Jessica Karmasek Aug. 10, 2015, 12:29pm


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Last month, conservative groups began running ads aimed at stopping one of the more aggressive patent reform bills floating through Congress.

The groups -- the American Conservative Union, Club for Growth and Eagle Forum -- argue that the Innovation Act, or H.R. 9, will harm American inventors and small businesses while giving China a boost in the global marketplace.

The blitz began July 13 with full-page ads in both The Washington Post and The Washington Times, ahead of an expected U.S. House vote.

The ads read:

“H.R. 9: China loves it. Inventors fear it. The Founders would have hated it.

“H.R.9 is bad patent legislation. It treats universities, inventors and researchers as ‘trolls.’ It undermines American property rights set forth in Article 1 of the Constitution. And most harmfully, the bill could block patent holders from directly going after infringers who copy their inventions, making it virtually impossible to stop foreign knockoffs from China and elsewhere. Help keep our country’s competitive edge intact.”

Federal lawmakers have since hit the brakes on the House-introduced patent reform bill, delaying a vote until after the August recess.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte -- also the bill’s lead author -- has said he would use the extra time to “grow the supporters list even more.” He explained that some members still had concerns with the legislation.

Goodlatte, R-Va., faced a similar situation during the markup process. After delaying the markup and making various tweaks to the bill, it finally passed the House Judiciary Committee in June.

Pharmaceutical makers, biotechnology industries, universities, venture capitalists and patent licensors have continued to rail against the legislation, reintroduced by Goodlatte in February.

They contend H.R. 9 would dramatically weaken intellectual property rights and undermine the patent system.

“The patent legislation working its way through Congress is harmful to American innovation, inventors and small businesses,” said Dan Schneider, executive director of the American Conservative Union. “H.R. 9 weakens patents and property rights as guaranteed in our Constitution. And it gives a big assist to China in the global marketplace.

“We’ve yet to see any of President Obama’s massive overhaul proposals to produce good results. We don’t think this latest effort will be any better than Obamacare.”

Even if the bill passes the House, the groups contend it will face a “steep challenge” in the Senate.

“The timing could not be worse,” said David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth. “Our economy is still struggling. We have had one of the worst post recession recoveries in American history and we continue to teeter on the brink of another recession.”

McIntosh continued, “The American people need Congress to promote and pass pro-growth policies that help American innovation, not harm it. This legislation is anti-growth and stifles innovation.”

Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of Eagle Forum, agreed.

“This legislation undermines the Constitutional rights of American inventors and is destructive to future innovation,” she said.

“The GOP is pushing legislation that weakens our patent system and emulates China’s. This is both bad policy and bad politics.”

Schafly explained that China’s weak patent system has led to “rampant abuse” and stealing of many American inventions.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at patents@legalnewsline.com.

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