Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Rohrabacher criticizes Goodlatte Innovation Act

TheHill discusses comments by Congr. Rohrabacher on the Goodlatte bill, HR 9:

That should be the end of the story.  However, the push to pass HR 9 has not abated – because the “troll” narrative was always a sideshow, a phony pretext.  The real goal is to make it easier for “patent thieves” to steal another’s intellectual property, using “trolls” as the excuse to make wide-ranging changes in patent law seem urgent.


Because most inventors, universities, startups, etc. are “little guys,” they depend heavily on the current protections embedded in our patent law.  Sometimes their only hope to survive protracted litigation is to partner with a PAE, a “troll.” The better-funded PAE buys their patents and helps to level the playing field, essentially revamping the lawsuit into Action Hero-versus-Goliath.  “Patent thieves” invented the label “patent trolls” to obscure the real economic service PAEs perform.  PAE’s wouldn’t exist if they didn’t win; they wouldn’t win if big companies were always honest.  So, even on these terms alone, HR 9 is hardly the no-brainer it is made out to be.
BUT, the effects of HR 9 do not stop there.  The bill changes many key provisions of our patent law, devaluing all patents and making them more costly to defend.  Bingo!  Advantage to the rich, patent-infringing mega companies!


Bottom line: Patent thievery not only will continue if HR.9 passes; it will increase.  HR 9 will completely reshape the already-uphill economics surrounding inventing and, just as important, discourage anyone from investing in pioneering “little guy” innovations.  

It’s not a stretch to say that HR 9 is an economy-changing piece of legislation, and not for the better – unless we want fewer inventions, unbridled infringement, unenforceable patents, less innovation, and slower economic growth. The House must not vote again to pass the little understood but far-reaching HR 9 simply on the basis of a clever ad campaign about fairy tale characters. 


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