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June 27, 2008


Horrible. Now you can buy your way to the patent rights and remedies of your choice. Is anything not for sale in Congress? PatentDoc$, why don't *you* take a $tand against this?

Next year, all the CPF will need to do is pay $70 million (a paltry figure compared to RIM's $612.5 million loss), and Pharmas' strong patent rights and remedies will go bye-bye. Watch and see - if there is any justice, it may come back and bite you.

To quote a PatentDocs article which had exactly the opposite tone about legislated private remedies, "Just coming into focus recently, flying 'under the radar' of the major changes to U.S. patent law contained in the bill, are two provisions nicely illustrating the benefits that can accrue to companies and industries that understand the political process. And in both cases the effects will be increased costs to the public that have little to do with 'reforming' U.S. patent law.... The Senators say 'Now is the time. We agree: now is the time to defeat this bill. Write your Senators."


Obviously, PatentDocs wasn't taking the moral high ground against letting private funds drive the American political process, in as much as they have nary a negative word to say when the money is being shelled out by a pharmaceutical company to benefit the pharmaceutical industry (which, by the way, provides the comfortable salarie$ for the PatentDocs).

PatentDocs, I'd say your turning-the-convenient-blind-eye to this (just because it helps a pharmaceutical company) and your attempted historical "this is the way it's always been done" after-the-fact justification is hypocritical at best - I can't say what it might be at worst.


I’m sorry the piece sounded to you like Patent Docs approves of H.R.6344; we don’t, but then except for its Congressional sponsors (and, presumably The Medicines Company) we are not aware of anyone in favor of this bill. This is in stark contrast with S.1145, the subject of our earlier posts that you cite in comparison in your comment. That bill needed a call to arms, since it was being touted by the “patent crisis” crowd as being necessary despite all the evidence to the contrary. When put in perspective, the ills occasioned by H.R. 6344 pale in comparison the S.1145, and that in part accounts for the difference in our rhetoric level (and the bill benefiting a pharmaceutical company has nothing to do with it).

In addition, we didn’t think stridency was necessary - the facts speak for themselves. And the facts we recounted are not favorable to H.R. 6344. We noted that in the past, such private patent term extension bills were used to restore term lost due to government suppression during the Civil War, and for NutraSweet during a time before the Hatch-Waxman provisions had been past. These situations are in stark contrast to H.R. 6344, which seeks to excuse the failure to timely file the PTE application. (And frankly, we hadn’t seen anyone else put the bill in some historical perspective. Agree with it or not, but this isn’t something no one has ever done before.) We also noted that Congressman Conyers had to use the legislative maneuver of the voice vote to permit members of Congress to vote in favor of the bill but not be on the record for having done so. And the only voice we quoted was Elizabeth Wright of the Citizens Against Government Waste, a watchdog group sharply critical of the bill. (If you went to the website link, swineline.org, Ms. Wright has even more to say and more stridently, but rather than extensively quoting her we provided the link. Contrast this treatment with how we have discussed ETC, Michael Crichton, Lori Andrews and other anti-patent voices on our blog.)

Having reviewed our blogging brethren and their treatment of the bill, we found no one in favor of it, and many who made the same points you make in your comment. We have been passionate about many subjects on our blog, but in this case we didn’t think in necessary to beat a dead horse, or wear our passion on our sleeves. Besides being predictable it would be tedious to be just another naysayer on a bill whose passage is, in our view and as we said in the post, unlikely in view of the size and identities of its likely opponents, particularly in this election year.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to clarify our position, and thanks as always for the comment.

Dear PatentDocs,

Sorry for jumping to the wrong conclusion. Unfortunately, with the CPF and with Patent Troll Tracker, it seems to me it has become "acceptable" and commonplace for patent attorneys take (or not take) political positions for the purpose of producing financial gain for their clients, without even attempting to look to the greater ramifications of those positions on America at large, the patent system in general, or innovation. I wrongly feared your piece was more of the same.

Your blog is perhaps the most informative and reasoned source for analysis relating to the current politics of patent law. I long for yesterday, when patent law was about invention and wasn't so political, but I doubt we will ever be able to go back home again. Maybe it's time for a new career.

Thank you for your informative blog entries.

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