The U.S. leads the world in biotech innovation, delivering solutions to combat debilitating and rare diseases, reduce our environmental footprint and feed the hungry. However, our weakening patent system has reduced the incentives and safeguards small biotech companies rely upon to deliver over 65% of the industry’s innovative products and technologies.
Unfortunately, changes to our patent laws over the last 15 years, through legislation, agency actions, and court decisions, have severely weakened the patent rights of inventors and innovators. Although it was once considered the gold standard for the rest of the world, in the latest global survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, our patent system was rated only 12th in the world, behind nations like Singapore, France, and South Korea.
A new documentary on the patent system highlights the fact that the crisis is not just a concern of the biotech industry. Invalidated: The Shredding of the US Patent System – demonstrates the real-world impact caused by United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTO) flawed policies.
Misuse of the PTO’s administrative tribunal, known as the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), is at the heart of the problem. Anyone— from anywhere in the world—can file a petition at the PTAB to invalidate any U.S. patent. As the documentary explains, valuable patents have been invalidated at the PTAB even though they were successfully defended in federal court multiple times.
BIO supports balanced reforms to reduce such abusive practices, while enhancing the strong incentives necessary to sustain our nation’s global leadership in biotechnology innovation and the creation of high-wage, high-value jobs throughout our country.
BIO supports the STRONGER Patents Act and will continue to advocate for passage of legislation to curb abusive patent practices, while strengthening the ability of patent owners to defend their inventions and businesses against infringement.