CLSA Continues Fight to Protect Patent Rights

May 21, 2015

CLSA is actively opposing H.R. 9, the so-called Innovation Act, legislation introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). In its current form, the legislation contains patent litigation-related provisions that would threaten the ability of biomedical innovators to enforce their patents and fund continued R&D by inadvertently making it more difficult, time-consuming and expensive to enforce legitimate and important IP rights. At the same time, the measure so far fails to address inequities in recently-established post-grant review mechanisms at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), which have led to increased uncertainty around issued patents and the facilitation of process abuses, such as by hedge fund manager Kyle Bass.

CLSA expects the House Judiciary Committee to mark-up H.R. 9 before the end of May with a potential date for consideration by the whole House following shortly thereafter. As of press time, a mark-up in the House Judiciary Committee originally scheduled for May 20 has been postponed until after the Memorial Day recess.

CLSA continues to meet with the California delegation to inform members and staff regarding the negative impact this legislation would have on the life sciences sector as well as to urge opposition to any effort to bring this measure to the floor in its current form. To that end, CLSA recently organized a letter to the delegation expressing opposition to H.R. 9, ultimately signed by over 100 medical device, diagnostic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, research universities and private, non-profit institutes, and venture capital firms. A copy of the letter is available here.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has also been active on patent litigation reform issues in that committee’s jurisdiction, passing H.R. 2045, the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act in the full committee by a vote of 30-22 last month. CLSA joined forces with San Diego-based Biocom in sending a letter of endorsement to the bill’s sponsor, and actively encouraged our delegation’s five members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee to consider our views as the bill was considered at marked up. We support this legislation as it strikes an appropriate balance between protecting small businesses harmed by “patent trolls” and preserving the ability for patent holders to enforce their IP rights. A copy of the endorsement letter is available here.

In the Senate, a bipartisan group including Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) & Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced the Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act earlier this month. While the bill as introduced appears to take into consideration many of the life sciences sector’s objections to H.R. 9 and represents a considerable improvement over H.R. 9 on several key provisions, CLSA still has remaining concerns with how this proposal may negatively impact the life sciences sector.

CLSA will continue to work with the California delegation and other key stakeholders to advocate for patent litigation reform legislation that is more supportive of our state’s robust life sciences innovation economy. Click here to view a recent op-ed in Roll Call from Todd Gillenwater, CLSA’s Executive Vice President of Advocacy & External Relations, on H.R. 9.