Most of us by now are familiar with the Coons Cotton Stronger Patents Act introduced a few weeks ago. If you have not yet caught up, it is a gem. At my Ipstrategic website, there are three levels of pertinent information including a sponsor press release and a summary of its provisions. We will not repeat them here. Suffice it to say that this artfully crafted proposed legislation restores much of the damage to our patent landscape recently inflicted by Congress and the Courts. It also addresses the troll issue in inappropriately targeted manner. The bill has intelligent bi-partisan backing. Until yesterday it had been the sole occupant of the center ring in the congressional patent law circus.
Yesterday Reps. Issa and House Judiciary Goodlatte initiated the Megatech response igniting a backfire in the House with a hearing designed to revive the tired troll narrative. Being in the majority, they selected three anti patent witnesses. Unfortunately for them, the one minority witness was Former Chief Judge Paul Michel whose knowledgeable testimony itself backfired on the Issa’s plan to counter the Senate bill. Judge Michel won the day with his deep understanding of patent law and policy. He made it clear that our patent system is in crisis and that patent restoration legislation must be enacted.
That means we now have to pass a bill over the objections of the incumbent mega techs and their Congressional water carriers. No small challenge! So far, the “politics” of this fight have gone their way. That will continue to be the case. Home state research universities themselves become a credible RESOURCE to their home state congressional delegations, by credibly explaining as Judge Michel did (see below) what is at stake and why it is important. Research universities can and must do so. Here’s why. . .
Continue reading Issa et al
We are seeing more negative press coverage of today’s digital dominance of our giant networked platforms who employ their free user-generated information to sell ads. Their natural monopolies do not trigger traditional anti-trust regulatory response because the anti-trust law is premised on concerns about consumer rent-seeking based on monopoly supported pricing power. In most circumstances, the consumer service and product pricing offered by these digital mega-techs is cheaper. But the anti-trust tide may be turning.The EU recently fined Alphabet (Google) for using its search dominance to boost sales of its other services. Newspapers are suing Facebook and Google over unlicensed use of their content. Even if these natural monopolies do not violate traditional anti-trust law, their leverage to benefit themselves in other areas even includes Congress and the US Supreme Court. One of their methods is to solicit academic support for their lobbying objectives.They have done so with arcane patent reform by academically validating their phony troll narrative. A long, well-researched Wall Street Journal article this week examined Alphabet’s (Google’s) practice of richly rewarding academic researchers whose “views” on policy just happen to support its DC lobbying agenda.
Continue reading AUTM and Google’s “Fake Views”
Despite its Alphabet’s (Google) motto “Don’t be evil”, the EU has just tagged them with a 200+ billion dollar fine for abusively using their search service to prioritize preferred listings .
Like the other four giant digital platforms whose wealth, power and data enormity are invitations to abuse their virtually users, Google will dispute the EU fine (and its additional order giving Google 90 days to present their plan to reliably clean up their act)
On its surface, this news item may be of remote interest to TTO’s and US patent holders. But as foreign venues clamp down on big tech their need to maintain bottom-line growth may heighten their abusive conduct here in the US. US Pro-patent interests are painfully familiar with the political clout of the big tech oligopoly. Will the US follow EU’s lead? So far Congress and SCOTUS are allowing themselves to be persuaded by big tech’s words, not their deeds.
At AUTM’s excellent presentation before a standing room only crowd of Hill staffers yesterday, Steve Sasalka referenced the US Chamber’s recent US 10th place world rating of patent strength. This is the result of recent anti-patent activities by Congress, the Courts, and the past administration. The AUTM panel outlined the latest reports
commissioned by AUTM and BIO showing the economic contributions of research universities. Steve was flanked by two startup panelists whose operating technology was based on academic research. Both were quiet, straight forward entrepreneurs, clearly not Hill advocates and were thus very persuasive. One of them startled this listener however when with calm and matter-of-fact earnestness he said that Europe was now a preferred patent venue over the US.
Continue reading AUTM’s Report Breaks Through the Fog on the Hill
Below are excerpts from an April 26 Forbes article noting an open letter from the Online, Property Rights Alliance to WIPO’s General Director urging that WIPO becomes more engaged by fighting worldwide economic abuse of IP protection. The letter is timely. WIPO’s annual commemoration World Intellectual Property Day is fine, but it is no longer enough. Significantly, it is signed by AUTM, signaling its wider engagement in defending the IP bedrock of TT commercialization not only here in the US, but throughout our global Info Age economy. From US patent weakening to international price caps on life science products worldwide, patent protected university TT commercialization capacity is under fire. Continue reading World IP Day
“For decades, America lost factories and jobs to China but retained a coveted title: the world’s leader in inventing and commercializing new products. Now, even that status has been eroded, and it’s hurting the economy. While the United States is still at the top in total investment in research and development – spending $500 billion in 2015 – a new Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study released Monday has made a startling finding: A couple of years ago, China quietly surpassed the U.S. in spending on the later stage of R&D that turns discoveries into commercial products. And at its current rate of spending, China will invest up to twice as much as the U.S., or $658 billion, by 2018 on this critical late-stage research. In other words, the U.S. Is doing the hard work of inventing new technologies, and China, among other countries, is reaping the benefits by taking those ideas and turning them into commercial products, the report says.” The quote above opens a recent article in USA Today. It refers readers to a Boston Consulting Group Study confirming China’s global leadership in later stage scientific research, our country’s penultimate scientific redoubt before surrendering our early stage research to China and with it, our remaining global economic leadership. Research university administrators sadly note that talented international students and faculty are no longer as attracted to US educational institutions as they once were. They are headed for China where government R&D support is accelerating while ours declines. Venture Capital development support is following them. Administration antipathy to foreign immigration and dwindling R&D expenditures share top billing among the reasons for this dangerous development. A similar lengthy Washington Post piece quotes a Facebook entry by Rep Mike Mulvaney in which he said about a bill dealing with Zika ” No one has written to me yet, to ask what might be the best question: do we need government-funded research at all?” Mulvaney now directs the Office of Management and Budget. R&D funding is dropping here while China’s is increasing.
In China “America First” translates into “China First.” How long will it take for our research universities to mobilize an effective response? The Study is informative. Its description of “friction” hampering tech transfer is worth mentioning. But the study fails to adequately emphasize the harm to our innovation ecosystem imposed by an under-informed SCOTUS and Congress. This is a problem research universities can solve. They must smooth their TT “friction,” and they must create budgetary conflict for the Trumps cuts to R&D. MIT’s President Reif is fighting back. Continue reading Saving US Basic Research
This week, Congressman Lloyd Doggett released the march-in letter we warned about several weeks ago. Its KEI sponsors then said they were waiting for things to “quiet down” before its release. We assume they tired of waiting. Rep. Doggett’s press release and letter (both linked below) is signed by 51 Democrat House Members and is addressed to President Trump. Misinterpreting Bayh-Dole, the letter demands presidential pressure on NIH to issue guidelines for the B-D price-based march-in order to enable compulsory licensing of prescription drugs. As Francis Collins has explained to Congress, the 1995 CRADA retraction episode conclusively proved that even the possibility of such price controls would deter the private investor research in university life science commercialization NIH needs to implement NIH’s life science mission. To prove his point Collins expressly pointed to the CRADA experience in the “90’s. Speaking at a more recent KEI conference on compulsory licensing, AUTM representative Ashley Stevens echoed Dr. Collins’ comments by emphasizing the Doggett proposal’s inevitable harm to research university education research and public benefit mission. Continue reading Rep. Doggett to Pres. Trump – Implement B-D Price-based March-in!
Whenever we ponder national security our optimistic focus is drawn to the Cold War’s “mutually assured destruction”. After all it worked. Who wants to die pursuing their future? Now suicidal “soloists”, North Korea’s propagandized puppets, and religious radicals seeking salvation by dying, clutter news coverage almost every day. Instinctively we hope deliberate martyrdom motivates a small minority of mankind. We blindly trust that most still think mass murder is immoral or at least unlikely to promote either human welfare or our own. Not so with microbes. They are here. Their mindless evolutionary pursuit of their survival here on earth s unrelenting. For microbes, there is only now. They are multiplying. And they are the perfect weapon for deranged minorities. Can self-proclaimed “germaphobe” Donald Trump ignore this issue? Will he expressly say again as millions die, “who knew”? Well, research universities know. Clearly NIH’s budget must be broadened not reduced.
A NY Times op-ed (March 25) headlined “The Real Threat to National Security” reiterates what Bill Gates warned two years ago, “of all the things that can kill more than 10 million people around the world the most likely is an epidemic stemming from either natural causes or bioterrorism.” NIH can fight them both but not alone and not without congressional support. Trump Administration proposals to significantly increase military expenditures within our discretionary 2018 budget, while slicing NIH by18 percent not only demonstrate his misdirected emphasis regarding overall national science priorities, cutting NIH is now unsound from a military perspective. As we argue below, research universities must engage more forcefully on this issue. Continue reading There Are No Microbe Martyrs
Bayh-Dole’s (B-D) commercialization of federally-funded basic research is the bridge connecting annual $130+ bn. congressional funding to its congressionally intended public benefits of jobs, economic development and scientific progress. This B-D bridge’s on-ramp is controlled by federal grant agencies, each with its own mission. Life science’s on-ramp is supervised by NIH. Its off-ramp exit is policed by the FDA. Life science’s high-risk commercialization crossing to the off-ramp is difficult, long and costly. Its chances of reaching and using the FDA managed off-ramp are statistically slim. Continue reading Elimination of Further R&D Funding
Joined by Joe Allen, Brien O’Shaughnessy, AUTM’s Steve Susalka spoke at Eagle Forum’s recent Capitol Hill Bayh-Dole presentation. For B-D enthusiasts it was truly a “gathering of eagles”. Steve’s clear explanation (above) was interesting, understandable, and persuasive. And it was timely. B-D’s miraculous record of economic, defense and medical progress is undeniably astounding. Its multiple enactment in other developed nations confirms its worthiness. The factual data in Steve’s presentation explain why since its enactment BD’s economic trend-lines on any graphic timeline have gone uphill; from the lower left to the upper right. But unless we all timely address other disturbing trends by explaining B-D to young staff and new members, these positive trendiness will reverse direction and start heading down. Continue reading AUTM’S New Congressional Efforts Are Off to a Great Start
Earlier this week those able to attend were treated to an excellent and important presentation on Capitol Hill discussing the Bayh-Dole Act. It was sponsored by Eagle Forum, whose recently deceased founder Phyllis Schlafly, was a tireless conservative defender of intellectual property. Eagle Forum’s Jim Edwards acted as Moderator. The panelist experts were; erstwhile B-D defender Joe Allen, AUTM’s Stephen Susalka and LES’ Brian O’Shaughnessy. The presentation was illuminating and informative. It definitely is worthy of broader circulation, especially to our congressional delegations. Continue reading Bayh-Dole Explained on Capital Hill