Once More With Feeling: Patent Reform Introduced, And This Time The Trial Lawyers May Not Be Able To Kill It

from the will-it-make-a-difference dept

This was widely expected, but Rep. Goodlatte has now officially re-introduced his patent reform bill, which largely mirrors the one that sailed through the House with ease a little over a year ago (in part because they took out some of the key parts). The Senate bill was a bit stronger and was on the verge of passing until the trial lawyers called up Senator Harry Reid, and had him flat out kill the bill, despite widespread bipartisan support. As we noted at the time, it seemed like the trial lawyers may have miscalculated, because it was already clear that the Republicans were likely to gain control over the Senate in the 2014 elections (as they did), and they were not interested in bowing down to the trial lawyers.

Hopefully that means that a decent patent reform bill will actually make it through Congress this time around, but it still seems likely that, while it may help around the edges, the final bill probably won't be strong enough to fully solve the problems. Still, it's a good step forward, and at the very least, in clearing out some of the problems with the current system (often highlighted via trollish behavior) it will shine the light on remaining problems in the system.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:30pm

    Patron Saint of No

    The Patron Saint of No can't kill this bill anymore. Follow the money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:34pm

    Microsoft and IBM convinced Goodlatte to give up on the business method patent reform. But didn't the Supreme Court essentially kill that type of patents in the Alice ruling? So why wouldn't the Republicans reintroduce that into law now? Doesn't Congress follow Supreme Court's rulings?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:43pm

      Re:

      If congress makes a law and it is not found unconstitutional nor illegal, the SCOUS is bound to follow the law made.

      Many, many, times you will hear courts say that it is not up to them to write the laws, merely to enforce what is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:39pm

    Patent Abolition

    The only real reform required to the patent system is to abolish it altogether. It is kept alive by various bad actors, such as patent lawyers and the pharmaceutical industry. The patent trolls are the patent lawyers in disguise. The intellectual justification for the patent system is based on the myth of inventors surviving on their licensing revenue. Such inventors are an extinct species, so no economic loss would be incurred by failing to provide them with a government-granted monopoly. How many papers do economists have to publish showing that the cost of the patent system far exceeds its benefits? The patent system kills start-ups at their most vulnerable time. Over 99% of all patents are junk patents. Politicians are always claiming they are about "jobs, jobs, jobs", but they never fix the huge job-killing mess that is the patent system.

    If the cost of something exceeds its benefits, then do not do it. Just stop it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 4:40pm

      Re: Patent Abolition

      Yes but that would require a constitutional amendment. Good luck with that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Aaron Wolf (profile), 7 Feb 2015 @ 12:08am

        Re: Re: Patent Abolition

        Patent Abolition would *not* require a constitutional amendment. The constitution does *not* mandate that we have patent law, it merely *permits* congress to enact it. It's not required. So it could be abolished with a simple law.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      dae, 7 Feb 2015 @ 2:55am

      Re: Patent Abolition

      this may not be suprising but I'm a Small d democrat who LIKES trial lawyers for the most part See: Here: http://www.salon.com/2004/07/13/lawyers_3/

      what happened to Valerie Lakey was Terrible and if it hadn't been for John Edwards the Corporations who made those pool drains would have had NO incentive to clean up their Act but as far as Patents are concerned I agree with you whole heartedly and I'm tired of Libertarians on the matter because too many of them are too scared shitless to do the only Decent thing and Abolish the Entire !@#$ING patent system. Just. Kill. It. That's the only real Reform. Ideas should be free.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Seegras (profile), 12 Feb 2015 @ 3:03am

        Re: Re: Patent Abolition

        Uhm, I think the Libertarian position on patents must be to abolish them.

        They're monopolies given by the state that allow the holder to tell you what you can't do with your property.

        There's just no way you can support any patent-system and claim you're a libertarian.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    madasahatter (profile), 6 Feb 2015 @ 5:01pm

    The Constitution allows Congress to enact or not enact both patent and copyright legislation. The requirement is that both are for the advancement of the arts and technology.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2015 @ 6:13pm

      Re:

      In constitutional language, copyrights are associated with "science" and patents are associated with "useful arts".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Aaron Wolf (profile), 7 Feb 2015 @ 12:09am

        Re: Re:

        Where do you get that interpretation?? There's nothing clear about the constitution in terms of which law refers to which part of the Progress clause…

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2015 @ 9:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          From being a student of US and international legal history, reading the Federalist Papers, reading the writings of luminaries such as Madison and Jefferson, studying innumerable treatises and published research, studying court decisions, and a middling familiarity with rules of grammar. FYI, at the time the Copyright Act of 1790 was enacted, the term "science"" was used I reference to "knowledge/learning" and "progress" was a reference to the encouragement of such knowledge/learning. When the federalist papers first reported debates associated with what became Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, the debates centered around the encouragement of science by the grant of certain rights to authors by the federal government (at the time such rights were conferred by states with the encouragement of Congress during the period of time associated with the Articles of Confederation). Only later did the grant of right to inventors in association with the useful arts enter into the debate.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    got_runs? (profile), 7 Feb 2015 @ 8:44am

    >_

    The Repubs will put a poison pill in it. They just can't help themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2015 @ 4:32pm

    Nice catch Mike

    Nice catch, this one went by me. The truth is, until all software patents are banned outright none of us are safe from commons-destroying litigation. I wonder if there is a good resource that lays out what different nation's sw patent laws are, similar to the maps of data-mining privacy laws that are out there.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 9 Feb 2015 @ 6:45am

      Re: Nice catch Mike

      [Sad but true]

      Until "the tragedy of the commons" means, once again, that selfish greed is a bad, bad thing, nothing is going to change.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 1:56pm

    Worse than nothing?

    Still, it's a good step forward, and at the very least, in clearing out some of the problems with the current system (often highlighted via trollish behavior) it will shine the light on remaining problems in the system.

    Isn't it possible this will lead Congress to believe they've "fixed it" and now we won't get a real reform bill for a long time?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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