In 2013, The Innovation Act that passed so overwhelmingly in the House died that year on the Senate side. You will recall that it was designed to protect big tech’s efficient infringement business model further. It reappeared in 2014, passed Judiciary Committees in both bodies but died without a floor vote when the session ended. Recent developments suggest that it may rear its ugly head again. Congress is woefully undereducated on the workings of our innovation ecosystem. As demonstrated by the Senate Armed Services Committee’s unanimous support for Senator Angus King’s price-based Bayh-Dole march-in proposal, folks the Hill do not understand why adding politically-driven compulsory licensing based on an abstract and unpredictable price calculation formula will deter commercialization in of life science research grants. Would pre-investment due diligence preceding investment in an Alzheimer’s defeating therapy include an estimate of how long it would be before its successful development triggered price-based march-in? You bet it would.
Add to that the recent troll revival hearing chaired by Darrell Issa. Fold-in recent White House appointments of ominous IP policy influencers whose past associations with anti-patent legislation point convincingly to the eventual Hill arrival of new barriers to patent enforcement. The Hill’s recent chaos has added to reelection anxiety. Well-meaning but worried and uneducated congressional incumbents need only accept once more the tired troll narrative deployed by big tech lobbyists and campaign financial supporters to assuage their campaign financial fears.
The August congressional recess may be home state research universities’ last chance to explain B-D to readers’ congressional delegations. Unless they do when the recess ends, we will again be playing an “away game” in Congress. If you need more, convincing read Gene’s excellent post.