Bottom line is that the pending legislation would make it harder for patent holders to enforce their rights or win just compensation from those who infringe their rights. It would be harder to prove "willful" infringement, which entails punitive damages. The bill also includes a mandatory apportionment test that would lessen the value assigned to patents in most products.
Not only would the bill reduce the value of patents, but it would facilitate patent theft.
Under our current system, inventors can "opt-out" of having their application published by filing "only" in the United States and not in another country where it can be ripped off. The current bill would eliminate the opt-out provision.
Think â€œhealth care innovation.â€ Then think â€œIndia.â€
According to the Center for the Study of Drug Development at Tufts University, only 1 in every 5,000 compounds screened becomes an approved medicine. This means of every 5,000-10,000 compounds tested, only 250 enter pre-clinical testing, five into clinical testing and only one achieves FDA approval. Without robust intellectual property protection, no company, even ones with the most benevolent motivations, would find it feasible to develop new, innovative, lifesaving and life enhancing-products for consumers.
There are precious few â€œEureka!â€ occasions in healthcare. Progress is made step-by-step, one incremental innovation at a time. And those incremental innovations require extensive research and are expensive. But, thatâ€™s how health care progress is made â€“ not through Hollywood-style â€œAha!â€ moments so popular with politicians and pundits.
Does our patent system need reform? Thatâ€™s a question for patent experts. Should we facilitate a patent system that disincentivizes pharmaceutical innovation? Thatâ€™s a no-brainer.