Friday, May 18, 2007

BIO joins other groups in urging caution in patent reform

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today joined more than 100 companies, associations, venture capital firms and universities in sending a letter to key leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to urge a cautious approach to reforming patent law that continues to protect biomedical innovation. (from BusinessWire).

The text of the letter included:

"We strongly believe that certain provisions (of the legislation [HR 1908]), such as those dealing with apportionment of monetary damages for patent infringement, expansive PTO rule making authority, an open-ended post grant opposition system, and a narrow grace period will not strengthen our patent system but instead will fundamentally undermine patent certainty, discourage investment in innovative technologies, and reduce publication and collaborative activities among academic scientists."

See also

The "big guy vs. small guy" aspect of the patent reform debate came out in an article in InfoWorld:

The bill would also allow new ways to challenge patents after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted them. The result would be "weakened protections" against patent infringement, said the letter, drafted by the Innovation Alliance, a trade group representing patent holders.

Large tech "aggregators" that hold thousands of patents may not care if one is challenged or weakened, Bryan Lord said. But small firms such as AmberWave depend upon a limited number of patents for their livelihood, he said.

The InfoWorld piece also noted: Members of the Innovation Alliance and other organizations signing the letter said "measured" changes to the U.S. patent system may be appropriate. "Unfortunately, we also believe that some of the proposed reform provisions hold serious negative consequences for continued innovation and American technological leadership in the increasingly competitive 21st century global economy," the letter said. "The harm to investment in tomorrow's technologies would be felt immediately."


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