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Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled 139

Posted by timothy
from the buyer's-market dept.
ectoman (594315) writes Proponents of patent reform in the United States glimpsed a potential victory late last year, when the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act, designed to significantly mitigate patent abuse. Just months ago, however, the Senate pulled consideration of the bill. And since then, patent reform has been at a standstill. In a new analysis for Opensource.com, Mark Bohannon, Vice President of Corporate affairs and Global Public Policy at Red Hat, explains three reasons why. "For this year, at least," he writes, "the prospect of addressing abusive patent litigation through Congressional action is on ice"—despite the unavoidable case for reform.
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Why United States Patent Reform Has Stalled

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  • Duh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2014 @11:07AM (#47222255)

    Money buys policy in the US, and patent holders have more money. Did we really even need this question?

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TWX (665546) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @11:10AM (#47222283)

    The Left Wing Media makes the Right Wing like they are so out of touch and evil, so the Right feels constantly threatened, thus makes their stance more resolved.

    I don't think that we listen to the same radio stations. I listen to NPR a lot (the virtue of driving around a lot during the day) and they talk about issues, not political stances.

    I have heard right-wing radio on at places that I've had to visit, and they talk about their opposition, demonizing them. They didn't really talk about actual issues.

    I attempted to listen to left-wing radio like Air America, and I couldn't. They attempted to operate the same way as right-wing radio. It put me off for the same reason that right-wing radio did, it only served to demonize, not to actually discuss anything. So I went back to NPR to hear about issues again.

    I don't listen to the radio as much as I used to, actually. I realized that the 24 hour news cycle becomes a massively self-referential thing, and that it exists to feed itself on itself and the listener. It has to make things seem important to survive, any little deviation or difference suddenly becomes big news in order to garner the attention needed to keep the advertising dollars rolling in. As a consequence it needs inflammatory people that are willing to say disgusting things, which in-turn destroys polite discourse and factionalizes people that really don't come into this with any stake in it to begin with.

    Turn off your TV, turn off your radio, stop visiting political websites and listening to political podcasts. Go do something for yourself that you choose to do, and the circle-jerk will reduce.

  • Re:Can I blame... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @11:12AM (#47222299)

    Yes you can, the world would run so much smoother if they all had the same opinions and beliefs that I do.

    This type of thinking is the first step to tyranny. As any opposing opinion must either be from the Stupid (who needs to be reeducated), Coerced (Where we need to find the ring leader spreading the ideas), or from some evil in them (Where they need to be jailed or killed)

    Many Tyrants of the world came from people who had good ideas and gained and used their power to try to make real. Unfortunately there always seems to be a part of the population who has a different view that needs to be controlled.

    In America sometimes I am very frustrated that our government doesn't move much because they just don't seem to agree on any little thing. However due to the fact that they do disagree, and not feel like the government is going to go out and kill them for disagreeing with them is also comforting.

    When you have a government where all the people are working smoothly and efficiently without much conflict. Actually is very scary because you need to ask yourself why does everyone agree with this. Especially as every choice you make normally has some sort of trade-off which someone else may take the different path.

  • Re:Uh, what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @11:21AM (#47222377) Journal
    The current Senate leadership has already unilaterally rewritten the rules regarding filibusters and some nominations/appointments; it could very easily do it (and with political/voter impunity as we saw from the previous rewrite) again to push this through. The pulling of a bill in the Senate happens because one man doesn't want a vote on it: Harry Reid. I suspect somewhere he's getting millions - or the promise of tens of thousands of votes - to pull the bill. He's the block in the Senate.
  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @11:35AM (#47222455)

    Also, I've noticed that their non-news programming absolutely has an anti-conservative bent (with some exceptions).

    For example, I really like Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. But the participants tend to take swipes mostly at conservatives and conservative views, and the audience tends to whoop and applaud along the same lines.

    I recall another story where they did a sympathy piece on an illegal immigrant. But they never broached the subject of the people seeking proper visas whom she "cut in line", nor the possible identify fraud if she was using a SS#, nor the other low-skilled Americans who had to compete with here for a limited number of low-skilled jobs. Strangely, when I wrote my local NPR ombudsman regarding this, I never got a reply.

  • TLDR (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wienerschnizzel (1409447) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @11:42AM (#47222505)
    Here's the meat part:

    "This was entirely done by the pharmaceutical industry and the trial lawyers."

    ...

    Pharmaceutical and biotech firms are often plaintiffs in patent disputes and haven't been hit hard by troll lawsuits.

    ...

    Many law firms working in traditional plaintiffs' areas like personal injury or securities class actions have added patent work as other sources have dried up.

    Fucking. Lawyers.

  • Re:Uh, what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gnupun (752725) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @11:55AM (#47222625)

    The article seems to explain what is [not] happening, not why...It's called the influence of money on politics.

    Or perhaps, the senate wants to prevent the US from turning into a 2nd or 3rd world country? The so-called patent reform treats even valid patents as troll patents, putting a lot of financial pressure on inventors, by making it difficult for inventors to sue infringers. In case of a trial loss, the inventor has to pay the infringer's legal costs, according to the new law. This disincentivizes inventors to patent inventions, resulting in lower product revenue, which in turn reduces GDP of the US, substantially.

    In this washington post article [washingtonpost.com], this letter [washingtonpost.com] explains it better:

    The patent system is the bedrock of the U.S. economy. The future of the U.S. economy and our nation's ability to compete successfully in an increasingly competitive global economy is dependent on Congress fostering a strong patent system that incentivizes innovators to invent. Amending the law as this bill does shortchanges the future of our economy for an unbalanced policy. The stakes are far too high not to get the balance right.
            We cannot support changes to the patent system that substantially weaken all patents. We oppose the legislation that we understand Members are being asked to agree to today and ask that you not support it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:08PM (#47222725)

    I'm a state legislator in New Hampshire. We don't have this problem. Our legislative rules require ALL bills to be considered both in committee AND by the full body - committee chairmen don't get to act as "gatekeepers" , and the majority party's leadership can't simply "pull bills" with procedural moves.

    At the beginning of 2012, we wrote and passed an emergency bill for a school district, walked it across the hallway to the Senate which then passed it, and walked it up the hallway to the Governor. The entire process took about 3 hours.

    It's possible for government to be efficient and effective.
    Just not usually in Washington......

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