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Public Statements

Patent Reform Act of 2007

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BERMAN. Madam Chairman, first I have to say that we wouldn't be here, not only for his substantive contributions to this legislation, but because of his suggestions about the approach we should take, whether it was in full committee or as we move towards the floor in terms of working out problems that existed, and that's Chairman Conyers. He played a critical role in getting us to this point.

Lamar Smith, Howard Coble, Rick Boucher, who I started this with, Darrell Issa, Zoe Lofgren, Adam Schiff, Bob Goodlatte, a number of people played key roles in all this. I don't have too much time. The staff, on an issue like this, was indispensable; they made incredible contributions. This is really complicated stuff. Perry Apelbaum who demonstrated great leadership and guidance on many issues, George Elliott, a detailee from the Patent Office who is a great resource, Karl Manheim, who decided to spend his sabbatical helping on patent reform, Eric Gorduna who spent his summer working on the committee report, countless other staff, and of course my Chief Counsel Shanna Winters.

But the question is why, why are we doing this? And here are the things we are told by groups like the National Academy of Sciences and so many other organizations that are tremendously respected for their understanding of science and of our economy:

One, there are serious problems in the patent system;

Two, many poor-quality patents have been issued, which cheapen the value of patents generally;

Three, there have been a variety of abuses in patent litigation rules that have taken valuable resources away from research and innovation;

Four, U.S.-based businesses are disadvantaged because our patent laws aren't harmonized with the rest of the world.

Many organizations, many groups have argued for these reforms.

A quick statement about support. Every major consumer group in this country has endorsed this legislation. There is tremendous support in the financial services sector, in the high technology sector. The universities have now, University of California, which is one of the critical magnets of research and development, have supported passage of this legislation through the House. The American Association of Universities has supported moving the bill forward.

And one last comment. There is one very controversial issue, aside from the ones addressed by the amendments that we have seen that are not fully dealt with, and that particularly relates to the issue of damages and the apportionment of damages. It is our commitment, my commitment, the chairman's commitment, Mr. Smith's commitment, Mr. Coble's commitment, to work with people who are concerned about that language to reach an appropriate middle ground that reforms the way damages are calculated between now and the conference committee and when this comes back to deal with that controversy.

I urge strong support for this bill so we can make this historic effort, first in 60 years, move forward to ultimate enactment.

I include short list of the range of groups that support this bill.

The Business Software Association, The Financial Services Roundtable, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, TechNet, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Knowledge Ecology International, Public Knowledge, United States Public Interest Research Group, American Corn Growers Association, American Agricultural Movement, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, National Family Farm Coalition, National Farmers Organization, Rural Coalition, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Computer and Communications Industry Association, Computing Technology Industry Association, Illinois IT Association, Information Technology Association of America, Information Technology Industry Council, Software & Information Industry Association, St. Jude Medical, Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, Inc., Hampton Roads Technology Council, Northern Virginia Technology Council.

PATENT REFORM ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - September 07, 2007)

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Mr. BERMAN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Madam Chairman, just because the gentleman says it is so, doesn't mean it is so. I have letters from the AFL-CIO, the university community, and the major centers of innovation and research in this country that directly contradict his assertion that they are opposed to the passage of this bill. The Members of this body should understand that.

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