Friday, May 07, 2010

Fee diversion: don't get fooled again

In a post on on May 5, 2010, we see that the House is not going along passively with S.515:

During a hearing on the PTO, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said efforts to reach a deal with the Senate on a patent overhaul bill are not progressing as well as he would like. He said after the hearing he and other Judiciary leaders are considering crafting a stand-alone bill to give the PTO fee-setting authority and bar Congress from diverting PTO funds to other uses.

USPTO Director Kappos did not come off well:

When pressed on the issue of a stand-alone fee-setting bill by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., PTO Director David Kappos refused to say whether he would support such a move, insisting that he believes Congress can pass a broad patent overhaul bill.

"I believe we should press on and get comprehensive patent legislation that includes all the changes for the PTO and all the other important changes that will move the U.S. patent system back to the gold standard," Kappos said.

"Are you saying that if our diligent efforts to get a comprehensive bill fall short, then no thanks [to a stand-alone bill]?" Lofgren asked.

Kappos responded he would like to work with the committee to get a comprehensive patent bill.

**The problems that S.515 is having in the House were totally foreseeable (aka, "obvious"). From an IPBiz post of March 2010, titled
What's really going to happen with S.515's version of patent reform

Big tech is now leaning on the House to sink or change the bill. And they do have a much friendlier audience there. Representative Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, has pushed big tech's version of patent reform on the House Judiciary committee for her constituents and donors. And it appears that she's got the chairman of House Judicary, John Conyers, D-Mich., and the ranking Republican, Lamar Smith, R-Texas, on board. The three released a statement about the Senate bill saying: "We believe a number of changes are essential before it could be considered by the House."

The interesting bifurcation is between IBM and other IT folks. While IBM signed off on S.515, the other high tech folks did not, and what is now happening in the House was scripted months ago. [Kappos, formerly IP head at IBM, is advocating a position favored by IBM, but not favored by the other IT people.] One does not need a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing here.

The interesting thing here is that, if one could do only one thing to improve the US Patent Office, ending fee diversion would be that thing. Let the patent office keep the fees it takes in, so that it can perform the services it is supposed to do. It really is that simple.

Of Kappos Takes Heat at House Hearing, Patent Reform Dead?, don't get fooled again.


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