Patent Reform: The Plight of Today’s Innovator

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1 Response

  1. J Ranier says:

    Unfortunately this BLOG hits home for me. A friend’s daughter who is in law school brought this BLOG to my attention.

    I work for a company that produces patented products that are in competition with much larger companies. This is a 50+ year old family business. Our products are used in commercial and industrial electrical applications. We’ve licensed patents held by our larger competitors so that we can sell our products without fear of being sued for patent infringement. But when we went to license our own patents to those same companies who have incorporated our technology into their own products, we were told, “sue us”, so we did.

    After an expensive and lengthy patent infringement trial which we won 4 years ago, we have been sent up to the appellate court, back down to the district court, and now we are back up at the appellate court in a never ending series of challenges by the infringers. We have asked for injunctive relief, but even though we make directly competing products we have been unable to get an injunction. There is no motivation by the large infringing companies to respect our patents, and in the meantime they are chipping away at our market share and taking away customers.

    We have also had our patents challenged in IPR’s. After winning the first IPR challenge we are now on round 3 as both accused infringers and others continue to try and kill our patents by a death of 1000 cuts.

    Between defending our challenged patents and the costly patent litigation, we have spends $10’s millions while we watch our larger competitors take away our customers using our own technology against us. We have recently downsized our manufacturing and R&D staff to match our shrinking sales. While our country is suffering from a lack of creating high paying jobs and experiencing an eroding manufacturing base, we are watching the infringing companies grow in Germany and Japan where they manufacture the competing products.

    I am no expert at the “patent troll” issue, so maybe there really was a problem that needed to be addressed. But what I know for certain is that the patent rights we thought we were getting under our current US Patent system are virtually worthless in protecting companies that invent and create American jobs. The author of this BLOG points out that our patent system was conceived by the founding fathers for good reasons. I hope someone from one of the major news programs sees this post. I know our CEO would go on any national news program that wants to expose how the changes to our patent system is now encouraging theft of American inventions and if left uncorrected will seriously damage our economy!