ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, the presidents and chairmen of the boards of 145 universities that oppose the Innovation Act (H.R.9) received letters from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® urging them to reverse their resistance to the bill and remove their institution’s name from a February 24 opposition letter. The bill is fair, common-sense legislation that would curb abusive patent litigation by patent trolls, while protecting inventors, innovative companies, research institutions and licensors such as universities.
“It is disappointing to see universities reject common-sense reform, especially since many universities are licensing publicly-funded patents,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “Universities should focus on strengthening our nation’s patent system to ensure taxpayer-funded patents are not being used to extort the very companies and entrepreneurs that hire graduates and contribute to university research or support these institutions as alumni donors.”
In the letter, Shapiro specifically addressed the universities’ concerns on fee shifting and joinder provisions in the Innovation Act, explaining the bill would create a clear standard for shifting fees in patent cases, which isn’t a significant departure from the fee shifting provision that has existed in U.S. patent law since 1946. Litigation fees would be shifted in patent cases only if “the position and conduct of the non-prevailing party or parties” were not “reasonably justified in law and fact.”
More, it is unlikely that any university would ever be in a position to be affected by the joinder requirements in the Innovation Act. This provision will apply only to cases brought by entities that exist for the sole purpose of litigating a patent.
“CEA and our members share the universities’ interest in ensuring that patent system equity not weaken intellectual property protections for our nation’s research institutions; however, concerns about the Innovation Act expressed by these institutions are unfounded,” added Shapiro. “The Innovation Act will not affect universities seeking commercial applications for their inventions. It is a common-sense, targeted reform that will address reckless patent abuse and restore balance to our nation’s patent system.”
Last Congress, the Innovation Act passed the House on an overwhelming, bipartisan vote with broad support from retailers, manufacturers, restaurants, hotels, Internet startups, inventors and others. Patent trolls cost the economy an estimated $1.5 billion every week through a legalized extortion racket, sending thousands of letters each year threatening to attack businesses of all sizes. Click here to view CEA’s Troll Ticker, a running tally of how much patent trolls have cost the U.S. economy since the 2013 vote on patent reform took place.
To view a copy of the letter, click here.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $286 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative and regulatory advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org, www.InnovationMovement.com and through social media: http://www.ce.org/social.
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