Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act

Floor Speech

By:  Mel Watt
Date: July 25, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. WATT. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Chair, after 6 long years of negotiation, thoughtful consideration, and bipartisan cooperation, we passed a patent reform bill which was signed into law on September 16, 2011, by President Obama. At the time the bill was passed, Speaker Boehner said:

Modernizing our patent system for America's innovators and job creators is an important part of the Republican Jobs Plan. This bipartisan measure reflects our commitment to find common ground with the President on removing barriers to private sector job growth, and I am pleased to see it signed into law.

Under the America Invents Act, we the Congress, Republicans and Democrats, directed the United States Patent and Trademark Office to issue 20 implementing rules. Of the 20 implementing rules, seven have already been implemented, nine have been noticed, and four are under development. Under this bill that we are considering today, that entire process would be stopped in its tracks.

Among the most troubling aspects of stopping the rulemaking process in this case is a rule that would be specifically designed to assist micro entities in securing patents for their inventions. It's a law that says, once the rule is adopted by the Patent and Trademark Office, micro entities will get a 75 percent reduction in the filing fees that they have applicable to them.

The Director of the Patent and Trademark Office has said:

The new micro entity provision in the America Invents Act makes our patent system more accessible for smaller innovators by entitling them to a 75 percent discount on patent fees. By paying discounted patent fees as micro entities, smaller innovators can access the patent system to move their ideas into the marketplace.

Although the micro entity definition became effective September 16 when the President signed the bill into law--the date of enactment of the patent reform bill--the discount is not available to these small entities until these rules are passed, and this bill would make it impossible for us to adopt the rules.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. WATT. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Let me get this straight. We have passed a bill on a bipartisan basis that directs that rules be written, and then we want, when the rules are written, to have it come back to Congress so that we can approve those rules. Tell me, first of all, what sense that makes.

Second of all, the gentleman obviously is not aware of some of the corporations that have started off as micro enterprises if he does not believe that this measures up to his $100 million, or whatever the threshold is. Let me read him some of the companies that started off as micro enterprises.

What about Google or Apple or Instagram or Microsoft or Facebook, a whole litany of people that, were this 75 percent reduction in fees not in effect, might have been discouraged from ever even applying for a patent. So this notion that this doesn't add up to $100 million, or whatever this threshold is, is just false.

The notion that we would tell the administration to adopt a set of rules and then say, okay, we're going to micromanage you and you've got to come back over here so we can cross your T's and dot your I's in a noncontroversial way like this and delay the process of innovation in our country is just nonsensical.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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