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Posts Tagged: "Senator Tom Coburn"

Patent Abuse or Genius? Is Kyle Bass Abusing the Patent System?

Time and time again throughout the legislative history post grant proceedings were explained as being a faster, low-cost alternative to litigating validity disputes in Federal District Court. That being the case, it would seem extremely odd that any petitioner could bring a post grant challenge to a patent when that petitioner would not have standing to sue to invalidate the patent in Federal District Court. However, the statute does say that a person other than the patent owner can file a petition to institute an inter partes review.

Sequestration Politics Places USPTO Satellite Offices on Hold

With sequestration finally cutting the Republicans don’t seem to be in any rush whatsoever, so the Patent Office which really should be exempt is caught in the cross hairs. Although it is easy to point at Congressman Wolf, a Republican, and say the Republicans are to blame, that would be a mistake. Senator Coburn (R-OK) is a Republican and he fought to fully and fairly fund the USPTO. Furthermore, the reason the USPTO is bound by sequestration is thanks to the interpretation of the Office of Management and Budget. OMB is a part of the Executive Branch, so the President is in no way blameless. He has no trouble ignoring Congress when it suites him (i.e., the health care employer mandate delay) but when an argument could logically be made that the USPTO is not covered by sequestration no such argument was made. Thus, this is less a political issue than it is really bad kabuki theater.

Call to Action: Super Committee Addressing USPTO Funding

There has to be some patent attorneys living in the portions of Montgomery and Prince George Counties represented by Congressman Van Hollen. There has to be some patent law firms in Dallas with ties to Congressman Hensarling and/or the 5th District of Texas. I know for sure there are patent attorneys in Ohio, Arizona, Massachusetts and Washington. These are the folks who are tasked with the burden of finding $1.2 trillion to submit to Congress for a vote, and stakeholders in the patent system should reach out to them and express their views on funding for the Patent Office. Businesses, firms and individuals within the relevant Districts and States will likely have the most influence, but anyone and everyone should stand up and be heard. Who knows when, or if, there will ever be an opportunity as good as this to end fee diversion.

Super Committee Considering an End to USPTO Fee Diversion

As the Super Committee struggles to find nearly $1.2 trillion in revenue or savings, they should take a serious look at the proposal to give the US Patent and Trademark Office greater control over its budget and fees by creating a revolving fund. At the request of many in the patent community, Senator Jon Kyl – a member of the Super Committee – is proposing that the Super Committee include the revolving fund The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has informally indicated that it will score the Kyl provision as saving $700 million over 10 years. By taking the USPTO out of the regular appropriations process, the creation of a revolving fund will take approximately $700 million off budget and help the Super Committee reach their goal. And –besides being a budget saver – the revolving fund is good policy.

The America Invents Act – How it All Went Down

On Friday, September 16, 2011, President Obama signed into law “The America Invents Act” (“AIA”) which passed the Senate on September 8, 2011, by a vote of 89-9. The AIA passed the House of Representatives on June 23rd by a vote of 304-117. The measure, which is the product of a seven-years-long legislative battle among patent policy stakeholders, changes how patents are obtained and enforced in the United States. Important reforms to patent law are incorporated into the AIA and, just as significantly, several controversial proposed changes were deleted from the AIA before final passage. This article is a play-by-play of the process and how it unfolded.

Senate Votes 89-9 to Pass Patent Reform, No End to Fee Diversion

It looks like my prediction on Tuesday that the Senate would pass H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, prior to President Obama’s much anticipated jobs and economy speech that begins at 7:00pm ET today, Thursday, September 8, 2011. The Senate voted to pass H.R. 1249 and send the House version of the America Invents Act to the White House for President Obama’s signature by a vote of 89 to 9. The Coburn Amendment, which would have once and for all put an end to fee diversion, was unsuccessful, being tabled by a vote of 50 to 48.

Patent Reform Back to Senate After Labor Day

Cloture is the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes. Without 60 votes cloture fails and debate continues. Unfortunately for those who would like to see patent reform derailed, the fact that there was unanimous consent in the Senate for a cloture vote almost certainly suggests that there will be at least 60 votes to end debate on H.R. 1249, which will bring it to a vote, likely sometime later in the week of September 6.

Patent Reform Stalled in the Senate Thanks to Debt Ceiling

That being the case it seems likely to me that patent reform won’t be picked up in the Senate until after Labor Day in September. What does this mean for patent reform? Who knows! I personally cannot see the Senate capitulating to the demands of the House of Representatives, and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has already fired a shot across the bow prior to the House voting on H.R. 1249 suggesting he plans to make a big deal about USPTO funding, which was stripped from H.R. 1249. If the Senate does not accept H.R. 1249 and instead modifies the bill that would mean it would have to go back to the House. We might get into a game of ping-pong because I am told there will be no Conference on this legislation.

Patent Reform: House Passes America Invents Act 304-117

United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 1249, which is known as the America Invents Act by a vote of 304-117. This bill differs from the Senate version of patent reform, S. 23, so there will be no bill going to the desk of President Obama just yet. There are important differences between the two bills, chief among them is funding for the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

U.S. Patent Office Pays More Taxes Than General Electric

General Electric was not the only large U.S. corporation not to pay taxes. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, General Electric had some company. In fact, American Electric Power, Dupont, Verizon, Boeing, Wells Fargo, FedEx and Honeywell all had tax rates between -0.7 percent and -9.2 percent for the stretch between 2008 to 2010. On the other hand, the United States Patent and Trademark Office continues to have user funds siphoned off, making the USPTO a much larger taxpayer than the largest U.S. corporations.

Top 10 Reasons Republicans Might Oppose the Patent Office

Given that House Republicans seem to fear an adequately funded Patent Office I got to thinking — What could they be afraid of? With that in mind, here are the top 10 things that House Republicans must be afraid of as they seek to oppose an adequately funded Patent Office. Can you hear the black helicopter squad swirling overhead, conspiracy theories in hand?

Patent Reform: The Senate Makes Its Move

With a powerful vote of 87 to 3 on a motion to bring debate to a close, the Senate is on the cusp of passing comprehensive patent reform legislation. S.23, “The America Invents Act,” is expected to pass with a strong vote as early as Wednesday of this week. In the end, the full House and Senate will need to pass the same version of any patent reform bill before it can become law. Assuming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Smith passes a bill of note through the House; the House and Senate bills will need to be reconciled. While civics books teach that the differences in the bills will be resolved via a formal Conference Committee, the Senate and House have not conferenced on a Judiciary Committee bill since 2005. A formal conference for patent reform is considered very unlikely.

Senate to Vote on Patent Reform, First to File Fight Looms

The Senate will take up patent reform on Monday, February 28, 2011, the first day back. Some are even anticipating that the Senate will vote on patent reform bill S. 23 late in the day on Monday, February 28, 2011. As we get closer to a vote in the Senate the rhetoric of those for and against is heating up to a fever pitch. The fight, once again, is over first to file, with battle lines drawn that run extremely deep. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is expected to file an Amendment stripping the first to file provisions, which could be supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Crunch Time: Call Your Senators on Patent Reform

It’s crunch time.  The Patent Reform Act of 2011 is scheduled for an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor this Monday, Feb. 28.  It’s time for all intellectual property professionals to look carefully at the Patent Reform Act, and decide: is this bill good for American innovation or bad? I am convinced that it is bad. This bill (and its…

Coburn Amendment: End to Fee Diversion in Senate Bill

The Coburn Amendment would create a specialized fund within the Department of Treasury known as the ‘‘United States Patent and Trademark Office Public Enterprise Fund.” The PTO Director would have access to monies in the Fund for expenses ordinarily and reasonably necessary for running the Office. Perhaps most importantly, the Fund could grow so monies in the Fund could be accessed by the Director without fiscal year limitation. This could allow the Fund to grow in certain years to a critical mass that may be needed for capital expenditures. This is a brilliant idea and one that the industry needs to get behind wholeheartedly.