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BIO and Universities Caution Against Innovation Act, Emphasize the Need for Patent Protection

February 6, 2015
In light of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) re-introduction of the Innovation Act, BIO and university representatives are urging the 114th Congress to protect their intellectual property, emphasizing the crucial role of patent protection in research and development. patent reform june 22 2011

In his statement on the re-introduction of the Innovation Act, BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood urged caution:

“BIO supports targeted reforms to reign in abusive patent enforcement practices, but any efforts to accomplish this must be done in a way that preserves the patent-based incentives necessary to sustain our nation’s global leadership in biotechnology innovation and the creation of high-wage, high-value jobs throughout our country. BIO is concerned that the Innovation Act as re-introduced today fails to meet that test, by undermining the ability of legitimate patent owners to commercialize their inventions and enforce their patent rights against infringers.”

Six higher education associations, including the American Council on Education and the Association of American Universities, also criticized what has been regarded as an overly broad legislation that would debilitate the U.S. patent system.

“Our associations cannot support the Innovation Act as drafted because it would substantially raise the costs and risks associated with patenting, discouraging the private sector from turning research discoveries at U.S. universities into the innovations that improve our nation’s economy, health, and quality of life.”

Increased concern has led several universities to speak out against this legislation. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from both the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, university leadership argued that any measure to curb abusive patent litigation cannot undermine the ability of universities to protect their patent rights. The Big Ten Universities have urged both the U.S. House and Senate to US Patent Applicationcautiously approach patent reform.

Eliminating patent protection would make it extremely difficult for universities to remain strong innovators and inventors, a sector responsible for positive and sustainable economic growth in the United States.

University technology transfer brings in billions of dollars of economic growth and millions of jobs nationwide. Strong patents are necessary to protect the investment of stakeholders. The value of the patent system will be worth very little should investors and inventors become unwilling to license and develop patents for products- it would hinder the development of drugs, medical devices, and other products which improve quality of life.