here is that the term “evergreening” is misused. If the new formulation is such a trivial advancement, Dr.’s won’t prescribe it. Instead, they will stick to the old formulation, which is automatically switched for the generic at lower prices. But what you see in the market is that the new formulation actually adds a benefit to the patient (e.g. BID to QD formulation lessons pill burden on the elderly). So new drug formulation adds value, so Dr.’s proscribe it.

    As a result, no scripts are written for old formulation and so generic sales of old formulation decrease (since generics do not market their drugs) to the point where the generic manufacturers themselves don’t see the value in continued to manufacture the drug.

    Where I see prices should come down is not between brand-generic, but we should be looking at generic-generic pricing and market instances where there is only one manufacturer of the drug on the market, usually a generic.

  8. Paul F. Morgan March 13, 2019 11:30 am

    I strikes me that we may be seeing a change in the balance of major patent law lobbying influencers in Congress. That is, traditionally highly effective pharmaceutical companies now being under bi-partisan Congressional and Presidential attack, while the latest issue of Bloomberg Business Week shows a huge increase in lobbying expenditures by software and social media companies.

  9. Curious March 13, 2019 12:37 pm

    There is a difference between a “free market” and a “fair market.”

    In a free market, paying a generic company not to introduce a drug is OK. However, I wouldn’t necessarily call that a practice conducive to a “fair market” (at least to consumers).

    In a fair market, the government (Medicare) would be free to negotiate with drug companies to get better prices, which is currently prohibited under Federal Law.

    In a free market, noncompetitive practices are acceptable because they are not prohibited.

    I believe that patent protection is absolutely necessary to protect the investments that pharma companies make in developing new drugs. However, when those drugs come off patent, there shouldn’t be mechanisms in place (by the Government and/or in the marketplace) that prevent generics from quickly being brought to market. These mechanisms hamper a fair market.

  10. Anon March 13, 2019 12:44 pm

    Mr. Morgan, your comment bears some additional reflection as to the fundamental results of such lobbying influence.

    Thus, while not disagreeing with you, I am left more than a little “bland” with your comment, as it appears to represent that any such lobby influence is benign.

    Quite the contrary, such is anything BUT benign, and every opportunity should be taken to criticize the malignant “Voice$” that flow from outsized “Citizens United” effects.

  11. Test Case Dave March 13, 2019 1:02 pm

    The patent lobby fears that the gov’t might exercise its rights under 28 USC Section 1498 to manufacture and sell a patented drug, subject only to the requirement that it pay reasonable and entire compensation to the patent holder. But if it did so only in cases involving egregious pricing behavior — and it wouldn’t be that difficult to develop appropriate criteria — drug companies would be forced to think twice before raising prices to obscene levels. The oft-cited threat that such measures would “stifle innovation” might be true, but I tend to doubt it, and the only way to know for sure is to test it in actual practice.

  12. Dan Hanson March 13, 2019 1:09 pm

    xtian # 4: The topic here is patents, but I didn’t want to let it pass that labeling something as “socialist” represents any sort of cogent argument, nor would I let pass any suggestion that the Canadian system is poor on the basis of a lame anecdote.

    But if we want anecdotes, here are a couple to chew on. It is rare for Canadians to face financial ruin because of a medical emergency, but one couple from Saskatchewan did. They faced enormous bills because their medical emergency occurred in the USA, rather than in Canada. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/jennifer-huculak-kimmel-billed-950k-us-after-giving-birth-in-u-s-1.2839319

    And then there was the story of the man from Ohio who accidentally gashed open his own neck in downtown Toronto, and who was quite worried about whether he would get good medical care. The victim was reassured by a bystander that the healthcare system in Canada was a good system. Sure enough, the man got treated and recovered, and the bystander who calmed the victim and reassured him was actor John Malkovich.
    https://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/actor-john-malkovich-helps-save-a-man-s-life-1.1317295

    And now you know the rest of the story.

    As for the tax structure in Canada, it differs from many schemes in the States, in terms of what is taxed, how it is taxed, whether it is exempt, and what deductions are allowed. For example, some states exempt legal fees from sales taxes, but Canada does not. Most people find the overall tax burden in Canada to be higher than in the States.

  13. Bob Hodges March 13, 2019 1:18 pm

    @Night Writer: Yes, and if the new formulation is an improvement that causes docs to prescribe it in favor of the old formulation, the the new formulation is likely an improvement worth patent protection and exclusivity protection for the innovator.

    As we both know, some of the most egregious drug price stories in the last few years were for drugs that are not on patent but with just a single manufacturer (see EpiPen).

  14. EG March 13, 2019 3:25 pm

    “Speaking first on the witness panel was Robin Feldman, Director of the Institute for Innovation Law, UC Hastings School of Law.”

    Sigh. So they pick one of the so-called IP law academics (no technical or science undergraduate degree BTW) who is one of the leaders of the anti-patent mob to testify. Why couldn’t they get someone like Adam Mossoff or perhaps Michael Risch to testify who doesn’t trash patents?

  15. Anon2 March 14, 2019 9:31 am

    Curious @9

    “There is a difference between a “free market” and a “fair market.””

    By what standard? Who decides what constitutes fairness? Who is to be sacrificed to whom? When speaking of the choice between freedom and force, freedom IS what constitutes fairness.

    “In a free market, paying a generic company not to introduce a drug is OK. However, I wouldn’t necessarily call that a practice conducive to a “fair market” (at least to consumers).”

    Perhaps the institutions which are capable of discovering, developing, and producing life saving medicines are not always rational in their voluntary choices… and in the long run Generics would likely flourish more if they were engaged in production rather than accepting payments to be IDLE…. but in any case, fairness is not an issue in a market absent coercion (Govt intervention, fines, jail etc.) and fairness does NOT consist in forcing anyone capable of discovering, developing, and producing life saving medicines to do anything against their will for the benefit of those who are incapable, no matter how many.

    “In a fair market, the government (Medicare) would be free to negotiate with drug companies to get better prices, which is currently prohibited under Federal Law.”

    Yes, in a truly free market, drug companies would be completely free to sell to private individuals, other institutions, through insurance companies, directly to hospitals, or to the government, etc. negotiating with each freely and on a voluntary basis. There would be no prohibitions on any free (i.e. uncoerced) negotiations.

    “In a free market, noncompetitive practices are acceptable because they are not prohibited.”

    In a free market, voluntary and uncoerced practices are engaged in, but that does not guarantee the actors will maximize their earning potential and long term viability. “Noncompetitive practices”, insofar as that term identifies a valid concept, are generally inimical to the flourishing of the organizations because it encourages idleness and a reticence to produce and become competitive.

    “I believe that patent protection is absolutely necessary to protect the investments that pharma companies make in developing new drugs.”

    Patent protection is the protection of rights to the fruits of one’s labor and is a property right which is at the heart of the freedom of the individual to support his/her life and pursue happiness. Rights are not a “means” to goodies like drugs, but form a central part of the “Good” of a free society.

    “However, when those drugs come off patent, there shouldn’t be mechanisms in place (by the Government and/or in the marketplace) that prevent generics from quickly being brought to market. These mechanisms hamper a fair market.”

    Any mechanism by Government which hampers generics from being quickly brought to market should not be in place, as they hamper the freedoms of the Generics to operate in the free market. But the time limited exclusive rights of Patents should be respected, whatever that specific limit happens to be, to make use, or sell… what happens after that is COMPLETELY fair game… in a free and therefore fair market.

  16. Night Writer March 16, 2019 11:09 am

    @14 EG >>>Sigh. So they pick one of the so-called IP law academics (no technical or science undergraduate degree BTW) who is one of the leaders of the anti-patent mob to testify.

    I’d bet it is much worse than that. I’d bet that Robin Feldman is a bought off girl that is making lots of money for being anti-patent.

    Her title should be large-corporate advocate with a purchased university position. (Note she is bound by no ethical constraints in her testimony today.)

    I’ve spent some time going through some of the writings of these so-called “professors” and they are a foul group of people. Their game is to make money by exploiting the credibility that their title confers. Of course, their title should confer no respect.

    Just consider this–if I read a paper by one of these bought-off boys or girls and find unethical conduct, do I have recourse? The answer is no. The law schools don’t care. Even the SCOTUS doesn’t seem to care as evidence by their cite to Lemley’s disgraceful paper on the privy counsel that was referenced by the majority in Oil States and questioned by the dissent as being not accurate. Think about that. The SCOTUS used a paper where the author has no ethical constraints and there is no peer review. And the dissent questioned whether it was correct. And–yet—it was used for a factual finding that was dispositive.

    The whole system is filled with corrupt money grubbing lowlife.