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Posts Tagged: "property rights"

Property Rights and State AGs’ Assault on Remdesivir: A Conservative Perspective

By now, everyone in the IP arena has heard about the demands of more than 30 state and territorial attorneys general (AGs) regarding the promising COVID treatment remdesivir. These AGs seem to disrespect the exclusive rights of limited duration that patents afford. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) led a bipartisan effort getting colleagues to write the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and call for what’s tantamount to eminent domain on intellectual property. To a conservative who works on IP matters, this demand in and of itself is troubling. Bedrock conservative principles include property rights, free enterprise and the rule of law. The AGs advocate government’s abrogation of all three of these foundational principles.

‘Unalienable Rights’: Understanding America’s Growing Disdain for Physical and Intangible Property

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” reads the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, a document authored by Thomas Jefferson, edited by Benjamin Franklin, and signed by some 56 Congressional delegates. Over the weekend, we celebrated the 244th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and in light of everything that has happened over the second quarter of 2020 it is perhaps a good time to reflect. So much of the second quarter of 2020 has been defined by two major events— the unnecessary and unacceptable killing of George Floyd and COVID-19. In the coming weeks and months there will be much written and debated by experts in the field of social justice, police reform and government relating to just about every aspect of the events relating to the death of Mr. Floyd. As those conversations ensue, and reforms are brought to bear, as more fully explained below, America should also take this opportunity to have a broader conversation about private property rights— real, personal and intangible.

Legislation Introduced in House to Repeal the PTAB and the AIA

There are 13 sections to Massie’s bill, many of which are geared towards the abolition of various statutes of the AIA. Perhaps the most salient portion of the proposed bill are sections regarding the abolishment of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) as well as the elimination of both inter partes review (IPR) and post-grant review (PGR) proceedings currently conducted by the PTAB. As the bill states, both IPR and PGR proceedings “have harmed the progress of science and the useful arts by subjecting inventors to serial challenges to patents.” The bill also recognizes that those proceedings have been invalidating patents at an unreasonably high rate and that patent rights should adjudicated in a judicial proceeding and not in the unfair adjudication proceedings which occur within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Ex parte reexamination proceedings would be preserved by this bill as well.

The Supreme Court is wrong, a patent is not a franchise

The word franchise is defined as an authorization granted by a government or company to an individual or group enabling them to carry out specified commercial activities… A patent is an exclusive right by nature. A patent does not give anyone the right to do anything other than to exclude someone else from doing something… So how then can a patent be a grant from the government to carry out specified commercial activities? That is simply not what a patent is, it is not what the statute says, it is not the grant provided to the patentee. To put it point blank, the Supreme Court has fundamentally altered the nature of the patent grant without reason or authority.

Why is the Trump DOJ arguing patents are a public right?

It is no surprise to anyone that patent rights in the United States suffered enormously under the two terms served in the White House by President Barack Obama. That the Obama White House was uncomfortably close with Google is widely known, and Google has been the face and driving force of the lobby that supports weakening patent rights in America. What is far less clear, and extremely difficult to explain or understand, is why the Department of Justice continues to make arguments against patents. Indeed, in the DOJ brief filed in Oil States v. Greene’s Energy, the Solicitor General argues repeatedly throughout the brief that patents are not private property, but rather are a public right… At the very beginning of the brief filed by the DOJ in Oil States, in the Summary of the Argument, the DOJ stakes its claim and beings by arguing that patents are a public right (not private property) that is akin to a government-conferred franchise.

Why is PTAB spending precious resources killing good patents?

Patents that have withstood scrutiny in Article III federal courts are not bad patents, they are good patents, and they ought not to be struck down by an Article I administrative tribunal. The procedures of the AIA are working in a way to subjugate Article III federal courts to the arbitrary, capricious and egregiously overactive whims of an administrative tribunal in search of work to satisfy the several hundred newly hired “judges.”… Why is the PTAB spending precious resources re-litigating and ultimately killing good patents? The PTAB was created by Congress to review dubious patents and revoke bad patents. So why is the PTAB diverting its attention and re-litigating issues already addressed by federal judges and juries? Is it really likely that claims confirmed valid in federal court are invalid? In any rational world it would be per se unlikely that patent claims previously adjudicated as valid in federal court are invalid.

Conservative Thinking on the Critical Issues in Oil States

The Oil States v. Greene’s Energy Group case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 27, 2017, has generated much ink, analysis and opinion. Rightly so, given the profound consequences for the security of exclusive private property rights of limited duration in patents. Among the worthy and constructive reflections, conservative experts and leaders have contributed a fair share… Heritage Foundation legal scholar Alden Abbott, whose background includes service at the Federal Trade Commission and as a senior corporate IP counsel, has summed up the shortcomings of PTAB “patent death squads.” Abbott suggests how the Supreme Court should rule in Oil States: “The best option to fix the Patent Trial and Appeals Board is to get rid of it. There is a powerful legal case that board review violates the U.S. Constitution, and therefore is invalid.”

An Interesting Year on the Horizon: What to Watch in 2018

The issues I will be watching in 2018 other than Oil States are as follows: (1) What does the new Director of the USPTO do with respect to reforming the PTAB? (2) Will the USPTO adopt a code of judicial ethics for PTAB judges? (3) Will the U.S. drop out of the top 10 countries for patent protection in the annual U.S. Chamber IP Index? (4) How will the Federal Circuit resolve Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity and the assertion of sovereign immunity by Indian Tribes? (5) Will the Federal Circuit continue its unprecedented disposition of cases without an opinion by relying on Rule 36 summary affirmance? (6) Will Conservative groups become even more vocal advocates of a strong patent system?

Misrepresentations in Service to Efficient Infringer Lobby

The world of intellectual property law has been abuzz in recent months leading up to oral arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, a case which will determine whether the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) operates in violation of both Article III of the U.S. Constitution and…

Predicting Oil States after Supreme Court Oral Arguments

After oral arguments were held on Monday, November 27, 2017, I again asked a number of industry insiders what thoughts and predictions they now have after having the benefit of hearing the Q&A that took place between the Justices and the attorneys representing the petitioner, respondent and federal government. Their answers follow, and show that there is little agreement among those watching this case with respect to what the likely outcome will be.

Open Letter from Conservatives: What’s at stake in Oil States v. Greene’s Energy Group

If wrongly decided, Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group may be the next Kelo v. City of New London decision. At bottom, the case will decide whether patent rights – which are enshrined in our Constitution – are fundamental private property rights, or something less. If the Court adopts the latter perspective, it would radically change the American view of property rights and endanger an innovation edge enjoyed by American companies and consumers alike… Conservatives must be vigilant about the importance of the Oil States case and understand what is at stake. We do not want to wake up on the morning after this decision and find, just as we did after the Kelo decision, that more of our property rights are slipping away. The Supreme Court must uphold our constitutional patent rights and end the administrative usurpation of this judicial responsibility. Our constitutional principles, and the future of American innovation, depend on it.

Law Professors File Briefs with the Supreme Court in Oil States

A review of amici briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC provides evidence of a stark split in how various stakeholders in the U.S. patent system view the patent validity challenge activities ongoing at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Whereas many of the world’s largest tech companies who have a dominant advantage in the consumer marketplace are in favor of the PTAB remaining active, many small entities and individual inventors are greatly opposed to the PTAB and its differing standards on patent validity leading to a higher rate of invalidation than in Article III district court proceedings. A look at amici briefs coming from law professors can shed some light on where the academic sector comes down on the subject of the PTAB’s constitutionality.

The Constitutional Underpinnings of Patent Law

The United States Constitution grants to the Congress the power to grant patents. The relevant portion of the Constitution is Article I, Section 8, clause 8. This clause uses of the word “Right” and is the only place in the Constitution the Founding Fathers actually used the word “Right.” Yet today the Supreme Court is poised to determine whether this most fundamental of all rights, a right deemed so important that it was the only right specifically mentioned in the Constitution itself, is a private right or a public right that can be stripped with proceeding in an Article III federal court.

McCormick and the Separation of Powers Constraints of Patent Invalidation

The argument that patents are private rights is supported by over two centuries of jurisprudence. Patent rights derive from Article I, section 8, clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which empowers Congress to promote progress by creating laws involving patents and copyrights. The patent bargain exchanges disclosure of new and useful inventions for a limited term exclusive right. The public benefits from the patent bargain in two ways. First, the disclosure enables others to build on the invention. Second, after a twenty year period, the public receives the benefits of the invention for free as the rights flow to the public domain. The patent bargain stimulates incentives to invent, to invest in innovation and to take ex ante risks.

The Classical Public Rights Doctrine: Growth of the Administrative State

The Crowell Court distinguishes between matters of common law adjudicated in the federal courts and matters that may be reviewed in administrative agencies. However, the Court is concerned mainly with the maintenance of due process in administrative tribunals… The Crowell Court is thus concerned about the “essential demands of due process” and the limits of federal government authority. Enabling administrative tribunals to act merely as finders of fact, within the bounds of due process, and allowing for their findings to be reviewed in Article III courts, the issue of separation of powers is prominent in the preservation of the independence of the judiciary.