Intellectual Property Education Lags the U.S. Economy

Manny W. Schecter in Consumer Business Review on August 9, 2017

Have you ever watched an episode of the television show Shark Tank? Contestants attempt to attract investments in their businesses by marketing them to moguls (the “sharks”). Innovation and entrepreneurship are strong themes. Virtually every contestant with a new product is asked about patent protection. Contestants lacking patent protection almost always fail to secure investments…

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Water Balloons, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the PTAB

Paul Morinville in IPWatchdog on January 27, 2017

Josh Malone has eight kids. On a hot Texas days, he and his kids enjoy a water balloon fight to cool things off. Josh is normally in the rear with the gear. He is the family reloader, filling and tying water balloons to supply his kids with the ammunition necessary to keep the back yard action going. It was during one of these skirmishes that Josh figured he could replace himself if he just created a weapon of mass destruction. He thought of several ways of doing it and then, like so many inventors before him, he obsessively tinkered until he finally invented one that worked. It screws on a garden hose and has dozens of long tubes. Attached to the end of each tube is a self-sealing balloon. You just turn on the hose and when the balloons are substantially filled, you shake them, they fall off and the kids launch another attack. Leonardo da Vinci would be proud…

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[Free Lunch] Is There a “Death Squad” at the U.S. Patent Office?: Examining the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

Start: Friday, August 18, 2017 12:00 PM ET
End: Friday, August 18, 2017 1:00 PM ET

In 2011, Congress created a new administrative tribunal in the U.S. Patent Office with the power to cancel previously granted patents, called the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The PTAB was created to provide an efficient and inexpensive administrative process for eliminating low-quality patents – what are called “bad patents.” Despite its laudable purpose, the PTAB has earned a reputation among some as a prime example of regulatory overreach. The PTAB’s critics cite a wide range of concerns including inadequate due process protections and bias against patents. A former federal appellate chief judge even referred to PTAB administrative judges as “patent death squads.” So, is the PTAB indeed harming the property rights that have helped to drive the U.S. innovation economy for over 200 years or, is it functioning as intended? What are the concerns of its detractors? If these concerns are valid, does the PTAB need simple reform or more?

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Innovation: history’s great free lunch

Mark F. Schultz in WIPO Magazine in June, 2017

Innovation as a concept suffers from the paradox of being both overexposed and underappreciated. Countries seek to build innovation economies, regions want to be innovation hubs, companies hope to be seen as innovators, and so on. People certainly see innovation as important and desirable, but they sometimes fail to recognize just how fundamentally important it is to the modern economy…

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Senators Coons and Cotton introduce STRONGER Patents Act of 2017

Brian Pomper in IPWatchdog on June 21, 2017

The Innovation Alliance commends Senators Coons and Cotton for introducing the bipartisan STRONGER Patents Act of 2017. This comprehensive legislation is exactly what is needed to strengthen our patent system, which will promote American innovation, competitiveness and job creation…

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Inventors Torch Patents Outside PTO, Decry Review Process

Malathi Nayak in Bloomberg BNA on August 11, 2017

About a dozen inventors in town for a conference set their patents aflame in front of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office headquarters Aug. 11 to protest what they called an unfair administrative system for invalidating patents…

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Austin’s Regulations for Kid Lemonade Stands are Unintentionally Hilarious

Nick Sibilla for the Institute for Justice on March 31, 2016

As part of a nationwide effort to encourage kids to become entrepreneurs, Austin will celebrate May 7 as “Lemonade Day.” Since 2009, over 80,000 kids in Austin “sold more than $1.5 million of lemonade and donated over $750,000 to local non-profits,” according to the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas.

Ever gracious, the Austin City Council approved an ordinance to spare young lemonade sellers from parts of the city’s mind-numbing bureaucracy. On Lemonade Day—and only on Lemonade Day—registered participants do not have to spend $35 to obtain a “temporary food permit,” and are also exempt from spending a staggering $425 on “a license agreement and fees” to use public property…

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Virginia’s booming wild-caught blue catfish industry may weaken under federal regulation

Pamela A. D’Angelo in The Free Lance-Star on July 23, 2017

It’s been a rough year for Virginia’s seafood industry.

Earlier this year, the U.S. cap on foreign seasonal H2B workers forced some local seafood processing plants to shut down parts of their operations. Then came the bad news that blue crab harvests would be reduced this fall and next spring, after fisheries managers determined the juvenile population was low…

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Does the Federal Government Have a Role to Play in Combatting Bad State Licensing Laws?

Eric Boehm in Reason on August 10, 2017

It’s still illegal to sell flowers in Louisiana without being a licensed florist. You’re still not allowed to sell caskets in Virginia without being a licensed funeral director.

Those are outliers inasmuch as most states don’t require licenses for those activities. But they’re typical in that, like many licensing laws, they don’t protect the health and safety of the general public. All they really do is restrict economic freedom by unfairly limiting competition in certain professions…

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[Event] Occupational Licensing, Antitrust, and Innovation

Start: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 12:00 PM ET
End: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 1:15 PM ET

Every state has laws or regulations that require individuals seeking to offer a certain service to the public first to obtain approval from the state before they may operate in the state. Recent years have seen a significant proliferation of such laws, with less than 5% of jobs in the American economy requiring a license in the 1950’s to between 25-30% today. Although licensing in some occupations may benefit the public by reducing information asymmetry and/or ensuring a minimum quality level for a particular service, the significant growth in the number of occupations governed by some form of licensing requirements poses a potential threat to competition and consumer welfare. Our panel of experts will discuss these important issues…

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