Summarizing IIPC’s recent Capitol Hill Conference IPWatchdog’s Steve Brachmann and Gene Quinn highlight a consensus assertion by its numerous panelist experts. In simple terms they repeatedly asserted that patents are property and were intended in our Constitution to be legally recognized as such. Patents are not privileges granted by sovereign whim as they were in England. That John Locke’s property ownership theory influenced the drafters of our Constitution is universally accepted by constitutional scholars and historians.The Patent Act reflected it. Yet this historic differential between patent property and privilege has been watered down by PTAB and the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in recent decisions holding that patents are simply “public rights”. As such patent holders are not entitled to the basic protections set forth in the Bill of Rights. SCOTUS has declined cert in earlier appeals from Federal Circuit public rights decisions. It is again considering a cert petition in a dispute involving the applicability of Art. III and Art. VII to PTAB’s proceedings.(Oil States Energy Services) Below are excerpts from a typically thorough Watchdog post highlighting the misleading big tech troll narrative’s pernicious influence on patent property rights.
“Although many of the industry insiders at the event held similar opinions on the current state of the U.S. patent system, bringing their message to a mainstream audience has been difficult. Much of this has to do with the “patent troll” narrative that has been forwarded by the efficient infringement lobby. As Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) pointed out at a recent Senate judiciary hearing on intellectual property as a driver of innovation, “whoever came up with that phrase [patent troll] should get a special bonus” because it has created a massive mischaracterization of patent owners asserting their rights.”
“If there are any trolls in the U.S. patent system, the IIPCC event made it clear that the true trolls are the giants taking concerted actions to weaken the U.S. patent system to the detriment of small inventors. If the American economy is to return to its prominence as the “innovation economy”, which has made this country great, control of the patent system needs to be wrested from the tech oligarchy and balance must be restored so that individual innovators and startups have a much greater chance to survive. Without the proper balance, American innovation will no longer come from a robust collection of property owners but, rather, a small group of sovereign tech monarchs who rule over a serfdom of companies who practice technology, but only with the express consent of the kings.”
Patents as property rights: What will it take to restore sanity to the narrative surrounding US patents?
By Steve Brachmann & Gene Quinn