Issue Date: January 26, 2009
Manufacturers See Harm In Patent Bills
Patent reform bills expected to be reintroduced in Congress this year would have several adverse effects on U.S. manufacturers, according to an industry group. A report issued by the Manufacturing Alliance on Patent Policy (MAPP), whose members include Dow Corning, DuPont, and Monsanto, concludes that provisions in the legislation designed to limit damage awards in patent infringement lawsuits would decrease the value of patented technologies by as much as $85 billion. The group further estimates that under the proposed changes R&D spending in the U.S. would decrease by up to $66 billion per year, and as many as 298,000 manufacturing jobs would be put at risk. Under the Patent Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1145, H.R. 1908), damage awards for infringement would be calculated according to the value of the component in question, rather than on the market value of the entire product. The congressional debate over patent reform has largely focused on the impact the legislation would have on the information-technology and biotech and pharma industries, but MAPP says it is "crucial for American policymakers to understand how the manufacturing sector will be affected by various proposals to change U.S. patent policy."
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