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Thursday, April 03, 2014
Apple, Pfizer, Microsfoft, Others Form Patent Lobby Group

A group of companies - Apple, DuPont, Ford, GE, IBM, Microsoft and Pfizer - have launched the Partnership for American Innovation (PAI) lobbying group aimed at pushing back at some changes to the patent system members of Congress have proposed.

The group is concerned about pending legislation aimed at fighting so-called patent assertion entities (PAEs) or "patent trolls," companies which buy up patents and then attempt to extract licensing fees or sue for infringement.

The proposed bill encourages judges hearing patent cases to require the losing party to cover the winners' legal bills, and also requires companies filing infringement lawsuits to detail which patent is infringed. It was passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December.

The members of the PAI share a common vision for a strong patent system that protects innovation in all fields of technology. They say that IP should be respected by all participants in the system and that USPTO must be properly funded to efficiently process patent applications and issue only high-quality patents.

Former U.S. Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) Director David Kappos, now a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, is a senior advisor to the group.

"As director of the USPTO, I saw firsthand the significant role the patent system plays in encouraging inventors, promoting investment in innovation, and creating jobs," Kappos said. "Now is not the time to gamble with America's innovation engine - once patent protections are eliminated, they cannot be restored."

"It is in our country's best interest to have a patent system that rises above short-term interests, and creates long-term gains for all sectors of the economy. We must move beyond rhetoric that 'the system is broken and trolls are bringing businesses to a complete halt' to a discussion of calibrated improvements for what is actually the best patent system our planet has," Kappos said.

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