Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Article by Tom Still on patent reform

From an article by Tom Still on patent reform:

In a letter written in mid-May, about 70 organizations ranging from venture capital firms to biotech companies to academic institutions such as the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation expressed strong concerns about [the patent reform] bill (H.R. 1908/S. 1145).

“We strongly believe that certain provisions … 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,” the group wrote.

“For companies (directly and as university licensees) in industries such as ours, the consequences - greater bureaucracy, inability to rely on valid patents, weakened protections against infringement, and a decreased access to capital - would be devastating. The harm to investment in tomorrow's technologies would be felt immediately, and would hurt U.S. competitiveness for years to come,” they continued.

Do no harm

The bill receiving a hearing last week before Senate Judiciary Committee, which Leahy chairs. Committee members include both Wisconsin senators, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold. The politics swirling about the bill are intense because some major Internet players support it and the ever-unpopular drug companies oppose it. As the debate builds this summer, however, senators should remember the June 6 testimony of one biotech executive from Massachusetts who said:

“When considering changes to (the patent system), we urge the committee to consider carefully the cautionary language embraced by the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.”


One notes concerns about the patent reform package expressed by five Republican senators, including Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sam Brownback of Kansas.


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