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January 28, 2009


The membership of the House and Senate Judiciary committees for the 111th Congress has been decided. What has also been decided is abolition of intellectual property subcommittees in both houses. That puts any patent reform agenda, and all its attendant issues, squarely before the full committee in each body. The abolition thus puts a learning curve on more members, particularly in the House: there are 29 in the House Judiciary Committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has 11 Democrats, 8 Republicans. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) again chairs, with Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) ranking minority member. John Conyers (D-Michigan) chairs the House committee, with Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who was rabid for patent reform in 2005, ranking minority member. The House committee is quite lopsided: 23 Democrats, only 6 Republicans.

Christal Sheppard, a former patent prosecutor and attorney, with a Ph.D., has been brought on staff in the House.

Posted by Patent Hawk at January 28, 2009 6:12 PM | The Patent System


It came as no surprise that Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) succumbed to lobbyists and recently introduced the latest Patent Reform Act (S3600). In it includes a "Check 21" exception (sec. 13, page 80): "With respect to the use by a financial institution of a check collection system that constitutes an infringement under subsection (a) or (b) of section 271, the provisions of sections 281, 283, 284, and 285 shall not apply against the financial institution with respect to such a check collection system."
Although a small Technology Company named Data Treasury and its patents were NOT specifically mentioned, the intent of the exception is aimed directly at Data Treasury and its on going litigation against the banking industry for infringing upon its "Check Collection" remote image capture technology.

If passed, the exception would shift the financial responsibility for infringement to the American Taxpayer. Billions of dollars in taxes would be passed on to us in the name of (honesty and justice). The U.S. Commerce Department has recently objected to this type of legislative provision. Such a law would pave the way for Congress to start interfering in legal cases on behalf of the highest bidder. The Commerce Department -- the parent agency of the Patent and Trademark Office -- also pointed out that "limiting patent holders' rights and remedies in this instance could reduce innovation in the technology area." In other words, revoking someone's property rights affects not only the disenfranchised property holder but also the next round of inventors. In this instance, moreover, Congress would be sending the bill for the bailout to us -- the taxpayers. All this makes for quite a lobbying coup. The banking industry makes off with a few extra billion dollars, robs a small business of its intellectual property and again sticks taxpayers with the tab. Legislation should not be used to grant retroactive legal immunity to large corporations that willfully ignored the property rights of a small, innovative company. And no elected official who has pledged to maintain the integrity of our legal system should be a party to such a travesty. The windfall is not 2-6 billion of savings to the banks, but at 40 billion checks per year for the major institutions at $1 to $2 per check the savings is $40 to $80 billion dollars. The vast majority of banks who offer RDC have stated they have seen growth in deposits due to RDC. Deposits represent the lifeblood of any financial institution and have pervasive impacts throughout the organization. Recent research conducted by RemoteDepositCapture.com has revealed that for every dollar a financial institution has in deposits, they make over $2 in loans and investments. Of course Data Treasury is suing for 5 cents per check and settling for even less. The industry used to claim that it cost close to $2. per check so what justifies the banks STEALING this for FREE , except why pay if you are not forced to. The proposed legislation places the US government in the position of accountability. Since the US government both issued and affirmed the validity of the DT patents, it seems to place the government in the curious position of stipulating patent validity without having any control over the question of whether infringement is or is not occurring and with the bank's interest's non-aligned with the government's interests. The enactment of such an exception would result in litigation against the federal government for DT to seek compensation for the taking of its private property. The federal government would have to pay $1 billion+ to Data Treasury over 10 years as compensation for taking its property under the exception, according to estimates (albeit, a conservative estimate) by the Congressional Budget Office. Senator Kyle by championing this exception should be made (with a clear answer devoid of spin) to explain why exactly, banks should be immune to patent law that applies to everybody else and why the public should fund any patent royalties when infringing returns billions in operational savings to the banks !! Source: 2008 FDIC Data, RemoteDepositCapture.com
The funny part about this campaign is that everybody will take a sudden, but belated, interest in this fiasco if and when the bill comes due and has to be paid by the American taxpayer. But you don't mind, do you? After all, I'm sure we want to show as much love to Bank of America, Citibank, etc. as Citibank and its group shows to us. All this on the heels of the recent Wall Street bailout. I guess business as usual is still the main diet of some elected officials!! DISGRACEFUL!!!

Posted by: PAUL [RINCIPATO at February 22, 2009 5:00 PM

Let me be clear.

I do appreciate the comments, the various points of view, but need to insist that you do so with a bit more style than the born-to-rant Greg Aharonian, who is the Howard Stern of the patent world.

So, semi-coherent paragraphs, WITHOUT THE CAPS LOCK ON, and lay off the !!!

We're all literate here, and many literally-minded, so we get your point without the syntactic hammer blows.

If your comment becomes unpublished, you know why.

Thank you for your kindly understanding.

Posted by: Patent Hawk at February 22, 2009 8:05 PM