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Universities Express Concerns About Recently Passed House “Innovation Act”

December 19, 2013
Earlier this month, the House passed the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), which seeks to address abuses of the U.S. patent litigation system. While the goal is commendable, the bill is overly broad in important respects and if enacted into law would produce unintended and unknowable consequences for innovators who rely on the patent system to fund and protect their inventions.

[caption id="attachment_13819" align="alignright" width="150"]Legislative efforts to combat so called "patent trolls" must include important provisions to prevent unintended consequences Legislative efforts to combat so called "patent trolls" must include important provisions to prevent unintended consequences[/caption]

The U.S. Senate is now developing similar legislation, the Patent Transparency and Improvement Act of 2013 (S. 1720), that is much more targeted and does not include most of the problematic provisions contained in the House bill, about which BIO has expressed concern.

BIO is not alone in expressing these concerns. A coalition comprised of the Association of American Universities, American Council on Education, Association of American Medical Colleges, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Association of University Technology Managers, and the Council on Governmental Relations released a statement on November 8, 2013 expressing opposition to H.R. 3309.

The coalition of universities followed it up last week by releasing another statement, in which they indicated that “S. 1720 goes a long way toward effectively addressing this problem while preserving the ability of patent owners legitimately to enforce their patent rights.” The statement notes, however, that some refinements to S. 1720 should be made to ensure that its language is not overbroad in parts and does not impose unreasonable or unnecessary burdens on legitimate patent owners and licensees.

BIO shares these sentiments and is committed to working with the Judiciary Committee to improve S. 1720 and further strengthen the U.S. patent system for the benefit of inventors, investors, and jobs in America.