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Protecting Intellectual Property
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Patent Reform (adopted 2007)

We urge Congress to enact patent reform legislation to 1) improve enforcement, and 2) enhance quality.

RESTORE BALANCE AND FAIRNESS IN ENFORCEMENT

Congress should focus on four key areas where changes are needed to improve enforcement:

  • Clarify that a patentee is entitled to claim damages only on the proportion of the allegedly infringing product attributable to the patent. Damages claims should not include all the other non-related features and elements that may be also included within a multi-faceted product or system;

  • Recalibrate the standard for an award of punitive damages for willful infringement to address only truly reprehensible conduct thereby encouraging research and innovation;

  • Ensure venue standards preclude "gaming the system” through forum-shopping and lawsuits should be resolved in a forum that has a reasonable connection to the underlying claim. and

  • Repeal section 271(f) of the existing patent statute to avoid discouraging research and development work done inside the United States.

ENHANCE QUALITY

Strong patent quality promotes confidence in the patent system, fosters competition and spurs innovation. A questionable patent causes competitors to forego research and development, fearful of the risks that may be involved.

Congress should focus on four key areas that will promote the issuance of higher quality patents:

  • Enhance post-issuance processes to provide a second chance for the PTO to apply its expertise to intercept bad patents;

  • Curtail abusive continuation practices that permit applicants to amend their patent applications which lead to endless chains of patents with ever-broader claims;

  • Increase the ability to consider prior art, and develop better processes for building a contemporaneous record that reflects the extent of the examination by the patent examiner; and

  • Provide adequate PTO training and funding.

  • *The Business Software Alliance published this set of principles which the Council adopted.

Copyright Protection in the Digital World (adopted in 2003)

The Council opposes legislation that would create a safe harbor from liability for copyright holders that use technological self-help measures, including denial of services attacks, to interdict unauthorized copies of their material exchanged on peer-to-peer networks.

Self-help measures would likely disable general-purpose peer-to-peer networks, preventing or severely hindering legitimate uses of them, and would almost certainly impede the service of innocent users unknowingly sharing communication networks and infrastructure.

Copyright holders should be encouraged to target those liable for copyright infringement by using the procedures and remedies created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The Council supports the ongoing discussions among content providers, technology companies, and network providers regarding development of voluntary Digital Rights Management (DRM) standards, to produce consensus regarding implementation of DRM technologies designed to protect unauthorized access to content.

 

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