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December 29, 2007

Packing Heat, Not Light

Sen. Patrick Leahy [D-VT] and Sen. Orrin Hatch [R-UT] were kissing each other's ass on the Senate floor December 18. The comity is affecting, but these guys are dangerous goons, given to impulsive action: "urgent need to modernize our patent laws," they quiver. The real urgent need is not to screw inventors into the ground to pacify serial patent infringers.

A latter-day legislative Martin-Lewis shtick:

Sen. Leahy:

We first cosponsored patent reform last Congress. We again jointly introduced comprehensive patent reform this Congress in the form of S. 1145 in April of this year. Both bills had their foundations in numerous hearings with the testimony of dozens of witnesses and in innumerable meetings with the myriad of interested participants in the patent system. [We needed all that input because it allowed us to line our pockets with special interest money. Hell, we don't know what we're supposed to do.] The message we heard repeatedly was of the urgent need to modernize our patent laws. [People who think everything is hunky dory don't try to ply us with money, so we ignore them.]

In the course of our committee deliberations, a great many changes were made to improve and perfect the bill. [That's because we don't really know what we were doing; just fumbling around because we're political hacks, and too stupid to actually get some research done. Researchers cost money, whereas people pay us to toot our horns the way they like them tooted. Besides, we wouldn't know who to hire anyway.]

Sen. Hatch:

Let me just say a few words about the need to make further reforms to the inequitable conduct defense. [The courts already have this covered, but the serial patent infringers that are lining my pockets hate being caught out as weasels. Hurts their arrogant sense of self esteem.] We certainly share many perspectives on how to reform this area of the law, but I believe more must be done to change the use of this defense as an unfair litigation tactic. [Don't applaud, just throw money.]

I know some have opposed any meaningful changes in this area because of how it would affect the generic pharmaceutical industry. As a coauthor of the Drug Price Competition and Patent Restoration Act, informally known as the Hatch-Waxman Act, I certainly understand the generic drug industry, but S. 1145 is an innovator's bill. Unless we promote and protect a structure that fosters a strong and vibrant environment for innovators, there will be fewer and fewer drugs for the generics to manufacture--and all, including patients, will suffer. [My mouth hurts from talking out of both sides at the same time: telling drug companies we're not going to eviscerate patent enforcement (which is exactly what the legislative plan is), which is why they are squealing like stuck pigs (because they know that's the plan), so their money keeps rolling into my office (to thwart the plan); while telling consumers we're looking out for them, even though what I'm saying there doesn't make a lick of sense. But I figure at worst the hoopleheads will think it's cooing in their general direction.]

Sen. Leahy:

Over the course of early January, I invite you and our colleagues to work with me to find viable solutions. [Keep those calls and checks coming.] It is my intention to seek and hear the views of any and all parties and to include all interested staff and Senators. [Keep those calls and checks coming.] This will continue to be an open and deliberative process, with the goal of favorable Senate action as early as the floor schedule permits. I am committed to a strong and effective balanced bill.  [Keep those calls and checks coming.] I know there are some out there who would rather see us do nothing and leave the systems now in place or merely codify current jurisprudence. I believe that following this course would be shirking our responsibility to ensuring the economic strength of our country that is built on inventiveness. [If we just sat on our thumbs, you'd know we were worthless. That doesn't exactly make for a solid reelection campaign platform. But, crucially, it doesn't feed the kitty. So we'll strike up the show for a few more rounds of "keep those calls and checks coming."]

Sen. Hatch:

Unfortunately, some would like to play political football with this bill to pursue other agenda items. [This is how we really make the money flow in. If we hose ourselves down with bickering, you'll think we won't do anything, so you'll close your wallets.] Make no mistake: this bill is far too important and should not fall prey to such partisan tactics from either side. [We are going to ream you for every nickel we can. May the largest wallet win.]

Posted by Patent Hawk at December 29, 2007 12:06 AM | The Patent System


With "democrats" like Leahy who needs republicans ?

Posted by: angry dude at December 29, 2007 12:38 PM

[People who think everything is hunky dory don't try to ply us with money, so we ignore them.]

I think this is the key to the whole situation.

Posted by: bierbelly at January 2, 2008 5:40 AM