Jenny Beth’s Journal: How we can protect our intellectual property rights
Our Founding Fathers deliberately included protections to physical property, as well as to intellectual property in the U.S. Constitution. Until recently, inventors fueled American innovation. Tea Party Patriot Action’s newest documentary, Invalidated: The Shredding of the U.S. Patent System, delves into the problems that American innovators face today. More and more, large corporations are simply bypassing hard-working innovators’ patents and stealing their ideas – but there are ways to prevent this intellectual property theft. Invalidated is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Xfinity.
”[T]he patent grant issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office means nothing to infringers like Telebrands and Walmart. They simply ignore the patent and rush to take over the market with their knock-offs (“Balloon Bonanza” in 2015, “Battle Balloons” in 2016, and “Easy Einstein Balloons” in 2017). Then they use those revenues to hire attorneys and experts to say the patent is invalid. If the patent owner lacks deep pockets or good lawyers, his patent will not survive. If he does have access to infinite funds, he has about a 5 percent chance of survival thanks to the America Invents Act (AIA) and the USPTO’s implementation of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).”
PTAB, it is worth noting, is an administrative tribunal (read: an unaccountable government panel) institutionally biased against patent-holders — which has aptly been labeled a “death squad for patents.”
The PTAB — the creation of which was established through a previous congressional “reform” of the patent system — has been a critical part of the erosion of patent rights. The PTAB is a parallel forum where patent-infringers are able to challenge others’ patent rights — with a much lower standard of proof than federal courts require. What often happens is that patent-owners successfully defend their patent rights in federal court, but go on to lose at the PTAB.
Since the production of “Invalidated”, we are witnessing several possible remedies. The Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act of 2018 (H.R. 6264), which Thomas, an inventor himself, introduced with Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio Democrat, is one such solution. The legislation would return America to the “first to invent” patent system, abolish the PTAB with its anti-patent agenda, and ensure that the Patent and Trademark Office is given the adequate resources to conduct quality examinations and execute its mission in an efficient manner.
Additionally, Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio and Rep. Bill Foster of Illinois have introduced the STRONGER Patents Act — which would streamline the legal process regarding patents — and reform the PTAB to protect small-scale inventors and start-ups from the deep pockets and legions of lawyers that can often hamper an inventor as you will see happened to Josh Malone in “Invalidated.” Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, and Sen. Chris Coons, Delaware Democrat, have introduced a similar bill in the Senate.
Lastly, even prior to the release of “Invalidated,” Andre Iancu, President Trump’s recently confirmed director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, had already begun to take the necessary steps to rein in PTAB and bring about a fairer, more transparent and equitable process for reviewing patents. In fact, Mr. Iancu has proposed an important rule to ensure that patent owners are provided with the same claim standard in the PTAB as they are in federal court. These lawmakers and Mr. Iancu have sparked hope for America’s inventors that their rights will once against receive the strong protections they deserve.
We hope you get a chance to watch this documentary to see how important our culture of innovation is and why we need fast solutions to protect American intellectual property rights. Building something and owning it is the American Dream, but without a strong patent system, the American Dream will be INVALIDATED!