WASHINGTON (June 22) — Today, Senators Thom Tillis and Chris Coons introduced two complementary bills to strengthen intellectual property rights in the United States. C4IP strongly supports these bills, as they would act as vital safeguards to Americans’ constitutionally enshrined IP rights.
One bill seeks to reform a recent administrative review process of issued patents to make it more balanced and in line with its original intent, and the other more carefully delineates which inventions are eligible for patent protection in response to recent Supreme Court cases that have injected confusion into the area.
“Senator Tillis and Senator Coons both clearly appreciate the importance of strong intellectual property rights as the foundation to our economic vitality — and they deserve immense praise for introducing these bills,” said Dave Kappos, board co-chair of C4IP and former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director from 2009 to 2013. “C4IP applauds this legislation and hopes that members of both parties help turn it into law.”
“The United States is at a pivotal moment in its history as we face unprecedented competition for leadership in technology,” said Andrei Iancu, board co-chair of C4IP and former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director from 2018 to 2021. “With the introduction of these critically important bills, Senators Coons and Tillis are leading the nation towards a more reliable and predictable patent system that will energize American inventors and help maximize our innovation output.”
The Promoting and Respecting Economically Vital American Innovation Leadership Act (PREVAIL) and the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act (PERA) of 2023, introduced by Senators Coons and Tillis respectively, would implement several important reforms, including:
- Giving challengers of a patent’s validity the choice of forum, either court or at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), but limiting them to only one — thereby ensuring that patent owners do not need to fight multiple costly and duplicative legal battles on the same issues
- Ensuring that “clear and convincing evidence” is needed to invalidate a patent at the PTAB, the same standard used in district courts and which recognizes that issued patents have already undergone extensive examination at the Patent Office
- Providing additional safeguards aimed at ensuring balance and fairness to both patentees whose patents are subject to validity challenges in the PTAB, as well as those seeking to challenge patent validity
- Clarifying that important categories of inventions in fields like life sciences diagnostics and computer-implemented innovations are eligible for patent protection
- Incentivizing investment in innovation by providing clear patent eligibility standards
“The 118th Congress must prioritize the clarification of patent eligibility and the utilization of the clear and convincing evidence standard at the PTAB,” stated Judge Kathleen O’Malley (ret.), former Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. “Without these essential measures, the incentives to foster innovation in the United States will diminish to the detriment of our future prosperity and well-being.”
“American innovators are fueled by an abundance of groundbreaking possibilities, but need to be supported by a sound legal intellectual property framework,” said Frank Cullen, executive director of C4IP. “These thoughtfully crafted bills bolster and help safeguard our IP system, empowering creators and fostering a dynamic environment for ideas to thrive. C4IP stands behind these bills and the Senators’ efforts.”
“It is imperative that we solidify the future of innovation in our nation with careful and balanced intellectual property laws,” emphasized Judge Paul Michel (ret.), former Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. “Such an endeavor is simply unattainable without the critical reforms enshrined within these bills.”
About the Council for Innovation Promotion
The Council for Innovation Promotion is a bipartisan coalition dedicated to promoting strong and effective intellectual property rights that drive innovation, boost economic competitiveness, and improve lives everywhere.