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Posts Tagged: "STRONGER Patents Act"

Twist Emerges in Senate IP Subcommittee Leadership for 117th Congress

On Sunday, February 14, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced the Subcommittees and Subcommittee Chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the 117th Congress. Many in the IP universe had hoped Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), the Ranking Member of the Senate IP Subcommittee for the 116th Congress, would be appointed the IP Subcommittee Chair, considering his strong support for various IP reforms along with the previous IP Subcommittee Chair, Thom Tillis (R-NC). Tillis will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee this Congress, but Coons was not selected to serve as Chair.

The ‘Inventorpreneur’, America’s Economic Savior

As we start to approach the apex of the COVID-19 pandemic, the next hurdle will be solving the economic crisis. Getting people back to work will be the next job for America’s leaders. America’s small businesses have always been the backbone of the country’s economy, providing 64.9% of net new jobs. Main Street shops and restaurants play a very important part in providing paychecks. However, even more important are America’s inventors. The inventor/entrepreneur (“Inventorpreneur”) creates the technologies and jobs that stay in America and don’t move overseas to places like China. They usually do this by patenting their inventions and creating new companies. Intellectual property (IP) produces high paying jobs not only for scientists and engineers, but also for marketing and manufacturing managers, technicians, salespeople, artists, and others.

Obtaining Injunctions Under eBay Versus at the International Trade Commission

Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay v. MercExchange, 547 US 388 (2006), it was fairly routine for a victorious patent owner who prevailed on a finding of infringement in a federal district court litigation to assume that a permanent injunction would issue to prevent ongoing infringement. Despite the STRONGER Patents Act seeking to overturn eBay, Congress at large has no desire to disturb this Supreme Court decision and any bill that contains a provision overruling eBay cannot be enacted. In light of eBay, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which has always played a large role in patent litigation and enforcement strategies because of its statutory authority to issue exclusion orders and cease and desist orders, emerged as an important forum for patent owners.

Congress Includes an Ugly Sweater in the STRONGER Patents Act

It is not unusual for there to be unintended consequences in the law or life. A loved one gives you something you don’t really like, but you do such a good job of feigning happiness that it becomes a regular gift. Who knew you could ever have too many “lovely” ties or too much single malt Scotch? Congress is in the process of giving the patent bar some welcome relief on some important issues, but may be throwing in that unwanted gift along with it. The STRONGER Patents Act intends to address the potential for inconsistent rulings between district court cases and inter partes reviews (IPRs). The Act achieves this by expressing a preference for district court rulings and by requiring IPRs to apply the same standards for validity determinations that are used in the district court. This is already the case by USPTO regulation with respect to claim construction, but the Act would make it statutory for both claim construction and validity, and thus not subject to change by the USPTO. While the use of the same standard for validity in both forums will make the rulings more consistent, the statutory preference for the district court over the IPR may have an unintended consequence.

Some Overlooked Holiday Treats in the STRONGER Patents Act

It’s that time of the year—Halloween candy is still lingering in bowls, turkey and dressing is tantalizingly close, holiday cheer abounds. While winter skies are overhead, Congress is working to strengthen the U.S. Patent system with the STRONGER Patents Act. The bill was most recently debated by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s IP Subcommittee in September and has stolen the spotlight from the Section 101 reform debate, which for the moment seems to have stalled. Much has been written about the main provisions of the STRONGER Act, such as making inter partes review (IPR) and district court standards and procedures the same. Like extra Halloween candy or Aunt Imelda’s sweet potato pone, Congress has included a number of extra goodies for patent owners that have not been widely appreciated.

Clarity Needed on the STRONGER Patents Act’s Approach to Validity Determinations

The “Support Technology and Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience Patents Act of 2019” or the “STRONGER Patents Act of 2019,” currently under consideration as Senate Bill 2082 and House Resolution 3666, poses questions about the types of decisions that would operate to bar inter partes review (IPR) and post-grant review (PGR) of patent claims. The STRONGER Patents Act is an effort to cure some of the perceived infirmities in the U.S. patent system. While prior versions—introduced in 2015 and 2017—were more wide-ranging, the STRONGER Patents Act of 2019 primarily focuses on the availability of injunctive relief and the susceptibility of patents to IPR and PGR. Among other changes, the bill would effectively overrule the Supreme Court’s eBay v. MercExchange decision, require inter partes and post-grant review petitioners to prove invalidity by clear and convincing evidence, permit only one such review of any given patent claim, and purport to finally end the occasional practice of diverting some the USPTO fees from its operations. While much can (and has) been written about the merits of such reforms, the present comment specifically considers the proposed “Priority of Federal Court Validity Determinations.”

A Step Forward for the STRONGER Patents Act

The bipartisan STRONGER Patents Act of 2019 took an important step forward last week, as the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held a hearing on the proposed legislation. Senators Tillis and Coons, the Subcommittee’s Chairman and Ranking Member, should be commended for holding the hearing and focusing attention on our patent system’s role in promoting American innovation and job creation. As several of the hearing witnesses made clear in their testimony, our patent system has been dangerously weakened in recent years through a series of judicial, legislative, and administrative changes. These changes have undermined patent rights and made it difficult for inventors to protect their innovations from infringement. Meanwhile, our foreign competitors, including China and Europe, have strengthened their patent rights. This has put us at a competitive disadvantage and helped contribute to a trend of both innovation and venture capital increasingly moving overseas. For example, the U.S. share of global venture capital fell from 66% in 2010 to 40% in 2018, while China’s share increased from 12% to 38% in the same time period. And despite more than a decade of economic growth following the Great Recession of 2007-2009, startup formation has failed to return to its pre-recession levels.

Senate Hearing on STRONGER Patents Act Highlights Sharp Split on Injunctive Relief, IPR Fixes

On the afternoon of Wednesday, September 11, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property convened a hearing titled Innovation in America: How Congress Can Make Our Patent System STRONGER. The hearing focused on the STRONGER Patents Act, a piece of legislation that has been reintroduced into both houses of Congress, the Senate portion of which has been co-sponsored by the Senate IP Subcommittee’s Ranking Member, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), fellow Subcommittee members Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), Judiciary Committee member John Kennedy (R-LA) and Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND). Sources at IPWatchdog’s Patent Masters Symposium this week said that the bill still faces many obstacles to passage. However, according to Senator Coons’ Office, the bill has wide bipartisan support in the House as well. The panel for the hearing was evenly split between supporters and detractors of the proposed law, and most of the discussion focused on the injunctive relief and inter partes review (IPR) provisions of the bill.

This Week on Capitol Hill: STRONGER Patents Act Returns, Maintaining the Lead in Global AI, and Internet Antitrust Issues

This week marks Congress’ return from its August recess and patent owners should be encouraged to see the Senate IP Subcommittee meeting on Wednesday to explore the STRONGER Patents Act in its latest attempt to improve the U.S. patent system. In the House, various subcommittees will focus on FCC broadband map accuracy, advancements in forensic science, and security issues in the nation’s Internet architecture. Outside of Capitol Hill, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold a pair of events to look at the global race for dominance in artificial intelligence (AI) and the country’s R&D funding agenda, and the Brookings Institution will explore autonomous transportation and service delivery systems, as well as federal data privacy legislation.

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, July 12: Final Rule on Drug Prices in TV Ads Blocked, Huawei Pronounced Top Chinese Patent Earner, and Brazil Joins Madrid Agreement

This week in Other Barks & Bites: The Trump Administration’s Final Rule that would have required list prices of drugs to be displayed in television ads is blocked by the U.S. District Court for the District of D.C.; the STRONGER Patents Act is reintroduced into both houses of Congress; the leadership of the Senate IP Subcommittee releases a statement on the splintered Federal Circuit en banc denial in Athena; the U.S. Copyright Office designates the mechanical licensing collective; Huawei is the top earner of Chinese patents thus far in 2019; Intel enters a period of exclusive talks in its wireless patent auction; T-Mobile and Sprint extend their merger deadline; Amazon launches initiative to retrain 100,000 employees for high-tech positions; and major drugmakers ask the Supreme Court to take up a patent case involving functional claiming issues.

Coons and Stivers Reintroduce Measure to Make the U.S. Patent System STRONGER

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) reintroduced the STRONGER Patents Act of 2019 today in an event on Capitol Hill. Coons first introduced the STRONG Patents Act in 2015, which then became the STRONGER Patents Act in 2017. This latest iteration, like the iterations before, seeks to take a number of steps to strengthen patent protections and…

This Week on Capitol Hill: DHS Facial Recognition Tech, Coons and Stivers to Reintroduce STRONGER Patents Act, and Think Tanks Explore Tech Issues in U.S.-China Trade War

The U.S. Senate gets busy today with hearings on the tech world’s impacts on America’s youth as well as NASA’s plans for manned missions on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. On Wednesday, Senator Coons and Representative Stivers will reintroduce the STRONGER Patents Act, which is aimed at strengthening the patent system and promoting innovation. NASA’s plans to commercialize low Earth orbit will also be discussed in the House of Representatives, along with biometric technologies employed by the Department for Homeland Security and cybersecurity threats to the U.S. energy grid. Around the U.S. capital, both the Brookings Institution and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will look at tech issues involved in the current trade war between the U.S. and China. ITIF will also explore the potential use of antitrust law to break up American tech giants on Thursday.

Congressman Steve Stivers on the STRONGER Patents ACT, USPTO Reforms, and the State of U.S. Innovation

Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Representative Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced the Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Patents Act, which would in part restore injunctive relief as a remedy for patent infringement, in the U.S. House of Representatives in March of last year. While there has been much talk about closed-door discussions taking place on Capitol Hill recently around fixing Section 101 law, the House has not yet re-introduced the STRONGER Patents Act, and has thus far been focused on other issues this term. But Rep. Stivers seems confident that the Act has a chance this term, and says that this could be the consensus legislation the House needs. Read below for more on Rep. Stivers’ thoughts about patent reform in the 116th Congress, where the America Invents Act went wrong, and how we ensure the U.S. patent system is restored to number one.

Harmonizing the PTAB: Iancu calls change to Phillips ‘critically important’

“It seems self-evident that the same patent contested in different tribunals should have its meaning – its boundaries – determined using the same standard,” Director Iancu said when discussing the final rules implementing the Phillips standard at the PTAB… Those few who were not pleased by the change have cited a believe that the change to the Phillips standard would usher in a return to lower quality patents. With a bit of a confrontational tone, Director Iancu took issue with that, finding the argument without merit.

The Inventor Protection Act: Needed Momentum or More Harm than Good?

Recently, the Inventor Protection Act, H.R.6557, was introduced to Congress.  It’s a very well intentioned piece of proposed legislation.  However, it may actually do more harm than good to efforts to strengthen patent rights in the aftermath of the AIA. We need to fix what is wrong with the patent system for everyone, not merely carve out exceptions for a few.  Is H.R.6557 a step in the right direction, gaining momentum for stronger patent property rights for everyone, or will it harm the ability to reach that goal?  We think the answer is clear that H.R. 6557 as written doesn’t do what the patent laws were intended to do.