09.15.10

Bipartisan Group Of Senators Urge Action On Patent Reform Legislation

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010) – A bipartisan group of 25 Senators Wednesday sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) urging him to schedule a vote on the bipartisan Patent Reform Act.  The legislation will make the first reforms to the nation’s patent laws in more than 55 years, and will update the patent system to improve patent quality and increase certainty among parties in litigation.

Leading signatories to the letter include Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), as well as Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the lead Republican cosponsor of the patent reform legislation.  Leahy and Hatch have teamed together in each of the last three Congresses to introduce patent reform legislation, and in March 2009, they introduced the Patent Reform Act.  The Judiciary Committee reported the legislation in April 2009, and this past March, Leahy, Sessions, Hatch and others announced a bipartisan compromise aimed at addressing stakeholders’ concerns.

“A well functioning and efficient patent system is critical to American invention and innovation, which are the cornerstones of our economy and job creation,” the Senators wrote.  “Patents granted represent jobs for the American people – jobs developing and producing new products and services, jobs bringing these products and services to the market, and jobs selling these products and services to consumers here and abroad.  Strengthening our patent system and spurring innovation and investment is an action we should take now to stimulate our economy.” 

The letter concludes, “Patent reform is bipartisan legislation, supported by the Administration, that will improve the economy and create jobs without adding to the deficit.  We urge you to schedule the Managers’ Amendment for debate as soon as possible.”

In remarks last week, President Obama underscored the importance of an effective patent system, stating, “We see a future where we invest in American innovation and American ingenuity; where we export more goods so we create more jobs here at home; where we make it easier to start a business or patent an invention; where we build a homegrown, clean energy industry -- because I don’t want to see new solar panels or electric cars or advanced batteries manufactured in Europe or Asia.  I want to see them made right here in the U.S. of A by American workers.”

The administration has indicated its strong support for the managers’ amendment to the Patent Reform Act.  The compromise is also supported by a diverse group of industries and stakeholders, including: The Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Microsoft, IBM, PhRMA, Genentech, Association of American Universities, American Intellectual Property Law Association, AdvaMed, Dow Chemical Company, ExxonMobil, Bose, AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, Association of University Technology Managers, the National Association of Manufacturers, National Venture Capital Association, Kodak, Pepsico, and independent inventors.

Joining Leahy, Sessions and Hatch in signing the letter were Senators Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), George LeMieux (R-Fla.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Roland Burris (D-Ill.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

The full text of the letter follows.  A PDF is also available online.

# # # # #

September 15, 2010

The Honorable Harry Reid                                        

Majority Leader                                                          

United States Senate                                                 

S-221, U.S. Capitol                                                   

Washington, D.C. 20510                                           

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

We request that you bring the Managers’ Amendment to S. 515, the Patent Reform Act, to the Senate floor for consideration as soon as possible. 

A well functioning and efficient patent system is critical to American invention and innovation, which are the cornerstones of our economy and job creation.  Patents granted represent jobs for the American people – jobs developing and producing new products and services, jobs bringing these products and services to the market, and jobs selling these products and services to consumers here and abroad.  Strengthening our patent system and spurring innovation and investment is an action we should take now to stimulate our economy. 

The bipartisan Managers’ Amendment to S. 515 released by the Judiciary Committee would speed the patent application process, reducing the three-year wait that inventors must endure before obtaining their patents and securing the funding needed to place new products on the market.  This comprehensive patent reform legislation would also allow the public to bring forward relevant information to the USPTO during the patent examination process and after the patent has been granted, improving the clarity and quality of patents and providing greater confidence in their validity and enforceability.  The Managers’ Amendment would also move the U.S. patent system into greater harmony with the rest of the world and bring greater predictability to patent infringement litigation, enabling inventors and businesses to dedicate more resources to inventing and bringing those inventions to market. 

Patent reform is bipartisan legislation, supported by the Administration, that will improve the economy and create jobs without adding to the deficit.  We urge you to schedule the Managers’ Amendment for debate as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

PATRICK LEAHY                                         JEFF SESSIONS

United States Senator                                 United States Senator

HERB KOHL                                                  ORRIN HATCH

United States Senator                                   United States Senator

ARLEN SPECTER                                         JON KYL

United States Senator                                United States Senator

SHELDON WHITEHOUSE                           RICHARD G. LUGAR

United States Senator                              United States Senator

AMY KLOBUCHAR                                      THAD COCHRAN

United States Senator                                United States Senator

EDWARD E. KAUFMAN                              CHRISTOPHER S. BOND

United States Senator                             United States Senator

JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN                               SAM BROWNBACK

United States Senator                               United States Senator

BILL NELSON                                               RICHARD BURR

United States Senator                                  United States Senator

FRANK LAUTENBERG                                ROGER WICKER

United States Senator                             United States Senator

ROBERT MENENDEZ                                  GEORGE S. LEMIEUX

United States Senator                               United States Senator

SHERROD BROWN                                      ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr.

United States Senator                                 United States Senator

CLAIRE MCCASKILL                                  ROLAND BURRIS

United States Senator                               United States Senator

KIRSTEN E. GILLIBRAND

United States Senator

cc:  The Honorable Mitch McConnell

# # # # #

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693