Universities Response to Patent “Reform” Legislation
On February 24th, a letter sent by the Association of American Universities, signed by 145 universities, to Senators Grassley and Leahy and Representatives Goodlatte and Conyers, objected to parts of legislation such as “The Innovation Act, H.R. 9” that purports to deter litigation by non-practicing entities, such as patent “trolls.” The Universities emphasized the damage that fee-shifting provisions requiring the loser of an infringement suit to pay the winner’s costs and fees would do to educational and research institutions that already find it financially difficult to enforce their IP rights. The letter pointed out the chilling effect such provisions would have on attempts to license technology, especially to start-ups. Also noted was the fact that mandatory joinder provisions could draw a university and its inventors into litigation initiated by third parties over which the university has little control.