Tech Environmental Impact Statement
HR 5418 – U.S. District Court Patent Pilot Program
Rep. Darrell Issa
Introduced, January 4, 2007
Representative Darrell Issa’s legislation aims to increase judicial expertise on patent cases. Most federal judges hear a wide variety of cases and therefore lack the proficiency to handle increasingly technical patent claims. This bill would improve judicial expertise with patents, by creating a pilot program to educate participating judges on patent law and the technical matters underlying patent claims. The Director of the Administration Office of the U.S. Courts would be required to designate at least five district courts from at least three different judicial circuits for this program. Judges would designate themselves to be included among a pool of possible judges to hear patent cases. The program would last ten years. This legislation helps address patent quality at the district court level. Congress similarly targeted patent quality in the judiciary when in 1982 it created a central appellate court for patent cases, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC).
Tech Environmental Effects
This bill would benefit the tech environment in several ways: • District courts that handle the largest numbers of patent cases would be targeted for this pilot program • Participating judges would more frequently preside over patent cases and therefore enhance their expertise in this area • Greater resources will be available for the educational and professional development of judges and to compensate skilled law clerks with expertise in engineering and hard sciences.
|Tech Environmental Impact Studies
Assessing legislative, regulatory, and judicial activity to determine positive or negative effect on the Tech Environment.
The Tech Environment
The system of legislative, regulatory, and judicial conditions under which technology companies operate, innovate, and compete.
The Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) is an international education and advocacy group for the technology industry. Focusing on the interests of small and mid-size entrepreneurial technology companies, ACT advocates for a “Healthy Tech Environment” that promotes innovation, competition and investment.
The table below applies the TEQI scoring matrix to this legislation. In each of 10 TEQI categories, the bill is analyzed for potential positive or negative effect on the Tech Environment.
|Reduces cost of doing business||+1.0||Litigation costs often represent a significant burden on business, especially for smaller firms. Judges with patent expertise would run their courts more efficiently and productively, keeping lawyers in line and reducing legal fees.|
|Expands Market Opportunities|
|Particularly favorable to small tech firms||+1.0||Patents help protect the intellectual assets of all innovative firms, but patent litigation is cost that is a greater relative burden on the bottom-line of smaller firms. Better judicial enforcement of patent protections help small firms reap the benefits of their work.|
|Takes government out of a market/process|
|Enables firms to participate in regulatory process|
|Reduces uncertainty/encourages investment
(VC, Wall St)
|Encourages consumers to spend|
|Allows for ROI – encourages business spending||+1||Encourages business spending and allows for increased returns on investment. Patents provide incentives for new inventions and help inventors earn a return on their work. Judicial expertise in patent law will improve the value of a patent through rigorous enforcement in infringement actions and proper disposition of bad patents. Increased judicial certainty allows innovators to keep on innovating.|
|Workforce growth/stimulates employment|
HR 5418 is a targeted pilot program that improves the patent litigation process at the district court level. Its aim is simple – increase the expertise of judges hearing patent cases. Its effect could be substantial, if not immediate. Better informed judges can weed out frivolous claims more quickly while focusing on cases with legitimate claims. As a result, anticipated and actual costs of enforcing and defending lawsuits decrease, reducing the burden on all parties but particularly the budgets of small firms. Less money for lawyers means more money for innovating, so firms can increase their research budgets and returns on investment.