What's our concern about weakening the patent system?
What's the Issue? As in every industry, there are a small number of bad actors trying to abuse the patent system, and we recognize that litigation abuse exists. But federal judiciary statistics show patent litigation makes up just a tiny share of civil lawsuits in this country. And a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study concluded in August 2013 that the vast majority of patent lawsuits are filed not by NPEs but by companies that manufacture products derived from their patents. That same GAO study attributed perceptions of a recent spike in patent lawsuits NOT to a new wave of lawsuits, but to new rules that changed the way patent suits are filed and officially counted. In fact, the patent litigation rate has remained virtually constant – hovering around 1.5% - for the past decade.
Why Change the Fundamentals of the Patent System? To certain companies all patent owners are threats, no matter how valuable their patents might be. Some companies want to remove the barriers of patents in order to reduce their overall costs and increase their corporate profits. This is particularly true in the technology sector.
But how can they undermine the U.S. patent system? One way is to grossly exaggerate an existing problem, which they have done by creating the impression that patent abuse is wreaking havoc on the system and pushing Congress to do something. We recognize that there are bad actors out there that harass companies with unnecessary litigation. Where there are abuses, we should adopt targeted measures to address those abuses, but we need to engage in a fact-driven debate.
Wasn’t the law just changed? Yes, the America Invents Act (AIA) was signed into law just over three years ago. Before enacting a whole new overhaul of the constitutionally authorized system that has fulfilled the Founders' goal of promoting innovation for more than two centuries, let's wait to see how the changes already under way play out.
We support a narrow focus.
See our stance on what changes are necessary for U.S. patent law.