Friday, May 09, 2008

On the demise of the lobbying effort by the Coalition for Patent Fairness

In an article by John Letzing in MarketWatch titled Tech firms' millions get them a muddle on patent bill
Reform bill pulled despite rich lobbying effort; a motley opposition
, one has the text:

Such [patent reform] legislation has now been pulled from the Senate's floor schedule, according to a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. If it isn't taken up during the current congressional session, critical momentum needed to carry it forward for consideration next year may be lost.

The companies, represented by the Coalition for Patent Fairness, say that they'll continue facing a growing number of frivolous and expensive patent lawsuits without the patent-reform legislation.

Letzing noted:

But in recent months, the Coalition for Patent Fairness has been confronted by mushrooming opposition from a surprisingly motley group -- including trade unions, blue-chip corporations such as General Electric Co. and even 83-year-old conservative commentator Phyllis Schlafly.

IPBiz notes that Schlafly is not a newcomer to the patent reform wars, and has the distinction of being demonized multiple times in Jaffe and Lerner's Innovation and Its Discontents. As Letzing's piece illustrates (and as Jaffe and Lerner failed to understand), opposition to patent reform is not limited to political conservatives, AND the opposition by the conservatives is not of the wild-eyed variety.

Letzing gets into the significant amount of money expended by the Coalition for Patent Fairness:

That's helped lead to an impasse in the Senate, even after the coalition spent almost $1 million on lobbying in 2006 and nearly $2 million last year. This year, another $790,000 was spent in the first quarter alone, according to public filings and the Center for Responsive Politics.


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