U.S. Senators sympathetic to targets of dubious patent assertions but want focused reform

“Today the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate held a hearing on the Leahy-Lee patent reform proposal, ‘Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse,'” Florian Müller reports for FOSS Patents. “After the recent fast-track passage of the Goodlatte bill by the House of Representatives, the key question at this juncture is what position the Senate will take on reform. The National Journal even wondered whether the current push for patent reform could survive the winter.”

“Based on today’s hearing, I believe patent reform will remain high on the agenda after this winter, and while there are calls by some politicians, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), to take more time and hold more hearings, I think the push for reform has enough momentum that something will probably happen in 2014 — but it won’t be broad,” Müller writes. “There won’t be a law unless the Senate and the House reach a consensus, a fact that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) strongly urged reform advocates to consider. Sen. Whitehouse advised the reform movement to be flexible and not to ‘vindicate [its] ire at the deplorable conduct of these patent trolls at the expense of getting a bill through the Senate.'”

Much more in the full article here.


  1. Lawyers benefit from the increased litigation, and senators benefit from appealing to that deeppocketed sector where they can later reture as highly valuable counselors/advisors/lobbyists.

    Remember Obama recently suggested law school should have its scholarship duration shortened, so more lawyers would hit the market and sooner?

  2. There won’t be a law until there is an amendment to the Constitution, or something like it.

    The work is enmeshed with too many universal truths pertaining to our rights under the Constitution and we’ll need to reaffirm what Intellectual Property Rights is to Everyman.

    Creativity is a birthright and eclipses Birthdays, which seems to be the platform of choice for luddite parental units praising their disappointing offspring.

    Creativity is exploited, but not necessarily by the artist, who is often the last to know their work has merit, and more often than not, by those who know It when they see It, but can’t imagine a life without another’s idea, and make it “theirs” in a partnership.

    Every bone in my body knows this IP “game” is rigged in favor of those who have wealth and zero creativity. As opposed to the individual who is in for all their skin and has zilch left to finance the patent cycle with its myriad kick-backs for protocol and clarity.

    In the meantime, you, the idea man has ideas stacking up and because you’re years away from developing a decent war chest, so you move laterally to double track your efforts, by taking a job. A job similar to your own experience knowing everything you create on the job belongs to your employer, and in extreme cases, the contract extends into your personal life.

    The point is, we need to put the emphasis of Intellectual Property Rights back on the individual and not those with deep pockets, for two reasons; 1) artists have been sequestered behind the curtain while the financiers get to present the product as they see fit, and that has to stop, and 2) I fear one day Creatives will be codified and released, or not. It’s the latter part that has me apprehensive about their future in America; who needs creative antagonists, or worse, anarchists?

    Until a universally accepted system is in place for all to patent their ideas, devoid of legalese and financial fast-tracks, contracts in perpetuity for exclusive customers like Walt Disney, who’s crackerjack team of lawyers no doubt found careers in the USPO and vicey versey.

    When Walt developed Mickey he needed a friend in the US patent office but when he became the monolithic businessman he needed to change the law to favor business people too.

    Government needs to put the rights to creativity back in the hands of the individual, just as it is at the end of each Pixar movie, a cast that includes babies born during the making of…

    1. I agree with most of your attitude, G4Dualie, but you’re mixing copyright and patent law too much. The US Patent Office doesn’t cover copyrights, so Disney and Mickey Mouse don’t have much to do with it (leaving aside the trademark issue there). Both copyright and patent law need serious reform, though. The current system does more to hamper creativity than to encourage it. That means the current system is defeating the supposed basis for Congressional authority to enact copyright and patent protections. Considering that both impinge on free speech rights, they need to be fixed. If they are acting against the very reason they were allowed to exist (and thus reduce freedom of speech), they could be viewed as illegitimate.

      Hmm. That wasn’t the most well-written comment. I hope my meaning is clear – I don’t have time right now to edit it.

      1. I’m not mixing anything. I’m speaking to the frustration on a personal level about Intellectual Property, which can be a patent, a trademark, or copyright, but most people have never heard of it and some of them even believe all ideas belong to the human race.

        The fact is, good ideas can come from anywhere, and what needs to change is the manner in which we recognize the good from bad.

        I don’t know that I have any trust in government to fix that office when it’s in their best interest to leave it messy, which may be perceived as room for growth and flexibility in the law.

        Which is precisely what people are capitalizing on, the systemic flaws. Which is a business ethic.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.