Thursday, April 19, 2007

Will Patent Reform Occur This Year?

Yesterday, Wednesday, April 18th, 2007, the Senate and House both introduced "new" bills to overhaul the patent system. However, these bill aren't "new". This legislation looks like the same bills that have been introduced in years past. In one corner you have "Big Business" supporting the legislation and in the other corner you have "Individual Inventor" against the legislation. These sides are evidenced by a recent quote from Emery Simon, counsel to the Business Soware Alliance, an organization that apparently recieves funding from Microsoft, Apple, and HP. Mr. Simon is quoted as saying "The object of the patent law is to promote innovation and we think the balance has been tipped away from that and has created too much incentive for... litigation."

Well, this seems like an appropriate statement from an attorney who is representing the interests of Microsoft, who just happened to have lost a $1.52 billion patent infringement case in February 2007. If I were Microsoft, I'd sure as doo-doo try and change the patent law too. I'd want to make sure that the next time I was caught stealing patented ideas I wouldn't have to pay as much. The unfortunate reality is that if this legislation goes through, which is likely this time around because the Dems are in control (& the Repubs are against the legislation because they are well-funded by the drug companies, who are against this type of bill since it would allow easier creation of generic drugs), we all lose in the long run.

With this bill, innovation would only controled by the big guys as VC's would be less likely to invest in companies based on patent protected products and services as the patents they hold will be less valuable. This is just one of the MANY problems with this legislation. Do your civic duty and contact your Senators and House Representative & tell them why they need to vote AGAINST this bill. Like many governmental systems, the patent system is not perfect. But it's better for everyone if we don't let Microsoft & the other "big boys" write the laws for us.

You can find Leyendecker & Lemire on the web at www.lld-law.com.

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