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Industry Group Sends Letter to Congress on Patent Reform

Written by on Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Patent Baristas and Peter Zura’s 271 patent blog reported today on the industry group letter that went out today to Congress on patent reform.  Sent by the Innovation Alliance group,  comprised of a number of California biotech companies, venture capitalists, and universities, the Letter to Congress was addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader , and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

An excerpt from the Letter to Congress states as follows:

[We] support The Innovation Agenda’s call to improve intellectual property protections, strengthen the patent system, and end the diversion of patent fees. . . . However, we strongly believe that certain provisions, such as those dealing with apportionment of monetary damages for patent infringement, expansive PTO rule making authority, an open-ended post grant opposition system, and a narrow grace period will not strengthen our patent system but instead will fundamentally undermine patent certainty, discourage investment in innovative technologies, and reduce publication and collaborative activities among academic scientists.

For companies (directly, and as university licensees) in industries such as ours, the consequences – greater bureaucracy, inability to rely on valid patents, weakened protections against infringement and a decreased access to capital — would be devastating. The harm to investment in tomorrow’s technologies would be felt immediately, and would hurt U.S. competitiveness for years to come. As the U.S. presses for strong patent protections abroad, Congress should preserve strong protections at home, so that we retain our competitive edge in the global economy.
It is too early to see what kind of an impact this letter made on Congress, but speaking on behalf of the California biotech industry, I am pleased to see that we are putting our voice into the debate and making our position known. We need to continue being so vocal as the debate goes forward.

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