from the oh-come-on dept
Back in April we warned about a truly terrible plan by some in Congress to obliterate the last few years of the Supreme Court fixing our broken patent system, and flinging the doors wide open to patenting genes, medical diagnostics, and software (all of which the Supreme Court has mostly rejected as abusive and monopolizing nature). One had hoped that after having explained to them how disastrous such a bill would be, that its backers might think carefully in crafting the final bill. Instead, Senators Tom Tillis and Chris Coons, along with Reps. Hank Johnson and Steve Sivers instead decided to double down with a bill that would massively stifle innovation.
They claim it’s to “restore predictability and stability” in our patent system, but that’s laughable. It is to massively increase the universe of patent-eligibility to include a wide range of things that almost anyone who understands innovation would consider it insane to allow patents to restrict. It would literally obliterate the three key Supreme Court cases that rejected patents on genes, medical diagnostics, and most software, and open the door to patenting “laws of nature,” “abstract ideas” and “natural phenomenon.” Really. It specifically says that:
No implicit or other judicially created exceptions to subject matter eligibility, including ?abstract ideas,? ?laws of nature,? or ?natural phenomena,? shall be used to determine patent eligibility under section 101, and all cases establishing or interpreting those exceptions to eligibility are hereby abrogated.
It would also bring us back to a world in which the default is everything is patentable:
The provisions of section 101 shall be construed in favor of eligibility.
No one doing actual innovation would support this. The only people who could possibly support this are patent lawyers and patent trolls. It will reopen the floodgates of bad patents and patent trolling, flooding the courts with bogus lawsuits on broad and vague patents against actual innovators. It is a dangerous bill that Congress must reject. We lived through nearly two decades of patent trolls destroying innovation while Congress twiddled its thumbs and did almost nothing to stop it. The Supreme Court finally stepped in (again and again and again) to stop the nonsense — and now these elected officials want to bring us back to such a world?