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Congressman Rohrabacher Assails New Patent Reform Bill

Sep 5, 2007

Washington, Sep 5, 2007 - Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is engaging in an all out offensive this week in an attempt to defeat the Patent Reform Act of 2007 (H.R. 1908) claiming the bill is “another attempt to destroy two hundred years of American patent protection.”

In a Dear Colleague sent out today, Congressman Rohrabacher urges Members to vote against H.R. 1908 because harmonizing our laws with Europe and Japan fundamentally changes the basics of our own patent system by drastically reducing protections for American innovation from the threat of foreign infringers. “If indeed our laws are to be harmonized with the rest of the world, it is the rest of the world that should be strengthening their protection rather than America reducing its rights to the lowest common denominator,” writes Rohrabacher. “A similar bill was defeated 10 years ago with strong bi-partisan opposition. This bill resuscitates many of the same provisions that were in that failed bill. It was a bad idea then, and it is a bad idea now.”

Key aspects of the current legislation would dramatically weaken American patent protections. For example, a requirement to force inventors to publicly publish applications on the USPTO website within 18 months of filing and eliminating the “opt out” clause would give foreign competitors access to patent ideas leading to potential thievery of American technologies before inventors are granted their patents. In Japan, where this mandatory publication provision is employed, over 17,000 hits per day from China and 55,000 hits from South Korea, are recorded by the Japanese Patent Office website.

“The U.S. has operated under a “first-to-invent” principle for over 200 years, while the rest of the world uses a “first to file” system under which the fastest to file paperwork is granted the patent, regardless of whether he or she was the first to actually invent the patented product,” says Rohrabacher. “Such a fundamental change will lead to an avalanche of incomplete applications and our so called reforms will undercut the little guys. If the corporate elite get their way, patent thieves here and in lawless countries like China will have a field day.”

Opponents to H.R. 1908 include the AFL-CIO, the National Association of Manufacturers, over 450 venture capital firms, the Big Ten Universities and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

Congressman Rohrabacher will be giving the 2nd of several planned Special Order speeches on the topic this evening. Please find a list of the companies and organizations opposing H.R. 1908 in the legislation's current form in the box above.