Rep. Issa Speaks on Patent Reform

March 26, 2015 —

As an inventor who holds 37 patents, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has spent 14 years in Congress aiming to reform the process for those seeking patents as well as for those striving to challenge or defend them in litigation. On March 23, Issa came to Georgetown Law to discuss his visions for patent reform in a keynote address at  “The Changing Patent Landscape.” 

The all-day event gathered some of the leading minds from academia, industry and government to explore recent developments in intellectual property law — changes coming from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the courts, the changing global economy and Congress.

Issa, the chair of the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet and a co-sponsor of the 2011 America Invents Act (AIA), is seeking further changes to the patent system with new legislation to protect innovators, introduced in the House in February.

“As we continue to look at making patent quality better, we have to equally look at lowering the cost of defending, or prosecuting, your patent,” Issa said, noting that the cost burden should shift to the offender if a judge determines that a lawsuit is frivolous. 

In addition to the problem of “patent trolls” who threaten to sue any alleged infringer, some litigants will challenge a patent simply to drive down the price of a company’s stock — a particularly disturbing practice, Issa noted. “The intent of the bill is to make sure that [all] sides have an opportunity to deal with frivolous claims.”

Earlier in the day, Georgetown Law Professor John R. Thomas walked participants through strategies for global patent litigation in an increasingly interconnected world. WilmerHale partner David L. Cavanaugh and Mark C. Fleming moderated discussions on post-grant patent proceedings under the AIA as well as recent developments in the Supreme Court and the federal circuit.

Georgetown Law’s Continuing Legal Education and WilmerHale co-sponsored the event. Dean William M. Treanor, Thomas, and WilmerHale partners Donald R. Steinberg and Greg Lantier introduced the day’s events. 

“With so many changes to the patent system in recent years, events such as this allow us to take stock of the circumstances and also to think through our prospects for the future,” Treanor said, noting the Law Center’s recent growth in law and technology. “There’s really no area of the law that’s not being transformed by technology, and we’re at the cutting edge of that.”  

A webcast will be available here. For a full list of participants, click here.

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