Financial Times on April 8 interchange on Innovation Act
The a Financial Times covers the most recent debate over the Innovation Act.
In a communication on April 8, 2015, universities made clear that they did not agree with the CEA--
It is disappointing to see universities reject commonsense reform, especially since many universities are licensing publicly-funded patents,” said Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the CEA.
But the universities, which led a broad coalition of industry groups to block similar proposals from passing the Senate last year, say that the tech industry’s proposals would do little to deter trollish behaviour and would make it more difficult and expensive for legitimate patent holders to defend their property.
“[The proposed legislation] would significantly increase the overall risks and costs of legitimate patent enforcement for universities, start-up companies, licensees of university research, and all other patent holders,” the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities said in a response letter to CEA dated April 8.
At issue, universities say, are “loser pays” legal fee-shifting and joinder provisions, the latter of which could render them liable for damages incurred by third parties that own patents developed at a university if the third party cannot pay the costs on its own.
“Mandatory fee-shifting and involuntary joinder — are especially troubling to the university community because they would make the legitimate defence of patent rights excessively risky and thus weaken the university technology transfer process,” the 150 universities wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee in February.
PCWorld described the matter:
In a letter Thursday to the CEA, the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities said that legislation to curb troll abuses “should be narrowly tailored to address the abuses of this small minority of patent holders without substantially weakening the U.S. patent system as a whole.”
But the legislation in its current form would increase the overall risks and costs of legitimate patent enforcement for universities, startup companies, licensees of university research, and all other patent holders, the organizations added.
Universities have frequently sued companies for patent infringement, and are concerned about provisions in the bill such as fee-shifting, which would require the losing party to pay the winning side’s fees.
IPBiz notes the CEA provided no reasoning as to why a default "loser pays" does not impact patentees other than so-called trolls, and thus that the universities have a valid objection.