Michael Kirk, who retired as the executive director of the AIPLA at the end of August, has claimed that high-tech companies have contributed to the creation of a significantly more hostile attitude to patent rights in the US. Speaking to IAM in an exclusive interview to mark his induction into the IP Hall of Fame, Kirk stated that the press and PR campaigns employed by companies - including Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Cisco and Apple - that are members of the Coalition for Patent Fairness had helped create a situation in which patents are under attack in the country in a way that has not been seen before.
"I do not think that wanting to do something about issues such as damages and permanent injunctions is the problem," Kirk said. "It’s the way they have sought to make their point. When you say that the patent system is broken and needs fixing or that it puts innovation at risk, a lot of people are going to believe you. I can even see their influence in the Supreme Court’s decision in the KSR case, written by Justice Kennedy."
What may have started as some academic thoughts from Cecil Quillen, later pushed by Mark Lemley (and others), ended up being mainlined to foster the economic interests of those in the "Coalition for Patent Fairness." Chisum got it right in his law review article. As the vote in the House on HR 1908 illustrated, patent reform (at least this version) is NOT a Democrat/Republican issue. In New Jersey, Rush Holt voted AGAINST 1908 and Chris Smith voted for it; go figure.