Universities and their faculty inventors face enough challenges already without adding avoidable litigation to the mix. Technology transfer offices are not prepared for additional complexities of IP ownership; much less ones that could lessen the long term value and market results if the proposed patent reform comes to fruition.
Another area where MAPP and NSBA overlap is in opposition to the expanded post-grant review process. Essentially, a patent could be granted that could then be challenged by any number of parties for any reason for an expanded length of time. This would unnecessarily weaken the strength of an issued patent. This also exacerbates the challenges in bringing an innovation to market. If alleged co-claimants are allowed to muddy the waters based on weak allegations, it can be more costly for small business interests and delay processes to an extent that even large manufacturing interests are overburdened.
For MAPP, the appeal to leadership is based on their position that the current reform measure could cause the loss of an estimated 300,000 manufacturing jobs and reduce investment in R&D by $66 billion. Two-thirds of the value of manufacturers is their intangible assets, which include its patents. Devaluing these would spell disaster for the collectives that make up this industry. With the U.S. economy on the brink of recovery, can we afford a potential misstep of this magnitude?
The NSBA's cause may resonate even closer to home. Small businesses employ roughly one-half of the private work-force, drive one-third of U.S. export value and create three-fourths of new jobs in the U.S. With big businesses out-sourcing and off-shoring, small business has become the bread and butter of the American work force and economy and a fertile ground for start-ups who often develop out of the academic environment.
Although the first two attempts at patent reform failed, with a different make-up in Congress, the fate of U.S. intellectual property is very much up in the air. MAPP favors reforms originating from the U.S. Patent Office while NSBA wants to see less drastic reform issued by Congress. Yet special interest groups with deep pockets could yet derail the long-term best interests of our nation and push through the decidedly one-sided patent reform now on the legislative agenda.