HTIA General Counsel John Thorne Statement On House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing
"The High Tech Inventors Alliance (HTIA) commends House Committee Chairman Goodlatte and Subcommittee Chairman Issa for holding hearings to draw attention to the issues of sovereign immunity and the intellectual property system.
"The drug company Allergan recently sold some of its portfolio to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in order to exempt some of its patents from the IPR review process in the name of sovereign immunity. If Allergan is allowed an end run around the existing system, the floodgates to patent trolls will swing wide open.
"Patent trolls are already lining up to follow Allergan's playbook and it extends beyond the pharmaceutical industry. Just last last month the same tribe filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and Amazon for infringing supercomputer patents it is holding for a technology firm.
"The goal on the part of patent trolls is to prevent weak patents from coming under the review process. In 2011 when the Congress drafted the American Invents Act, they did so because of years of the declining quality of US patents. If this is allowed to continue, high tech companies will now run the risk of returning to an era of defending themselves to fight frivolous lawsuits instead of creating jobs and innovation.
"The Inter Partes Review (IPR) program is working as Congress intended. It is giving the public a low-cost vehicle to weed out bad patents from the system."