David E. Boundy, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel Intellectual Property at a well-known financial services firm, in Boston MA, has asked patent practitioners around the country to post information about the patent bill now in its final stages of consideration by the U.S. Congress. The patent lawyers at Lipton, Weinberger & Husick have regularly devoted space to this topic in our monthly newsletter. Because the stakes are so important, we have agreed to reproduce Mr. Boundy’s letter in full. Although directed to attorneys, anybody with an interest in the U.S. patent law — that includes inventors, small businesses, technology companies and citizens — should also take heed. Here is Mr. Boundy’s letter:
Dear fellow patent attorney:
I need your immediate assistance to help defeat a particularly bad patent bill now in its final stages of consideration by the U.S. Congress. You have seen the blogs and emails explaining how the America Invents Act (formerly the Patent Reform Act of 2011) will dismantle our carefully-balanced patent system, the system that has made America the innovation engine for the world. The bill is bad for America, bad for your clients, and bad for you as a patent attorney. Other countries innovate at half our rate. The multinationals want to “harmonize” our laws with those unsuccessful systems for their own convenience. This bill imposes about $1 billion in costs by taking away options that domestic American businesses use, to save a comparatively trivial amount for the Patent Office and a small number of multinational corporations.
The appendix to this letter outlines the proposed law and how it will significantly damage our clients, our profession, and our country.
Because this bill has passed the full Senate and the House Judiciary Committee, it could be enacted within weeks. The big multinational corporations have plowed untold sums of money into lobbying, and have the bill they want. It’s essential that Congress hear from domestic American businesses and inventors, and hear from them now. Congress desperately needs to learn from small businesses and startups how they actually use the patent system to create new products, jobs, and wealth.
Congress is on recess until May 2, and your Representative will be in your district. This is your best opportunity to inform your Representative that this bill will destroy American jobs by making it impossible for startups, small companies, and university spinoffs to protect the inventions they create, to obtain the funding they need to commercialize their inventions, and to earn the profits they need to grow new R&D-intensive businesses.
Go to www.house.gov to find your Representative’s contact info. To schedule a meeting, many offices will want you to FAX in a request letter. Second best is a phone call to your district office (not the D.C. office). Third best-and far less effective, but better than nothing-is an email. www.reformaia.org can help you with some of these contacts.
Ask your clients to join you at a meeting, or at a minimum, to call or write. This letter is accompanied by a “script” you can give to clients for them to make their calls. Your representative should simply vote the bill down-overall, the bill does more harm than good, regardless of any other changes that might be incorporated.
If you live in Ohio, call Governor Kasich’s office, (614) 466-3555. Point out that the governor’s $700 million Ohio Third Frontier jobs program cannot work, and that the Innovation Ohio Loan Fund will be not be repaid, if the federal Patent Act is changed to deter investment in university spin-offs and startups, and to make it harder for new businesses to succeed.
Please take the opportunity to meet or phone, or at least email your Representative. (A phone call has several times the weight of an email, and a meeting will have many times the impact of a phone call). You will be more likely to get a personal meeting, and you will have far more impact, if you as an attorney bring one or two of your clients with you. Stay away from patent jargon, because the person you talk to will almost certainly know nothing about patent law. It’s crucial that you discuss the effects of the bill in terms of destruction of innovation, jobs, start-up businesses, and the like, issues that a Representative or staffer can relate to. Urge your clients to join you for a meeting.
It’s crucial to act now. Please help preserve our gold standard patent system, one of the biggest engines of job growth in the U.S., and part of the reason U.S. attorneys can create so much more value for their clients than our counterparts in the countries to which Congress proposes to “harmonize.”
(212) 294 7848, PatentProcedure@gmail.com