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April 1, 2008

Media "Briefing"

The Coalition for Patent Fairness hosted a media briefing conference call this morning to discuss the Patent Reform Act (S.1145), and its place on the agenda of Congress, which reconvenes next week. The briefing was brief in content, but not duration. The "insights" given were known in advance, and the predications predictable, with the Coalition a bit cagey in not wanting to show its hand.

The call was hosted by Mark Isakowitz of Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, and coordinator for the Coalition. Mike Holston, HP General Counsel, and Time Warner chief patent counsel Chuck Fish also gave their insights. Mark Chandler, Cisco GC, was scheduled to participate, but was absent from the call.

Mark Isakowitz began with his appraisal of the situation, stating that the Patent Reform Act (S.1145) has momentum and is right on the edge of going to the Senate floor. He further asserted that interested parties have realized that "time for compromise and bottom line is here." The bill is third or fourth in queue as congress reconvenes next week for an 8-week stretch. Isakowitz is incredibly optimistic, since much of the bill has already been agreed upon, save 4 or 5 of the most contentious issues, and claims: "You want to be in the spot we are in. You want to be where the majority leader says that you are coming to the floor soon".

Mike Holston further exuded confidence that the bill will come to the floor in the next few weeks, with many senators currently working behind the scenes, and that compromised language will be reached that can be agreed upon by all parties.

Chuck Fish went on to give an outline of the 5 biggest issues:

  1. Applicant Quality Submissions (AQS) - Fish stated "you cannot mandate ways for an applicant to act", and suggested that incentives work better than mandates.
  2. Venue - there should be a real connection between location of dispute and site where litigation occurs.
  3. Reasonable Royalty Damages - fair compensation, but not overcompensation.
  4. Post Grant Review / Opposition Process - need to be fair and protective of rights, but not over protective of rights.
  5. Inequitable conduct - general consensus that there should be real consequences for misleading the patent office, but that there must be more certainty and less unpredictability in the process.

Although big issues, Mr. Fish points out that this is a very small number of issues when compared to the large amount of proposed changes, and that overall the bill will include very important improvements to the patent system, that are much needed after 50 years of little change.

The call was then opened up for a Q&A session that provided little additional insight, and can be summed up by: the Coalition for Patent Fairness is optimistic about the progress of the bill, and much more will be known over the next few days and weeks. The goal of the Coalition boils down to enabling innovation, providing the best people the opportunity to innovate and develop new products.

The Coalition is aware of intensive discussions at both staff and congress member levels, but like any negotiation, a lot of pieces will be moving until the very end. The main purpose of the call was to set the scene for what is to come. Expect an eventful next couple of weeks.

Posted by Mr. Platinum at April 1, 2008 10:18 AM | The Patent System


Where were the lawyers for Countrywide Financial?
Countrywide Financial is a member of the CPF.

Posted by: anonymousAgent at April 1, 2008 2:06 PM

"Where were the lawyers for Countrywide Financial?"

They were hiding in the bushes, together with lawyers for RIM - another prominent member of the Coalition
And Mark Chandler must be having a severe case of migraine from the recent fallout with his protege - tricky Rick, the (in)famous patent troll tracker (now sued for defamation)

Posted by: angry dude at April 1, 2008 3:43 PM