“Secure for Limited Times” Can Not Mean No Security Ever

Before the long weekend ahead we want to call your attention to two hurdles ahead as Congress considers the Coons-Cotton STRONGER Patents Act and SCOTUS considers PTAB’s constitutionality in Oil States.

 SCOTUS

When our Founders expressly established patent rights in the Constitution they underlined the document’s unique establishment of a new and different sovereignty for the US. It was to be vested by the people in a Constitution not by a deity in a king. Patent property rights were expressly defined and vested in the inventor whose labor produced it and were no longer subject to a royal grant or withdrawal pursuant to the king’s sovereign whim. Like the Constitution itself, patent property rights were based upon the property theories of John Locke. Congress was given the power to codify them but Congress could not completely cancel, replace, or repeal them by completely denying their exclusivity. In short Congress could set a time limit but could not do so in a way that allowed for no time at all to securely exercise the rights conferred.

By characterizing these constitutionally-established rights as “public rights” for their entire term anti patent advocates aver that Congress can amend their term. But even if that was the Founders’ intent because of the words “secure …for a limited time” Congress cannot eliminate them entirely. Nor can Congress create an administrative agency like PTAB by which PTO’s administrative examination powers enables PTAB to nullify those rights all the way to and through the end of a patent’s term. PTAB’s nullification powers up to and through the final nanosecond of a patent’s entire term is contrary to the express words of the Constitution.” Secure for Limited Times” cannot mean for no time at all. This matters because unless parent rights are property rights in which ownership can become settled for a limited time such patents cannot support investment in commercialization. Gene Quinn provides further chapter and verse in a link below.

Congress

In another recent IPW post pro-patent all-star Paul Morinville, describes Google-bro Issa’s recent smarmy dismissal of Professor Adam Mossoff’s property rights testimony and explanation of what is now referred to as the China syndrome as the Asian powerhouse strengthens its patent system while weaken ours. Apparently preferring re-election support from Google and friends, Issa (who just won a close election in a recount) stands firmly on both sides of the property issue. In Paul’s description of a recent hearing, Issa first champions patent property rights but later mocks Professor Mossoff’s refutations of proponents’ support of patents as public rights. As Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte’s anti-patent poodle, Issa can be expected to block (or even adversely amend) much-needed pro-patent progress in the House during this unusual session. If Senator Coons’ STRONGER Patents Act clears the Senate, Issa will do what its takes to sabotage its passage in the House.

Both obstacles are not insurmountable but they are formidable. Please take a moment to read Gene Quinn’s take on choosing a “patent as property” PTO Director and Paul’s post describing Google tub-thumper Issa’s oily duplicity on the issue and the China Syndrome. They both are linked below. 

Excerpt from Gene Quinn’s post on patents as private property rights.

“The Supreme Court has long stated patents are property rights, and the statute says they are to be treated as they are property rights. Taking property rights away with such a fundamentally flawed process is practically un-American… It is absolutely essential for the President to pick someone who believes patents are private property rights, not public rights. The next Director should also believe that as a property right title in a patent must at some point quiet in order for ownership to be certain and investment to be property incentivized, because without ownership questions resolved only a fool would invest the sums necessary to take most paradigm shifting, game changing innovation to market.”

Excerpt from the Morinville post on Issa’s dismissal of China 

“But, Issa wanted to hear none of that. At around 1:19.25 of the hearing, Professor Mossoff explained to the committee how a weakened U.S. patent system is pushing patenting, technology, venture capital, startups and jobs to China. Darrell Issa responded to Professor Mossoff’s analysis by mocking the Professor and laughing at his comments: “I’ll now note that I’ve now heard that China is the country that we’re going to base the high mark of (laughing) of patent (laughing) tolerance on.” Please take a minute to review this exchange. It fully illustrates the arrogance, and the extreme lack of knowledge and curiosity on the part of a very powerful lawmaker who is ultimately responsible for writing our patent laws.”