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Rohrabacher: Stop the Anti-Innovation Bill

Dec 3, 2013

WASHINGTON – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA, Monday called on members of Congress to postpone action on a “patent reform” bill passed by the Judiciary Committee just before Thanksgiving and now swiftly making its way to a full House vote.

“It seems that we have to pass this bill to find out what’s in it,” said the congressman, vice chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Rohrabacher, in a 30-minute speech on the House floor, charged that the bill, authored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-VA, has not been given a full legislative day between moving from committee to the full membership.

Calling the bill an effort to make “the most sweeping changes to the American patent system in history,” Rohrabacher argued that the impetus behind the rush to a vote comes from “mega-multinational corporations” that have been trying for decades to neuter U.S. inventor protections in the face of global competition.

“I wish that I could focus simply on the bad provisions of this new bill, the Innovation Act, H.R. 3309, which is expected to be on the floor later this week,” Rohrabacher lamented. “But if the bill is bad, the process being used to stifle debate and ram this down our Congressional throats is even worse.”

The congressman said his colleagues have been denied a fair process in which credible opponents from academia, industry, and small inventors themselves were given little opportunity to air their views.

He said studies have shown that most patent infringement cases are not frivolous. Instead, he said, small inventors will be discouraged from defending their intellectual property rights against large corporations who can afford to lose lawsuits.

“This schedule suggests the fix was in,” said Rohrabacher. “The clear message to little inventors: give thanks for your intellectual property rights, because you may not have them by this time next year.”

The bill’s supporters say it takes aim at so-called “patent trolls,” but Rohrabacher, rejecting that pejorative characterization, said the only people it hits are small, independent inventors.

“These so-called villainous trolls,” contended Rohrabacher, “are patent holders, or companies who represent patent holders. They are engaged in defending their rights against the infringement of those patents that they own.”

Rohrabacher asked his colleagues to postpone a vote on the bill until next year.