House Approves Patent Reform
Rohrabacher repeatedly made references to "powerful and arrogant" companies determined to change the patent system. Kaptur was more specific: "This bill heavily favors big tech, some of the worse infringers in the country. The bill gives too much power to big tech, trans-national companies." Not surprisingly, technology groups rushed to praise the House action."We are very pleased, this is a good sign for technology," Mark Bohannon, senior vice president of public policy for the Washington-based Software & Information Industry Association, told eWEEK in an interview after the House vote. "Its really a significant step. We havent seen it happen before."Click here to read an interview with Sun Microsystems Chief Open Source Officer about the need for patent reform. As for the tech bashing, Bohannon added, "Weve heard it for a number of years from those who dont want to change the law. Really, we heard nothing new." Roger Cochetti, group director of U.S Public Policy for the Computing Technology Industry Association, said in a statement, "With the [bill], U.S. large and medium-sized IT companies will be better fortified to protect their hard-earned inventions from poachers and trolls, fostering more product innovation that is developed on our shores, and boosting jobs stateside." In a statement, Business Software Alliance President and CEO Robert Holleyman called the House vote historic. "This much needed legislation would drive innovation that will benefit consumers for generations to come," he said. Microsoft said in a statement that it "supports a balanced, effective patent system that drives innovation, opportunity and growth for both inventors and users of technology. Today, the members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to support American innovation and to preserve incentives for progress in our nations patent system. Weighing in from the other side, the Coalition for 21st Century Reform, which represents manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, said the House vote favors infringers over inventors. "We are sending an international message that patented American technology may now be copied with little or no consequence," the group said in a statement. "This is the wrong time to send this message." The Coalition added, though, that it believes consensus legislation is still achievable. "In that regard, during todays debate, we were encouraged that the bills sponsors agreed to address several areas of concern, including the damages provisions, as the legislation works it way through the process," the group said. Berman said during the floor debate he intends to continue to work with opponents, but final House passage was important. "Doing nothing is not a good answer for a Congress that wants to keep this economy growing," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.