A Sad Day For Patent Reform

I received this note in my inbox yesterday:

As you have possibly heard, earlier today, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, announced that he is tabling patent reform legislation that was supposed to come up for a vote tomorrow

This is a sad (hopefully temporary) end for the litigation reform efforts that had passed the House by an incredible, bipartisan margin and that the President mentioned in his most recent State of the Union Address.

In the last few days, we were seeing good compromise language coming out of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, specifically Senators Cornyn and Schumer, and were optimistic the bill would come to a vote quickly. But the committee chair can unilaterally stop legislation and Leahy has opted to do so. For what it’s worth, we’re hearing that we was pressured to do so by Senator Reid.

This means we likely won’t be seeing fee shifting and other important measures that would have helped protect startups from patent trolls this year.

This pisses me off. And I am not the only one who is upset about this. Rackspace has a great post up on their blog today.

Here is the deal. Information technology startups are probably spending hundreds of millions of dollars collectively on an annual basis fighting off patent trolls. This is a tax on innovation and, I would argue, borderline theft. It must come to an end.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Barry Nolan

    Probably a dumb ass question. Who’s fighting against patent reform?

    1. awaldstein

      Good question.It’s a dramatic change in itself so possible the gravity of the status quo and a lack of understanding of the depth of the problem.On the outside on this one so guessing.

      1. pointsnfigures

        If I read the Patent Reform Act correctly-and I am NOT a lawyer thank goodness-“first to file” favors aggressive corporations that file all kinds of bogus patents on all kinds of things to try and create a barrier to entry.

        1. awaldstein

          Thanks for that but I’m ignorant here.I thought that trolls (people on the hunt to drive payouts) were the larger suck on innovation that larger companies bolstering up their position.

          1. Elia Freedman

            I feel like anyone who files patents for something they aren’t actually using and then defends that patent against those who are is a troll. That means even MS, Apple and Google have committed trollish behavior, even if generally they are not themselves patent trolls.

          2. awaldstein


          3. Donald E. Foss

            I agree completely, but at the same time I understand that when you play a game, you must play by the rules of the game and counter your opponents moves, or just forfeit.

          4. LE

            Larger companies used to be the bogeyman. I remember in college the going meme was that a patent was worthless unless you had the money to defend it. A small inventor was screwed. Large companies just plundered and you went and pounded sand and couldn’t even fight them. Literally no sense in having a patent (unless you could get a company to license the patent). This is from memory (not stating it as absolute fact but throwing it out there for discussion).No surprise that inventors are against reform as it has, in a sense, with bad side effects, leveled the playing field. Pendulum has swung the other way.We had a similar situation a number of years ago with domain names and legal claims. Reform of a system that was bad for individual owners (essentially giving larger companies the right to grab someone’s name through proceedings) was killed by the IP lawyers. Obviously I would have supported something that I saw as better for my interests, that’s obvious. I don’t make money worrying about the other side and what is good for them.

        2. ShanaC

          Yup. I don’t know why that was done

        3. Robert Heiblim

          That was part of the compromise. Of course the bill is not perfect as none are, but it is progress. So yes, first to file does give large or well funded companies and advantage, but not necessarily one that cannot be overcome

    2. ShanaC

      Probably someone like Astra zeneca. They have very different patent needs. And they’re starting to use business process patents type technology for new chemical discovery

      1. Barry Nolan

        Thanks. Makes sense. I presume trial lawyers et al are in the mix there too. I also wonder does the likes of Google or MSFT lobby out of both sides of their mouth.

        1. Robert Heiblim

          Yes, trial lawyers and even those who earlier wanted the reform until they realized they would have to reform as well.

          1. Guest

            Patent law is exclusively federal and, interestingly, you need not be a lawyer to practice before the USPTO. So your lawyer shaming is misplaced. #TheMoreYouKnow

          2. Robert Heiblim

            You are correct, and of course to blame any group for something as a generalization is usually wrong. However, it is also true that trial lawyer groups have lobbied against this likely based on some principle as well as self interest. The comments are not meant to shame any save our representatives as it is their job to do.

          3. Guest

            I thought the problem was that start ups (which are never funded by wealthy entities like, erm, USV) voluntarily pay massive sums just to “make the problem go away” instead of having to, you know, deal with a trial. So again, not really sure what your fixation with “trial lawyers” is.Seems like the standard line ’round these parts is, on one hand, these claims are obviously frivolous, but on the other hand, start ups should reflexively pay gigantic sums to prevent the frivolous claim going to trial in which case it might turn out that the claim is…kinda…sorta…not frivolous…maybe?The judicial system has long had efficient ways to deal with frivolous claims — including sanctions for bringing frivolous claims.I often write companies demanding that they write me large settlement checks or I’ll take them to court. This strategy has never once worked. If it was that easy, people would sign up for that line of work quicker than signing up for and/or protesting ObamaCare!Only half of the “patent” “reform” story is told at a blog like this.

          4. Robert Heiblim

            Have you ever been trolled by a non practicing entity? You are aware that under current law without reform there is no need to disclose the patent they are saying you infringe so you have to pay up just to find out? If so, then I am not sure what point you are after. If not, then yes there is more to the story than you are noting.Please look at the practices of these NPEs and then comment on the angst of those looking for reform. Balance is indeed needed as patent holders do need protection but no one needs to be held up. Considering the costs of IP litigation the current scenario often has companies looking to pay rather than spend on the legal fees. No one supports infringement, but the number of suits has grown too large and too quickly to ignore. There are many things to reform in the system including the patent office itself so this is but one step.

          5. Guest

            Not sure what you’re talking about when you say the patent need not be disclosed. You have to disclose the patent. See Form 18. Not sure how else you could survive a 12b6 motion. Maybe you mean a party doesn’t need to point to a specific infringing product?On the other hand, why aren’t VC firms considered non-practicing entities in a broader sense? They don’t invent. They don’t operate. They just invest money. By Fred’s own estimate, over 2/3 of the investments fail. Sounds like an unnecessary tax to society. Should we ban VCs? Seems unnecessary, if you ask me.

        2. Aaron

          The patent bar represents a lucrative niche market. I’m sure that they and their firms engage in some amount of lobbying, but the major “trial lawyers” associations focus on very different issues, primarily consumer law, personal injury and product safety. For a bill like this to fail I agree with Barry Nolan’s intuition, that powerful industry groups are actively opposing it.

      2. btrautsc

        this makes a ton of sense. can medical/ chemical/ pharmaceutical patents not exist in a totally different sphere of the law though?even now, after 7 years “generic” tech companies can’t build a full replica of the iPhone and sell it…

        1. ShanaC

          that’s part of what makes this difficult. it would be much smarter if all the different players that are dependent on the patent system got in a room together to talk about patent reform.

      3. Aaron

        If you’re correct, perhaps the short-term solution is to focus on a reform bill that is limited to software patents.

    3. Robert Heiblim

      You would not be surprised. In addition to so-called non-practicing entities (trolls) are many who derive a lot of income from patents and even though they agree it is wrong, they only want change for others as they like the sure drip of money.

    4. Aaron

      In addition to the pharmaceutical industry, or similar industries (biotech?) with a similarly aggressive approach to patent claims and litigation, I suspect that the reform bill could be opposed by smaller companies who see the bill as giving an advantage to their larger competitors, by floundering companies that have little remaining value except in their patent portfolios, by companies that have spent gargantuan sums to build up a patent portfolio to use offensively or defensively against competitors and who don’t want to write down the value of that portfolio or give up a perceived competitive advantage…. I have read that universities expressed concern that the bill was over-broad; a quick Google search turned up a Politico argument (from 5/21) suggesting that universities remained unhappy with the Senate bill. The patent trolls themselves, of course, would oppose reform.

    5. Antone Johnson

      Not a dumb question at all, particularly given that “reform” means very different things to different people. Classic example of diagnosing the disease but having widely divergent views about the best treatment.The usual suspects are pharmaceutical companies, some biotech, and universities. Individual inventors and NPEs (“patent trolls”) also oppose reform for obvious reasons, but they’re more grassroots by nature. Tech startups and growth companies generally favor reform (if they understand the issues). Large tech companies are more divided; they’d love to get rid of the “tax” of endless patent suits by trolls and non-competitors, but also have amassed power and wealth under the current system with their vast patent portfolios.

    6. fredwilson

      The trolls and their lawyers

  2. RWK: disruptive tech/guerrilla

    Seriously. Patenting an idea to make it valuable with no intention of executing on it is legalized entitlement.

  3. pointsnfigures

    Bring it back after the mid terms. You’ll hopefully have a new Senate chair. Harry Reid is not a good leader.

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. But neither is McConnell

      1. pointsnfigures

        Right now statistically, it looks like he is going to get a chance. If the Republicans are smart (and that’s a stretch) they stay away from social issues and concentrate on spending.

      2. PhilipSugar

        That is a really poor argument and I am tired of it. I don’t care whether McConnell is or isn’t.That is the attitude that gets us what we get. If Harry Reid is a shit leader then he should be gone.Next up.But instead you defend a shitbag. You cannot tell me that is what you do at a company.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Good comeback. We also have to remember the President and Reid are the same party.

          1. PhilipSugar

            That is my point. I don’t fucking care. A shitbag is a shitbag.

          2. fredwilson

            yes indeed

          3. Dave W Baldwin

            As a late friend of family would say, “you send shit, you’ll receive shit…”I’m on a cruise in Alaska. Incredible.

  4. andyswan

    Reid is pay for play if there ever was one.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      So can you give us your “no play of pay” short list ?

      1. andyswan

        guys with last name of Paul seem to be alright.Wyden alright.Cruz as far as I know so far is pretty stable.That might be it. lol

        1. pointsnfigures

          The gentleman from Oklahoma who is retiring never paid for play, Senator Coburn.

  5. Humberto

    its interesting to see the flavours of your (entrepreneurship) causes.. – On some fights, you’re the one who wants to preserve the status quo (net neutrality)- On others, you’re the one pushing for change (liberalisation of rent/ services like airbnb and uber)I am probably on the same page on any of those topics, but i’d like to know what’s your deeper rationale for those. I mean what’s your angle? Always protect the little ones (as you said before, let them act freely and then regulate after some volume)?Clearly it can be argued some of your choices are pro-regulation, which is kind of a counternotion in the startup scene. And cherry-picking government intervention is wierd.

    1. vruz

      I can only speak to myself, but it seems clear that a few things that were built, and the wisdom that comes from a few lessons learnt in the past are worth preserving. Most importantly those which are in the public interest.

    2. Aaron

      I won’t speak for anybody but myself, but one measure that can be applied is whether a particular law or regulation is designed as a protectionist measure, keeping new or innovative competitors out of a market, or if it’s a bona fide consumer safety measure.There is not always going to be a clear distinction, but some basic examples include massage and hair braiding — there’s no evidence I have seen about massage- or braiding-related injuries in states that require practitioners to be licensed versus those that do not — the state-level monopoly typically granted to funeral homes on the sale of coffins, the state-level restrictions in many states that require auto companies (like Tesla) to open dealerships rather than offering direct sales…. Those regulations seem to be much less about consumer safety than about protecting established business and business models from competition.Where safety issues can arise, as with taxi-type services, it may be possible to create a regulatory environment that assures a reasonable level of safety while allowing the new business model to proceed. I was once awoken at a hotel by the police, “Did you hear anything unusual last night”, due to a homicide across the hall — we shouldn’t pretend that the status quo is perfectly safe in order to create a roadblock for novel but adequately safe alternatives.

    3. Antone Johnson

      Insightful comment. I’d like to think there is some logical consistency in taking the view (as I do) that regulatory barriers should be kept to a minimum, but some laws are essential when market failure is certain to occur (or has been documented). That tends to become more evident with larger companies and more mature industries. Much of it can also be predicted by economic theory — e.g., without any health or safety regulations, market forces (brutal competition) lead businesses to do the bare minimum, which causes outcomes we find unacceptable (child labor, cheaply built buildings collapsing, etc.).”Net neutrality” is a bizarre deviation from the generally libertarian ethos in tech. I think there’s a tremendous, heavily funded disinformation campaign going on right now; that’s the only way I can reconcile it. The consumer Internet has experienced consistent, explosive growth for the past 20 years — one of the greatest periods of wealth creation and empowerment of all time — WITHOUT legally enforceable “neutrality” rules in place. There’s a reason the term and concept were dreamed up by a media law professor, not a network performance scientist or economist or veteran business leader.

    4. LE

      Other than the fact that he writes a blog their is no requirement that Fred be consistent.He’s not a politician and nobody of any importance is going to cherry pick any particular contradiction to his detriment and blast it on a headline. Or talk about it on CNBC or MSNBC or Huffington Post.but i’d like to know what’s your deeper rationale for those. I mean what’s your angle?The angle is the game that he is playing, really what has impact on his investments. Or what he feels that people close to him (family) might hold near and dear as an issue.

    5. fredwilson

      Protect the freedom to innovate

  6. vruz


  7. jason wright

    “tabling” = shelving? what’s this demigod doing?

  8. William Mougayar

    So many tech issues facing regulatory challenges: patents, net neutrality, fast/slow lanes, NSA surveillance, etc.Maybe the industry needs to organize a huge event in Wash DC to educate the legislators at once, and be proactive about other ones that might be looming.

    1. vruz

      +1. Education, to put it mildly.

    2. awaldstein

      Good one.I do like the idea of moving some of the connections offline to events.Nothing drives a broader online community of interest than offline connections and nothing speaks to elected officials like a crowd.

      1. William Mougayar

        Maybe it’s a naive proposal, when compared with hard core lobbying.It’s a form of open lobbying that takes it to the physical world, not just via online advocacy.

    3. Matt Zagaja

      Many organizations and companies do this by hosting briefings and receptions on the hill that are attended by congressional staffers, so you’re certainly thinking in the right direction.Having local tech people meet with their congresspeople one to one at fundraisers or their office is also another good way to engage. I’ve been helping organize Civic Hack Night events in New Haven and we are having a Civic Hack Weekend event in New Haven next weekend. Since politicians see an engaged constituency they want to be involved and responsive. As a result we’ve seen more efforts to increase open data access on the state level and the politicians attend the event to get feedback on what they should do next or differently. Some want to learn and if you build that trust and relationship it makes it easier for them to advocate when they have the tools and information they need to do so.

      1. William Mougayar

        I’m thinking something big that gets noticed totally.

  9. Niv Dror

    I hope that the short-sidedness of government decision making will change before the current generation that’s grown up on/by the internet provides a “cleanse.” In the meantime, we can all enjoy Chris Hull’s (Life360 CEO) response to patent trolls from the weekend: https://twitter.com/chrishu

      1. Robert Heiblim

        But of course, he was served on this……

      2. LE

        My personal opinion is that while acting like a child may be satisfying to some people it’s not the way to win at something like this. If anything it sends a message that you don’t know the ropes. Better to just keep your mouth shut and not transmit your age and maturity level.All this is bad stuff of course. But this is not the right way to try to win at it.

  10. Nithin George Eapen

    Hope Fred Wilson and/or USV actively sponsor organizations that can bring legislative change

    1. fredwilson

      We are trying

    2. pointsnfigures

      A lot of the battle is gaining understanding of a very difficult issue. It’s really hard to sound bite patent trolls, or wrap it up in a bow so it’s easy to unpack and understand. There are lots of ramifications, and many of them will wind up in court.

  11. HisDivineOrder

    Did you really think they were going to do something? This is the US government. They practically get paid by the hour.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes I did. It felt real this time

      1. LE

        Failed strategy.It’s not unusual for people to feel that they have it “in the can” and as a result give up a bit on the effort. [1]You comment more or less confirms my suspicion in reply to what Van said in his blog comment:As recently as last night, we had high hopes that a meaningful reform effort would move forward this week.Van disputes that they let up on the effort at all (reply to a comment I made elsewhere).No one gave up. There was a “pencils down” compromise agreement between most parties as of yesterday. It was hard getting there, but it had support from almost everyone.However the ultimate failure and lack of understanding that something like this could even happen means simply that they didn’t really have a handle on what it would take to get this deal done.You know why?Because next time they will learn from it and approach it differently. They won’t believe they were as close as they were. Because they weren’t. They were flattened and blindsided by the other side. The other side did a better job. And they didn’t cheat either. They just knew the game better.Instead of whining about how it’s all unfair (it is of course but so what?) they need to regroup, learn from this and play the game better. And never ever underestimate the enemy. (There are various adversaries here and they very well might have to get closer to some of those to make this work).[1] Not a criticism of you this isn’t your full time job so you are limited in what you are able to do given your other obligations.

        1. pointsnfigures

          They needed to find someone that could carry the water besides the co-sponsors. Additionally, it’s an election year with midterms coming so elected officials tend to walk a really fine line. They don’t do controversial stuff, or what appears to be controversial stuff, now. Much better to push it off on a regulator.

  12. ShanaC

    I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere without chemical + biological companies involved

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      Maybe Monsanto has perfected some new form of legislative Roundup ?Which poisons unfriendly legislation with seeds of its own destruction !

      1. pointsnfigures

        hahahaha from farm country.

  13. JSal

    I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment that corruption has been imputed to many members of the government, and the liberty of the people has been bartered for promises of office.Andrew Jackson

    1. pointsnfigures

      George Stigler took the Chicago School’s “perfect markets” modelto its logical extreme when, in a 1992 article in the Journal of Law andEconomics, he declared that1) politics is just another market, complete with “buyers and sellersof legislation,” and2) all long-lived governmental institutions are therefore “effi-cient” by virtue of their having survived for a long time.1

    2. Will the Thrill

      It’s at least a little ironic that so many are getting all weepy-eyed and patriotic when the Patent Clause is more or less explicitly in, you know, the federal Constitution. This isn’t like reading words into “Due Process” or “Liberty” or “Speech” or “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” All these patriots for profit who have commented on this post should at least acknowledge that they want to “trample all over” our Constitutional rights. Thank god Kenya Hussein didn’t put forth this bill; the truthers would probably be pro-patent troll in such a world.

      1. JSal

        A beauty of the constitution is its implicit ability to be changed. This elasticity enables it to always be coupled to the will of the people it serves. Those crazy patriots for profit who wrote the thing were smart enough to know they didn’t know everything

    3. jon777

      Capitalism and corruption goes hand in hand.

      1. dweisburd

        And socialism and corruption do not go hand in hand?

        1. jon777

          Of course not. Socialism is democracy.

  14. Matt A. Myers

    What’s the alternate, or rather the solution, that would lead to the creation of the same innovations that these companies are wanting a monopoly on? Better organization and crowdsourcing information and funds?

  15. Sofia Caden

    People do not have horns, not even patent trolls. Not a fan of WWII style of dehumanizing people with “evil” caricatures. http://bit.ly/1nnCVkO

    1. PrometheeFeu

      Evil or not, patent trolls are a barrier to innovation and they have to go.

  16. SubstrateUndertow

    What a donkey !Male donkeys can be real jackasses 🙂

  17. JamesHRH

    It seems, quite often, that its not the political pressures or the self centeredness that screw up government.Its the stunning lack of problem solving.

  18. Robert Heiblim

    Yes, this is terrifically frustrating. I was in Washington DC and met with Senators Schumer, Menendez and Booker ( from my state) as well as others and this was several weeks ago. There is little disagreement, so this important topic is yet another political football. All of us, all of Americans, all entrepreneurs suffer while these games are played. Meanwhile, lawsuits are spiking and the money and pressure are warping what was consensus. There is no choice but to keep at it, and I and others will, but is this what we voted for? I guess so, but I did not.

    1. pointsnfigures

      If there isn’t disagreement, why would Reid block it? It seemingly had bipartisan support. The Senators you cite are all Democrats. Did you hop over to the other side of the aisle and speak with anyone?

      1. Robert Heiblim

        Yes. We spoke with staff from Cornyn and it seemed on track. What you want to see which is both sides a bit unhappy.

  19. Lee Blaylock

    Leahy is lying to the public. The votes are there in committee, it’s just that they were more Republican than Democratic. Harry Reid didn’t want a “Republican” bill to pass in a Democratic Senate. Very disappointing that this was so close and died for political reasons. The battle continues… If you live in Vermont or UT, make sure your voice is heard loud and clear. The tech industry is more important to innovation than the trial bar.

    1. Aaron

      That doesn’t seem likely, given that almost nobody pays attention to how a committee votes.

    2. fredwilson


      1. LE

        This is all behavioral. Politics is the art of compromise and this is the way the game is played. In no way can you win by expecting the game to be different and simply the right thing to happen. People have egos and want credit and have all sorts of reasons for behaving the way they do. And all of that makes total sense.I mean what does anyone expect Leahy to do? Tell the truth? Look at what happened to Donald Sterling when he said what he really felt.

  20. Alex Wolf

    Fred, politics aside, as a financial issue you are looking at the back end, after filing, no? What about the front end and making patent decisions?How many small startups do you know that are “IP rich” in this way, and for whom paying to file their patent is a big chunk of their first couple of years’ budget?I would be an example of that – the money, and the time, invested in a patent we felt well worth it approached double digit percentage of our available cash. #verybootstrapped

    1. fredwilson

      We dont see many if our portfolio companies investing in patents

  21. Brett

    Our government continues to fail us on nearly every level.

  22. sigmaalgebra

    Thanks for the post and the fight.In time the trolls might come after my ass also.I’ll be tempted to call my good friend and legalexpert Vito Corleone. His fees are quitereasonable; the “millions” would go a long way withhim.From the movie, ‘Armageddon’ (1998):A.J.: You’re pissed. Okay, I can see that.Harry Stamper: No. You know what, A.J.? I’m notpissed. You’ve seen me pissed. This is way, waybeyond pissed, though.

  23. Eggward Saladino

    Come and visit us at:dreggstah(dot)tumblr(dot)com

  24. Antone Johnson

    There aren’t that many wealthy entrenched interests opposed to patent reform. Big Pharma and universities are the main ones that come to mind. It’s a non-issue for the vast majority of trial lawyers, who will never touch a patent case in their careers. (They are a lobbying force to be reckoned with on legislation related to personal injury, insurance, auto safety, etc.)I have to think it’s more political theater than anything else. Remember it’s an election year.

  25. jonathan hegranes

    terrible news, for sure.but my favorite thing about topics like these (patent reform, nsa spying, etc) is that they cross traditional red/blue party lines.as a long time independent who has been ‘wasting’ my vote for years, i love seeing people from both republican and democratic parties join forces and fight important issues like these. not only are they worthy, but they also bring light to the silly two-party system that so many of us abide by.we cheer for our party, when in reality we only like a small percent of what they stand for… or in other cases, just don’t like the other party’s stance. but increasingly i see people breaking away from these traditional party lines.just like we want to unbundle our cable, i think we’re seeing the same thing start to play out in politics.

  26. Alex Frommeyer

    No one likes patent trolls and I agree that they should (and ultimately will) be eliminated.However, the ‘comprehensive’ patent reform bill proposed is very broad and gives tons of leverage to large companies and large patent portfolios. This is also bad for startups, and bad for innovation. A simple case of over-correction via lobbying. I wrote about this a couple months ago here: http://uproarlabs.com/the-i…Also, it is important not to wear only the lens of an IT company here. Startups who lean heavily on their IP, like biotech, cleantech, or hardware, must be able to protect themselves against their well funded incumbents. University research and tech transfer is also sensitive to this.

  27. Dasher

    ‘First to practice’ is the way to go to adress patent trolls and large corporations sitting on patents without using them.

  28. Sinjin Lee

    Thanks for the post Fred. What a pitiful impediment to innovation is right. Instead of putting gas on the fire of creation – it seems that our government has elected to erect barriers.

  29. brian_newman

    I assume you’ve seen the great video Kirby made on this issue, but just in case: https://www.youtube.com/wat

  30. Dasher

    My comment never got posted so retrying again.changing patents to ‘First to practice’ would be a good way to make the trolls and large corporations filing and sitting on patents without using them in products.

  31. hypermark

    Considering that we couldn’t get ANY form of gun control laws passed after numerous school massacres and public shootings; couldn’t institute ANY meaningful reforms or consequences after the great recession; and have basically removed all restrictions on campaign contributions, why should patent reform be any different?I don’t mean to sound snarky, but rather to suggest that petitions and blogs are akin to bringing a knife to a gun fight. The outcome is rarely pretty.At some point, we need to come up with the ‘Moneyball’ equivalent of institutional reform. In other words, a fundamentally different approach is required, based up different metrics and different tactics.After all, Congress (and the President – all presidents) will do what gets them elected; keeps them from getting un-elected; keeps them getting funding; and feathers their nest for a post political life as a: A) Lobbyist; B) White shoe law partner; or C) Special partner in venture capital or private equity.That’s the invisible hand of self-interest at work.

  32. Dasher

    Talking about patents you should watch this funny take from Stephen colbert on amazon:http://thecolbertreport.cc….

  33. Dasher

    The Colbert ReportGet More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,The Colbert Report on Facebook

  34. PrometheeFeu

    You ready to put your money where your mouth is? Fund a primary challenge. Get together with other VCs and make an announcement you’ll fund whomever is willing and able to take on Leahy. He is up for reelection in 4 years. Or better yet, pick somebody who opposes patent reform and is vulnerable this year and flood their opponent with money (also network with engineers and statisticians and have them volunteer their time on that person’s campaign) and announce it’s just the beginning.

  35. opc10

    Hi all, i’m not very familiar with Patent laws, but hate to cast doom and gloom, but i think it is all going the way of music, film, media, tv, etc.To put it harshly, its a fugazi. Ideas are thin air. Like Music, film, etc it is an art form. And art is meant to be shared and enjoyed. No one ‘owns’ it.The music industry fought the ridiculous, and fast becoming outdated, idea of copyright. They lost. Miserably.Why? They were greedy on 2 counts.They built a model based on thin air. Copyright.They forced artists, consumers into a model of their choosing, with no other options. We’ll copyright, dictate distribution, radio, etc.And sure, it made them rich. It created huge industries built on a fugazi. Employed people, made artists ridiculously rich. The size of which they didnt deserve. (Please don’t retort with ‘do you want them to do it for nothing’? Thats not what i said. And irellevant).And when the public spoke, and basically said “stuff you, we’re not paying for art, unless its genuine, we’ve had a chance to listen to see if we like it, and really we should only pay for live performances.” . Right or wrong? Doesn’t matter. That ship has sailed.And what did the record companies do? Instead of realising their greedy ideas had run their course, they fought a losing battle. It was like watching a couple of bullies trying to fight the oncoming masses with paper swords.So now they’re gone (In their past form). Thank God. But the only real casualties are the employees in those industries. Harsh, but reality.But when you build an industry on a house of cards, eventually it will come crashing down.The pattern is repeating for film, and media. Protecting Content! Protect Copyright. Protect the artists! Please. It should be “protect our arses, because we know whats coming”.They will soon be morphed into a realistic, FAIR, and acceptable model for the public to consume.Software, patents, etc will follow suit.So, see the writing on the wall. Spend your money and energy on looking to the future. Innovate, don’t legislate. You will perish if you don’t.Copying isn’t theft, and it isn’t piracy. Same with patents.It’s what we did for millennia until the invention of copyright, its an antiquated remnant of a censorship system from the sixteenth century.It stifles creativity, sharing, collaboration. And promotes secrecy, mis-trust, crime.And please don’t shoot the messenger. It’s the public that has spoken. In America, and around the world. It’s a revolution of sorts. A kind of uprising, if you will, against the power and greed of many corporations and self interest bodies benefitting from outdated, greedy laws.The public has pretty much deemed these laws of ‘ownership’ should not apply to thin air.The ‘on the street’ evidence?A few years ago, ppl used to be apologetic, make excuses, side step, etc when challenged if they ‘download’. Now its not an issue. The moral discussions are nearly gone. The ship has well and truly sailed.So don’t sell the old ‘you are hurting the artists/creators’, or ‘its theft’ line.The people don’t buy it.So don’t blame me. Blame everyone. It IS going to happen,Brace youselves…

  36. gettinjaggiwithit

    A break down of Senator Leahy’s statement on the tabling of the bill: http://news.rapgenius.com/S

  37. Lexi Mize

    This issue of party favoritism vs meaningful law impacts every legislation that would actually heal this country, the tabling of this patent reform bill being a classic example. There is a way however to cure government of these ills — convene a state based Constitutional Convention and enact these three Amendments:1) Corporations are not People2) Non-sequential terms for Congress3) Campaign contributions, per candidate, per year, fixed at 1/365th of an average worker’s annual gross income.1) Patents are controlled and used as blackmail mostly by corporations which are legally acknowledge as ‘persons’ in the law. The Constitution was written for and about natural persons solely.2) Congresspersons spend 1/3 of their time campaigning for their reelection. Eliminate reelections by forcing term retirement — after every term — but allow reelection during subsequent election cycles. Patent control lobbyists must therefore attempt to enjoin fresh relationships every term rather than nurture decades old ones.3) A natural campaign contribution limit should be based on an average Citizen’s capacity to donate. One day’s gross pay, paid to any one candidate, per year, is an obvious and natural limit.Congress will NEVER pass such amendments. Only a state based Constitutional Convention can accomplish this task.

  38. John

    Researcher vs Troll?My personal thought (having seen the debate from several sides) is “Is the patentable solution obvious?” and “Does it solve a problem in a novel way?” The answer to these questions is usually NO, and these patents shouldn’t be granted. Research for a non-obvious solution leading to a patent doesn’t necessarily mean troll. That is where the “What problem does this patent solve?” test should come in.As others have suggested, my suspicion is that a pharmaceutical company lobbied to stop the reforms because this would make it harder to file evergreen patents for existing drugs. Perhaps applying the “What problem does this patent solve?” test to pharma patents would allow for legitimate research derived patents, but not bogus patents on older drugs.If the research indicates a certain molecule type works for a certain condition(problem), if its novel enough, they should try and patent it. The proof should be based on “is it a non-obvious solution for a skilled practitioner” and not a quirk of molecular chemistry.