Posts Tagged: "Senator Dick Durbin"

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: E-Commerce Platforms Have Curbed Infringement, But Counterfeits and Safety Problems Persist

The full Senate Judiciary Committee convened today for a hearing titled, “Cleaning Up Online Marketplaces: Protecting Against Stolen, Counterfeit, and Unsafe Goods,” in which witnesses explained the continuing challenges of policing stolen and counterfeit products in online marketplaces. The panelists included small business owners, internet platform advocates, academics and retail store representatives.

Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Legislation to Reduce Drug Prices, Rein in Pharma Industry Practices

Earlier today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an Executive Business Meeting in which the Committee discussed and favorably reported four bills aimed at reducing prescription drug prices for consumers and curbing perceived abuses of the patent system by brand pharmaceutical companies. The bills would do so by increasing the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) authority to initiate enforcement actions against drug companies. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, opened the meeting with an explanation of the need for the bills. He said that nearly 40% of U.S. patients struggle to pay for medication. The world’s best-selling drug, Humira, brought in $16 billion in sales in 2019 and Humira manufacturer, AbbVie, has obtained 130 patents on the drug, with 90% filed after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

The Federal Circuit is Shirking Its Constitutional Duty to Provide Certainty for Critical Innovation

Here we go again! Another patent whose claims have been invalidated at the Federal Circuit—predictably, another medical diagnostic patent. Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo Collaborative (Fed. Cir. Feb. 6, 2019). This is getting old, tired and fundamentally ridiculous. The statute, which is all of one-sentence long, specifically lists discoveries as patent eligible. So why are discoveries being declared patent ineligible? To the extent these decisions are mandated by the Supreme Court, they directly contradict the easy to understand and very direct language of the statute. The Federal Circuit is wrong, period. Perhaps they are so close to these cases and trying so hard to do what they think is right that they have lost perspective, but these rulings are fundamentally saying that discoveries are not patent eligible. We are told repeatedly that they are mandated by Supreme Court precedent. Obviously, that cannot be correct. The statute says: “Whoever invents or discovers… may obtain a patent…” Clearly, Congress wants discoveries to be patented, and in our system of governance, Congress has supremacy over the Supreme Court with respect to setting the law unless the law is unconstitutional. 35 U.S.C. 101 has never been declared unconstitutional, so discoveries must be patent eligible, period. It is time to face the facts—the Supreme Court has considered only bad cases, with bad facts, where there was really no innovation presented in the claims, or even in the patent application as a whole. These decisions have absolutely no meaning or proper application with respect to any inventions, let alone inventions of monumental complexity such as true artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, or new medical diagnostics that allow risk-free testing of common ailments, where previously existing tests required potentially catastrophic risk.

A section-by-section look at the STRONGER Patents Act introduced in the Senate

In late June, the Support Technology and Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Patents Act of 2017 was introduced into the U.S. Senate by co-sponsors Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AZ), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI). The bill’s purpose is “to strengthen the position of the United States as the world’s leading innovator by amending title 35, United States Code, to protect the property rights of the inventors that grow the country’s economy.”

Former Cisco Executive Giancarlo peels back ‘false narrative’ on patent trolls, patent reform

The true agenda of those who support further reform of the U.S. patent system is as follows: to discriminate against entities which license technologies instead of manufacture; to increase the costs of asserting patent rights to the detriment of individuals and startups; and to stilt the conversations surrounding tech licensing in favor of the infringer bringing a product to market. “If you trip over our patent, you’re a thief. If we trip over your patent, you’re a troll,” Giancarlo said… “Let’s call patent reform for what it is: a blatant economic and power grab by tech firms to infringe on technology created by others,” Giancarlo said. In his opinion, the true trolls are the entities trolling Congress to get a competitive advantage over smaller entities.

Senate judiciary committee holds hearing on intellectual property as a driver of innovation

“As a society, we depend on innovators… to make our lives better and to solve the challenges we face,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the House judiciary committee. Grassley cited statistics published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) on the 40 million American employed by IP-intensive industries. These same industries contribute $5.8 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and account for 74 percent of U.S. exports, according to the Global IP Center. In his opening statements, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) cited separate statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce which reported $6.6 trillion in value added to national GDP from IP-intensive industries.

Cruel and Unusual: Rumors swirl, still no answer on PTO Director

Fresh rumors surfaced late last night, however, suggesting that Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld is currently Acting Director of the USPTO. Two independent sources also told us that an internal candidate has been elevated to the position of Deputy Director of the USPTO, although it is not known whether that is on a permanent or temporary basis. It is believed that the Deputy Director of the USPTO is now Anthony Scardino, who was previously serving as Chief Financial Officer at the USPTO… Whatever the resolution of this matter is, this sad chapter in USPTO history has been grossly unfair to Michelle Lee. Either she is Director or she is not Director. Someone somewhere has to know the answer to this very simple, straightforward question, but no one with authority will comment.

Paul Ryan, Fee Diversion and Presidential Politics

This extra attention on Wisconsin, coupled with Paul Ryan being the dream candidate for those who favor an open Republican Convention, provides us with a somewhat manufactured, yet novel and non-obvious opportunity to examine Ryan’s views on patents. Oddly, much like those of candidate Kasich, Ryan’s views have been in favor of fee diversion, which have been identified by former heads of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office as the single biggest problem that has or will face the Office. Indeed, the mentality that leads Donald Trump to exalt the virtues of eminent domain for the greater good isn’t all that different from the thinking that must be required when Paul Ryan (and Kasich too) decide it is appropriate to siphon off user fees from the USPTO.

What the 2016 presidential candidates are saying about H-1B visas

On the Republican side, front-runner Donald Trump, whose inability to be stopped by his own rhetoric has proven to be a hallmark of his campaign, has said himself that he is “changing” on this issue, at least where skilled talent is concerned. Trump has been on both sides of the H-1B visa issue, which makes it difficult to know what he really believes and what policy might become during a Trump Administration.

Fact Checking Bogus ‘Patent Report Card’ Grade for Senator Cruz

Simply stated, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) did not deserve the F foisted on him by the Engine study or amplified by the reporting by Wired and Ars Technica. Notwithstanding the inexplicable F given to Senator Cruz, the biggest error in the “report card” related to something that never happened. Senator Marco Rubio was given a B based on his vote in favor of the America Invents Act (AIA). The problem is that Senator Rubio missed that vote on the AIA and is also on record saying that had he been present he would have voted against the AIA. Indeed, there are many other inaccuracies and misleading statements that collectively left us wondering if the scoring of this “report card” intentionally misleads the public and reinforces the stereotype that the tech community only likes Democrats.

Senators told FTC report on patent assertion entities due out this spring

When patents were brought up in the hearing, however, it seemed to focus mainly on their effects in the pharmaceutical world. Ramirez’s prepared remarks for the hearing touched on pay for delay in pharmaceutical patent infringement settlements, and she noted that the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis has given the FTC a greater capacity to challenge pay for delay schemes in court. Ramirez also stated that a report on the FTC investigation into patent assertion entities (PAEs) will be made available sometime this spring.

President Obama should nominate Judge Raymond Chen to the Supreme Court

Chen, an Obama appointee, was confirmed only several years ago by a vote of 97-0. Born in 1968 he is 47 years old, meaning he could easily serve on the Court throughout the next generation, in modern times an important consideration for a Presidential nomination to the High Court. Chen also comes from the Federal Circuit, which is anything but politically controversial, primarily responsible for handling patent appeals. Chen would also become the first Asian American to serve on the Supreme Court, another potentially important consideration for President Obama, who has shown throughout his term in Office that he likes breaking glass ceilings with appointments and nominations. Thus, Chen would have virtually all the same upside as would Srinavasan without any of the baggage that would make confirmation difficult, if not impossible.

Why Trump’s love of eminent domain should concern patent owners

Donald Trump argued at the New Hampshire debate that our nation’s infrastructure would not happen without eminent domain. While economic development as a justification for eminent domain has been severely criticized, there does not seem to be a similar criticism associated with stripping property rights from patent owners in order to allow technology adopting infringers to distribute what they did not themselves innovate without paying the property owner for the privilege.

Patent Reform in 2016, Maybe Not as Dead as you Think

As interesting as the Senate may become when patent reform resurfaces, the dynamic in the House will be fascinating for many reasons. Since patent reform stalled there is a new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI). Speaker Ryan has said he plans to return the House to regular order and allow business to trickle up from members to the full House rather than have legislation forced down from leadership on Members. It is widely known that Goodlatte and Issa continue to want more patent reform and are seeking opportunities to push forward to a vote in the House. Will Speaker Ryan allow the Innovation Act to come to a vote in the House?

Defend Trade Secrets Act ready for markup in Senate Judiciary Committee

Earlier today the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which is authored by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). This is an important issue for Congress because trade secret theft puts American jobs at risk and threatens incentives for continued investment in research and development in the United States. Currently, civil trade secret laws can and do vary state-to-state, and while the differences may not be substantively large it is truly odd that in a global economy the United States has left trade secret law to the States to individually regulate. It is long since time for Congress to act.