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Posts Tagged: "Congressman Conyers"

House IP Subcommittee holds yet another one-sided hearing on bad patents and patent trolls

House IP subcommittee chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) led off the hearing by discussing the large number of interests who are often on Capitol Hill to discuss their issues with “patent trolls,” including the “genius ones” which have only been developed in recent years. Despite the intent of the America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011 to weed bad patents out of the system, “patent trolls” remain active. Issa felt there were a few reasons for this, including the fact that such entities make money and that good patents could still be used to assert unreasonable claims. “Why innovate when it’s far easier and more profitable to simply purchase a patent, acquire one, acquire the rights to a patent, perhaps one that has never been licensed, bully businesses into writing a check, go away without ever seriously litigating,” Issa said. He said that 80 percent of “patent troll” litigation focuses on small business. “Simply put, we should not confuse ‘Making America Great Again’ with ‘Making American Patent Trolls Richer Again,’” Issa said. Although Issa was pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on patent venue in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, he recoiled at what he felt was an “overreach” by Judge Rodney Gilstrap from the Eastern District of Texas (E.D. Tex.); Issa felt that Gilstrap misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland by denying a motion to transfer venue from E.D. Tex. in Raytheon v. Cray. “It is, in fact, an act that I find reprehensible by that judge,” Issa said.

House IP subcommittee looks for further ways to curb patent trolls after TC Heartland decision

The day’s hearing focused on the patent troll narrative despite the lack of a substantive connection between that narrative and the TC Heartland case… Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House IP subcommittee, started his remarks by asking to what degree the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland fixed a decade-old problem. Noting that new lawsuits have hit consumer electronics giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the Eastern District of Texas (E.D. Tex.), Issa went on to say that “patent trolls, in my opinion, are the scourge of the patent world. We have time and time again attempted to stop patent trolls while in fact being objected to by genuine innovators who feel that they will be trampled in our effort to stop the worst of the worst.” Issa also opined that the TC Heartland decision now likely makes businesses of all kinds avoid the jurisdiction of E.D. Tex. “Why set up shop in Eastern Texas if it creates venue for patent infringement,” he said.

Congress seeks to make Register of Copyrights a Presidential Appointment

H.R. 1695 would amend 17 U.S.C. 701. Currently, the Register of Copyrights is appointed by the Librarian of Congress, and acts under the Librarian’s direction and supervision. That would change if and when H.R. 1695 becomes the law of the land. The substantive change would add the following sentence: “The Register of Copyrights shall be a citizen of the United States with a professional background and experience in copyright law and shall be appointed by the President from the individuals recommended under paragraph (6), by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

House Subcommittee on Courts and IP holds hearing on PACER system, cameras in the courtroom

The subcommittee convened a hearing to discuss issues of judicial transparency and ethics which affect the system of U.S. federal courts. Republican members of the subcommittee mainly focused on ways of making the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system and a wide array of court proceedings more available to the public… Perhaps the most contentious was Osterreicher’s support for increased electronic communications, especially where it involved cameras in the courtroom… Aside from privacy, some Members were concerned that introducing cameras into the courtroom would encourage grandstanding and playing to the camera.

Review the Rule Act would delay SCOTUS proposed changes to Rule 41 on warrants for electronic searches

The Review the Rule Act of 2016 was introduced into the U.S. Senate by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), which would delay amendments to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 set to go into effect on December 1st… The proposed changes to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41, which governs the process for legal searches and seizures of criminal evidence, contraband and criminal suspects, were proposed to both houses of Congress this April by the U.S. Supreme Court in a letter to both houses of Congress from Chief Justice John Roberts. The changes to Rule 41 would give a magistrate judge in a district where activities related to a crime may have occurred the authority to issue a warrant to remotely access electronic storage media to copy electronic records even if the electronic storage media may be outside of the judge’s district.

Innovation Act delayed in House amid bipartisan bicameral disapproval

Members of both major American political parties from both the Senate and the House of Representatives came together at a press conference held on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 14th, to oppose the most recent round of proposed patent reform bills in either chamber of Congress. Meanwhile, rumors are swirling that suggest that the Innovation Act (H.R. 9) has been tabled for the rest of the summer in the House of Representatives.

House Judiciary approves Innovation Act despite clear lack of consensus

Dissent among members of Congress on the nature of the Innovation Act was evident from the opening remarks of the committee’s two ranking members. Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the House Judiciary Committee Chairman and the Innovation Act’s major sponsor, stated that the Innovation Act would “ensure that the patent system lives up to its constitutional underpinnings” while targeting the abusive patent litigation which has been central to the debate on patent trolls. The ranking Democratic member of the committee, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), said the bill was overly broad and yet it didn’t adequately address issues significant to this debate, including abusive demand letters and the ending of fee diversions from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s budget.

Patent Reform 101: A comparison of current fee-shifting language

Goodlatte was incredulous, explaining that he sees no substantive difference between the language in the Innovation Act and the language in the PATENT Act. The difference between the House bill and the Senate bill boils down to the presumptions made and who will wind up bearing the burden of proof. Congressman Goodlatte is sophisticated and knowledgeable. Surely he has to understand both that there is a difference and that the difference is meaningful.

Strict venue provisions for patent litigation added to Innovation Act

Issa’s amendment changes the language so that a party bringing a patent infringement suit where the defendant has its principle place of business, where the defendant has a physical presence, or where the patent owner has a meaningful physical presence due to research and development or manufacturing. At first glance these venue provisions seem reasonable because they would curtail the extreme forum shopping that does go on in patent cases, as witnessed in the Eastern District of Texas. On closer consideration, however, this provision could create problems for those patent owners who are not bad actors that seek to abuse the system or take advantage by only filing in favorable, remote forums.

Amendment to extend CBM defeated in House Judiciary Committee

One of the issues that took up a significant amount of time during the first half of the hearing was the proposed extension of the transitional program covered business method review. The amendment submitted by Congressman Issa (R-CA) sought to extend CBM by pushing back the sunset period until December 31, 2026. The Issa amendment to extend CBM was defeated by a vote of 18-13.

Patent Reform 101 – A Primer on Pending Patent Legislation

Patent reform is the new normal and we can expect that it will continually be raised in every new Congress for the foreseeable future. Currently there are four serious proposals for patent reform in various stages of consideration in Congress. They are: (1) The Innovation Act; (2) The TROL Act; (3) the STRONG Patents Act; and (4) the PATENT Act. There is also another bill – the Innovation Protection Act – that likely has no chance of passing but which is eminently reasonable. A summary of each of these five bills follows, along with one thing to watch for which could completely upset all predictions.

House Bill Seeks to End Diversion of Fees from the USPTO

The Innovation Protection Act, one of the lesser known patent bills percolating in Congress over the past few years, would provide a source of permanent funding for the USPTO. The fees the USPTO collects would remain available to the USPTO until expended. This common sense idea has been floated for years, but it never seems to go anywhere. Appropriators have been unwilling to commit to allowing the USPTO to keep user fees, diverting $1 billion worth of collected fees from the USPTO according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association. This may not seem like much but is a lot of money, but for an agency the size of the USPTO it is a lot of money.

House Judiciary Committee Questions PTO Director Lee on Innovation Act

There were statements recognizing the need to keep open legitimate avenues to for innovators to protect themselves against infringement, and a strong desire to make sure that legislation focus on bad actions and actors. Not surprisingly, the Committee seems to largely think that the Innovation Act does strike the proper balance, although there was also recognition that changes could be made to make the bill better. USPTO Director Michelle Lee was wholeheartedly in support of fee shifting, justifying the position by saying that fault based fee-shifting will raise the costs for those who engage in abusive actions.

Courts Award Attorneys’ Fees on 50% of Motions Post Octane

The data establishes that motions for attorney’s fees under section 285 after Octane were granted at a rate almost three times as high as in the year preceding Octane. In addition, the data establishes — contrary to the witness’s testimony — that 50% of motions for fees under section 285 filed by accused infringers were granted between January 1, 2015, and March 31, 2015. In contrast, in the 12 months preceding Octane, only 13% of such motions were granted.

Prominent Independent Inventors Unhappy with Innovation Act

“Notably, the concerns of key inventor stakeholders like us – principally small companies that create the fundamental inventions that drive our innovation economy – have not yet been evaluated in depth. Historically, the vast majority of legitimate patent holders have honorably sought the fruits of their labor through patent rights promoted by the Constitution and secured by Congress, by licensing when possible and litigating when necessary. Our nation and, indeed, our planet have benefitted enormously as a result of the identification and disclosure of these discoveries through the U.S. patent system. Legitimate inventors and patent holders should not be confused with, or punished as a result of, a small minority of bad actors who create shell entities that send mass demand letters for the purpose of seeking money under the threat of unjustifiable litigation.”