An improved Patent and Trademark Office can create jobs. Last week, the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Compensation and the Internet met to discuss "how an improved U.S. Patent and Trademark Office can create jobs." The Subcommittee, part of the Committee on the Judiciary, invited several patent experts including Lilly Chief Counsel, Douglas Norman. As President of the Intellectual Property Owners, Norman spoke on behalf of companies, including Lilly, who invest heavily in R&D, are leaders in innovation and have a "stronger record of creating manufacturing and service jobs than industries that are less innovative."
In his testimony, Norman highlighted the benefits of converting to a "first-inventor-to-file" patent system, a key element of proposed patent reform legislation. He emphasized that this feature would "increase legal certainty for patent rights [and]...will simplify proceedings in the Patent and Trademark Office." In addition to the need for timely review and response, Norman emphasized the importance of new administrative challenge procedures at the PTO. In short, patent owners must have confidence that their patent will be upheld by the courts. Without this protection, companies have little incentive to innovate.
Also appearing before the House IP subcommittee was PTO Director David Kappos, the Administration official charged with operating the patent office and forming patent policy. During his testimony, Kappos focused on reducing patent backlog and providing applicants with more options when completing a patent application. Like Norman, he reinforced the need for timely and quality review.
The hearing highlighted numerous challenges facing IP reform, but also a number of short term goals that when met will provide greater incentives for innovating. Like those testifying, we support the goals of the PTO's 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, which include:
- Optimize Patent Quality and Timeliness
- Optimize Trademark Quality and Timeliness
- Provide Domestic and Global Leadership to Improve Intellectual Property Policy, Protection and Enforcement Worldwide
If met, these achievements will surely help to achieve the Subcommittees goal of creating jobs through an improved PTO.