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LES (USA & Canada) Urges U.S. House to Defer Vote Warning "Innovation Act" Threatens Innovation

Wednesday, December 4, 2013  
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WASHINGTON, December 4, 2013—The Licensing Executives Society (U.S.A. and Canada), Inc. ("LES") today voiced strong opposition to passage of the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) in its current form and urged members of the U.S. House to withhold their support until key provisions of the bill are more thoroughly explored and refined.

"While the bill has laudable goals and several worthy provisions, LES believes that it is simply not ready for prime time," said LES Regional Vice President-USA Brian O'Shaughnessy, a shareholder with RatnerPrestia.  As written, the bill threatens to weaken fundamental property rights, diminish the value of intellectual property and innovation, and suppress business formation and job growth. The America Invents Act is still in its infancy. Further substantive change to the patent system is ill-advised at this time; and, in any event, more input from the user community is needed to refine and balance this bill for the greater good."

In a letter sent to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, LES specifically warns that H.R. 3309 would:

  • Improperly interfere with the federal courts' role and responsibility in conducting patent litigation and the control of its docket, and would unduly limit judicial discretion;
  • Add to the cost of litigation through heightened pleading requirements and associated disclosure obligations that unfairly target a particular type of property right rather than attack the root problem of abusive litigation tactics; and
  • Discourage the enforcement of valid property rights by imposing formulaic fee shifting, which could threaten fledgling enterprises that offer potential for business formation and job growth, and are a potent resource for future innovation.

The letter also recommends amending H.R. 3309 to allow the USPTO to retain and re-invest revenues it generates from user fees back into the agency to help shore up infrastructure and improve patent quality, which LES feels would be 'the single most effective step in reducing the incidence of frivolous patent enforcement.'

LES is among a growing movement of professional and industry related groups, thought leaders and other members of the intellectual property  community who have publicly expressed opposition to substantial provisions of the bill, including: Randall Rader, Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit;

Paul Michel, Chief Judge (ret.), US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; Kimberly Moore, Judge, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; and David Kappos, Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, US Patent and Trademark Office (ret.). 

"Our founding fathers recognized the importance of promoting the progress of the useful arts by affording inventors exclusive rights to their inventions by means of reliable, equitable, and affordable access to the federal courts," said O'Shaughnessy. "LES is eager for the opportunity to help Congress develop revised legislation that balances restrictions on litigation abuse against pro-growth protection of valid and enforceable property rights."

With a House vote scheduled for Thursday, the Greater Washington, DC Chapter of LES will host some of the nation's leading IP experts, including Paul Michel, Chief Judge (ret.), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law and Co-Director of Academic Programs & Senior Scholar, Center for the Protection of IP, Teresa Stanek Rea, Former Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Former Acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and Raymond Van Dyke, Van Dyke Law, for an in-depth look at H.R. 3309 and the current state of the patent system at its meeting Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 5:30 (Click here for more program information and to register).

LES (USA & Canada) is a non-profit professional society with members throughout the United States and Canada who are engaged in technology licensing to bring the fruits of innovation to market.  It is the leading licensing organization in the North American continent, and counts among its members representatives from all technological and industrial disciplines. LES is engaged in education, networking, public policy, and the sharing of best practices to promote the effective use of intellectual property regimes to the ultimate benefit of society. LES is also a member society of Licensing Executives Society International (LESI), a global society with 32 national societies, representing over 90 countries.  www.lesusacanada.org

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