The Ongoing Spin: Who’s to Blame for Patent Reform Efforts Derailing?

Monday, Jun 9th, 2014

If it’s consistency you seek, the people and companies promoting patent reform have certainly delivered. They have an uncanny ability to identify the “bad guy” and play out that storyline whether it’s based in fact or not. Since the latest efforts at patent reform were put on hold a couple of weeks ago, we have learned of two potential sources of villainy: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and those pesky Trial Lawyers (so easy to hate).

Until today, that narrative has been the only one we’ve seen the media roll out to explain why the bill was stopped in its tracks. Majority Whip Dick Durbin finally stepped out in front of this misinformation train to set the record straight in Politico, “The trial lawyers did have concerns, and I shared them,” Durbin said. “But it was also concerns from universities, from small patent holders and from large companies across the board. To say this is a trial lawyer issue is definitely wrong.”

Oh come on Senator Durbin, it’s much easier if we can point to one villain. Not hundreds or thousands of legitimate stakeholders who might actually care about the patent system and what it does for research, innovation, investment, manufacturing and job creation.

We recognize there are individuals and companies exploiting the patent system in ugly ways. We support seeking ways to end their behavior. But taking a complex subject and dumbing it down to a simple black and white issue (trolls vs. small businesses, Trial Lawyers vs. a myriad of organizations) is not the way to ensure America continues to be the world leader in innovation.

We applaud Senator Durbin for shining the light on an ongoing campaign to mislead the public.