We wrote about the Federal Circuit’s American Axle decision last week, highlighting Judge Kimberly Moore’s fierce dissent. Judge Moore was not the only person with a strong reaction. A day after the decision, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) issued a statement, where he called for a new patent eligibility test. His statement reads:
"Our patent eligibility test is clearly flawed, and the court’s decision yesterday regarding American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. showcases the inadequacies of this test. It’s unthinkable the courts found this invention, a manufacturing process for making a key automotive part, as patent ineligible. The courts have misstated the law several times, which deprives many innovative products of adequate protection. Congress must establish a new eligibility test to encourage investment in developing new U.S. technologies and ensure American inventors aren’t at a global disadvantage. I’ve been working on reforming this test with my colleagues in both the House and the Senate, and I look forward to continuing this important work."
Rep. Collins’ reference to his earlier work on patent reform presumably includes the draft bill introduced by Sens. Thoms Tillis (R.-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.). During a series of congressional hearings, the senators stated that the draft bill was not final, but they planned to finalize the bill after the July 4 recess. The final bill has not yet been introduced.
Rep. Collins’ statement echoes the concerns repeatedly asserted by Sens. Tillis and Coons – namely, that current patent eligibility law hurts investment in U.S. technology and puts American inventors at a disadvantage. (Note: that contention is not universal.) Regardless of its veracity, it’ll be interesting to see if this pushes congress to finalize its patent eligibility bill.
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