Hearing of the Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee - Intellectual Property Act of 2007
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REP. DARRELL E. ISSA (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for recognizing my wanting to be recognized.
I want to associate myself, oddly enough, with both Mr. Boucher and with the chairman, because I believe that both are essential when the final passage of this bill occurs.
I'm a cosponsor of this bill and very proudly so. I believe that we have to put real teeth into enforcement. I do share the concern of Mr. Boucher that statutory damages for real disputes about what is or isn't fair use, statutory damages when you're dealing with -- let's just say -- $100 million plus companies on both sides who might also be dealing in patent at the same time as they're dealing in copyright -- we have no statutory rules, no per piece minimum damages on a patent infringement, and as a patent holder some may say we should. But it's very clear that we do have to look carefully at the difference between a dispute about what is legitimate use and what isn't versus those who wantonly use somebody else's intellectual property.
Now, many people know that I came out of hardware production. I came out of the consumer electronics industry, which I note is one of the signators (sic) to this grand alliance of companies with concerns. I would say that one of the things that people don't understand is although the industry has concerns, the industry is also constantly being adversely affected.
Taking only my former company, that I have no economic interest in at all today, but I have a history -- the history includes having my own voice that said, "Protected by Viper -- stand back" stolen and used by others for profit, no payment. I also had my major brand names and in fact clones of my car security products, high-end home audio and car audio products duplicated -- mostly in China but not exclusively -- and brought to this country to not only be sold but for the defectives to come back to me, never having made the original sale.
Those occur every day, and they are not covered by patents that in fact teeth in protection of copyright, trade dress and other protections are equally essential to patent protection on products, and particularly as consumer electronic products tend to become commoditized except for their origin or source. The name Sony, or any number -- Panasonic, et cetera -- mean something and give you a premium over something produced somewhere in mainland China and delivered with a name that usually is not known.
I believe therefore that we do have to make a differentiation between a dispute of a product like Slingbox, the dispute of a product like TiVo, where in fact the court needs to be available to both sides to enter into whether or not they are fairly using and fairly paying for intellectual property. But it's very, very clear that we should not be putting additional statutory demands that would simply cause these products not to be innovated -- innovative. Therefore, I look forward to working not just on the bipartisan basis of the 10 of us who cosponsored this bill but with those who are presently concerned to make this bill not just good but as close to revolutionary in protecting intellectual property both here and on that 60 percent of products that we export.
And with that I yield back in the nick of time.
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