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Posts Tagged: "House Judiciary Committee"

House Judiciary Committee Steps into Copyright Reform Debate

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing titled “Copyright and the Internet in 2020: Reactions to the Copyright Office’s Report on the Efficacy of 17 U.S.C. § 512 After Two Decades.” House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) began by explaining that the purpose of the hearing was to examine whether Section 512, a key provision of copyright law that guides how copyright and parts of the internet interact with each other, has fared well in today’s digital age. Six witnesses at the hearing presented the Committee with their views on the Copyright Office’s report and recommendations, and the majority concluded that Section 512 is out of balance. The topic is one that the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Intellectual Property has been examining all year.

Pinning False Blame of Lack of Enablement In Issued Patents On the USPTO

Last week, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, held an oversight hearing on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with Director Andre Iancu as the sole witness. A particular inquiry from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) regarding the USPTO’s allegedly lax examination quality under 35 U.S.C. § 112 caught my attention. She remarked [at 1:33:30]:  “Theranos, the blood testing company whose founder is being investigated for fraud, was granted nearly 100 patents based on an invention that didn’t work; and it concerns me that a patent application for an invention that doesn’t work gets approved.”  She generally questioned examiners’ attention to Section 112 requirements. Rep. Lofgren’s statement was no doubt primed by information from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in the Ars Technica blog post titled “Theranos: How a broken patent system sustained its decade-long deception.” In this article, the author, who was introduced as holding the “Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents” at EFF, declares with no evidence or proof, that the “USPTO generally does a terrible job of ensuring that applications meet the utility and enablement standards.” The article cited no study, identified no patent, nor any claim to any “invention that didn’t work.” This outrageous, baseless allegation is outright reckless and irresponsible.

Capitol Hill Roundup for the Week of December 3, 2018

This week on Capitol Hill, the Senate appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on efforts leading to advanced nuclear reactor technology while the Senate rules committee will consider a bill that would amend the nomination process and the required qualifications for the Register of Copyrights. Over in the House of Representatives, hearings on artificial intelligence applications for national defense, Google’s data collection practices and a recently passed bill for bridging the digital divide will also take place this week.

Lofgren Supported Eliminating BRI Before She Was Against It

Congresswoman Lofgren seems quick to forget that she was one of the original co-sponsors of the Innovation Act when it was introduced into the House back in February 2015. Had the Innovation Act passed, it would have required patents challenged in IPR proceedings to be construed in the exact same manner that a district court would have required in a civil action to invalidate the patent. So, it seems Lofgren was for the Phillips standard and eliminating BRI before she was against it.

Lofgren, Issa Denounce Proposed PTAB Claim Construction Changes in Oversight Hearing

found it disturbing that the Director Iancu would circumvent the prerogative of Congress with recently announced proposed PTAB claim construction changes, though she admitted the decision wasn’t unlawful. She expounded for several minutes on issues of res judicata, which could tie the hands of the PTAB in light of district court or U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) decisions regarding patent validity. “[This] would completely blow up what we were trying to do as a Congress,” Lofgren said. “It looks to me that the people who disagreed with [the AIA] and lost in the Congress, they went to the Supreme Court, they lost in the Supreme Court, and now they’re going to you, and you are reversing what the Congress decided to do and what the Court said was permissible to do.”

Iancu: ‘It is unclear what is patentable and what is not, and that can depress innovation’

Earlier today USPTO Director Andrei Iancu testified at an Oversight Hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. In addition to detailing forthcoming changes to post grant proceedings, Director Iancu fielded many questions on patent eligibility. “The issue is very significant. It is significant to the Office, to our applicants, and it is significant to the entire industry,” Iancu responded to Congressman Collins. “In some areas of technology, it is unclear what is patentable and what is not, and that can depress innovation in those particular areas. Our plan at the PTO is to work within Supreme Court jurisprudence to try and provide better guidelines. What we think is in and what we think is out, and provide, hopefully, forward looking guidance that helps examiners and the public understand what at least from the PTO’s point of view we think is right.”

Patent Trolls, Superpredators and Deplorables: The Ramifications of Political Bullying

This damaging narrative, which portrays inventors in an incredibly disrespectful way, has been allowed to infect the highest levels of our nation’s government… Aside from the specific classes being targeted by these different monikers, it would seem that the use of the term “patent troll” is not much different than the use of the terms “superpredators” or “deplorables.” Each of them is a gross over-generalization of groups of people that have turned out to be incredibly demeaning and evidence a great misunderstanding of certain political realities. Many Americans are right to be outraged over the long-term effects of harsh law enforcement policies on underprivileged communities. Will they show any similar outrage over the steep decline of the U.S. patent system and our nation’s innovation economy directly attributable to the use of the “patent troll” narrative?

The Music Modernization Act is Introduced Into U.S. House, Would Create Blanket Licenses for Streaming Music Services

a bipartisan group of Representatives serving on the House Judiciary Committee introduced the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447) into the U.S. House of Representatives. Along with broad political support, the Music Modernization Act reportedly has wide support among both song creators and distribution platforms within the industry. The bill, which would enact the largest changes to U.S. music copyright law in 20 years if passed, also incorporates elements of other music copyright laws which have been introduced but failed to pass in recent years.

Patent Reform Advocate, Congressman Darrell Issa, Will Not Seek Re-election

Earlier today Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), announced that he will not seek re-election in 2018 and will retire from Congress. Issa, who currently Chairs the House’s Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet has been an outspoken advocate for the need for more patent reform… If Republicans hold on to a majority in the House it seems likely that Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) will take over as Chair of the House IP Subcommittee. Collins, an ally to inventors and creators, is currently Vice-Chair of the House IP Subcommittee. If Collins is granted the gavel that would be good news for patent owners and those generally supportive of strong intellectual property rights.

What is on the Horizon for Patent Owners in 2018?

One of the questions that gets asked this time of year, when the world is busy flipping the calendar from one year to the next, is “What are you looking forward to in the new year?” For patent owners operating in the U.S., however, it may be better to ask, “What are you looking ahead to in 2018?” Looking forward would seem to denote a sense of optimism and such optimism has been in short supply among those in the tech space who don’t have the deep wallets to withstand the costs of pursuing infringers, including those costs incurred by the efficient infringer cartel’s use of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte Announces Retirement

Earlier today Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who has been Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and a strong proponent for patent reform, announced that he would be leaving Congress at the end of his current term and not standing for reelection in 2018… With Goodlatte exiting the fate of further patent reform efforts in the House will largely depend upon who ultimately is tapped to wield the Chair’s gavel. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) can be expected to make an internal push for the gavel.

Do You Know How to Protect What’s Yours?

In the wake of recent judicial and legislative developments, protecting “what’s yours” has become even more complex. Many businesses and intellectual property lawyers have appropriately favored a strategy focused on obtaining patents when available to protect intellectual assets. However, in recent years there have been unprecedented changes to the American patent system… Developments in patent law have caused owners of intellectual capital to evaluate all available means for its protection including considering when appropriate the protection of innovations as trade secrets.

Issa seems to believe patents are an entitlement, not a property right

For the first 220 years of United States black letter law and precedent based directly on the U.S. Constitution, patents are property rights. Even the Republican Party Platform states that patents are property rights. Issa disagrees with all of that. Issa seems to believe that patents are instead some sort of public entitlement like food stamps as is evident in his bill, the America Invents Act, and his continuing actions even last week. Issa’s hypocrisy is so blatant, so obvious and so up front that I’m not sure he even understands what he just said, which is a very dangerous problem. So long as Darrell Issa remains in key lawmaking position in the Republican leadership in Congress, venture capital, patenting, new technologies, startups and jobs will continue to flee from the U.S. to China.

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.”

Goodlatte pledges to pursue patent litigation reform, copyright reform in 115th Congress

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) holds the Chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee, and as such will wield a great deal of power over any intellectual property related legislative reforms that will occur during the 115th Congress. Earlier today Goodlatte unveiled his agenda for the 115th Congress. Not surprisingly, a portion of his agenda includes additional patent litigation reform in order to address what he characterizes as “truly frivolous lawsuits,” as well as reforms to keep America’s patent laws up to date and copyright reforms to help ensure “America’s global leadership in creativity and innovation continues.”