PILMA: Patent Reform

PILMA: Patent Reform

March 8, 2011

The Pharmaceutical Industry Labor Management Association applauds tonight’s decisive action by the Senate in passing the 2011 Patent Protection Act. The strong 95 to 5 vote is a solid indication that the bill meets the concerns from both sides of the aisle. This measure will unlock U.S. innovation and support good jobs. It provides the framework for simplifying the patent protection process while enhancing U.S. competitiveness. We congratulate Chairman Leahy for his work in developing this legislation and his determination in seeing it through to passage. PILMA will continue to support this bill as it moves to the House, working with our friends on both sides of the aisle to make sure that it is not weakened as it goes through the legislative process.

A strong patent system is crucial to American competitiveness as the country focuses on job growth and rebuilding.

Intellectual property—such as patents—provide three key factors that help drive the economy: they promote incentives for innovation; they provide holders with certainty regarding their rights; and they provide enforcement tools to defend one’s property. Biopharmaceutical innovation is costly and risky. However, by maintaining a predictable and reliable patent system, Senator Leahy’s bill, in its current form, would help to encourage the innovation that provides jobs and leads to real and significant healthe benefits for America’s patients.

From PILMA’s Jobs & Innovation Report – Patent Reform

Pages 8-9

IP protections and their enforcement ensure inventors and innovative companies that their investments in time, money, and human capital will be protected if they are successful, and that they will have the opportunity to earn a potential return on their investment. For the biopharmaceutical sector, investments in R&D require certainty, security, and predictability, as well as a clear and stable legal environment.

Reforming the patent application and approval process must protect the integrity of the system and ensure appropriate exclusivity for creators, so that their creations may drive innovation and create jobs. We must be vigilant that America’s patented innovations are protected and strengthened. The biopharmaceutical industry is among the most advanced technological sectors in the world economy, and is heavily dependent on strong, vigorously enforced intellectual property rights as a means to balance the substantial risks involved in R&D with the promise of appropriate rewards for success. Unless such rights are protected from infringement, we are in danger of losing one of America’s foremost industries.

Other countries are studiously observing our developing patent reform policy. We need to be careful that we don’t improve our competitors’ positions rather than strengthening our own. Public policy changes that would allow public access to patented information early in a patent’s protected period, coupled with early non-court-based patent challenges, would facilitate international competitors’ challenges of our patent rights. Further, such action would be costly and tie up the patent holder with challenges during a substantial portion of the use-and-sell period.

Other Resources

PILMA’s resolution on patent reform [to be added].
Summary of the America Invents Act
Comments from Senator Patrick Leahy on Floor Schedule for Patent Reform Act.
Washington Post Editorial: Why the Patent Process Should be Overhauled [to be added].