The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® applauds the House of Representatives and Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith on the approval of H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act. The following statement can be attributed to Michael Petricone, CEA senior vice president, government affairs:
“CEA is pleased the bill revises a misguided law that allowed lawyers to sue for exorbitant damages in the event patent numbers are listed incorrectly on products. The resulting frivolous, costly lawsuits have deterred innovation and placed additional burdens on those trying to grow our economy. We are also encouraged that this bill will speed the approval of patents and crack down on patent trolls and others who seek to abuse our intellectual property system.
"We are gratified the legislation allows the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to keep its own revenue. Since 1992, nearly $1 billion in funding has been diverted from the PTO. Meanwhile, the backlog at the PTO is around 1.2 million patent applications and the average wait time for patent approval is three years. These delays mean products are not brought to market in a timely manner and jobs are not created. At a time when Americans are innovating faster than ever, a fully funded and functional patent office is fundamental to our economic success. We encourage House and Senate conferees to go even further and end fee diversion once and for all.
“For years, structural problems in our patent system have stifled innovation while imposing unnecessary costs on our crown jewel companies. This bill is an important step toward restoring common sense, encouraging innovation, and reducing harm by those using the present law to hurt our economy and productive companies.”