By Drew Clark for Intellectual Property Watch
WASHINGTON, DC – With major legislative changes to the United States patent system unfinished as the 110th Congress prepares to dissolve, Executive- and Judicial-branch agencies on Friday jostled for authority over future patent policy.
Speaking at a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hearing on “The Evolving Intellectual Property Marketplace,” FTC Chairman William Kovacic set the stage for what he said would be the “first in a series of events” to revisit the agency’s work five years ago on the impact patents have on competition policy.
Kovacic said that “coming up with good solutions to IP policy requires a genuinely multidisciplinary” approach, and that the FTC is well-suited to the task because of its ability to educate, convene and take appropriate enforcement actions.
Later in the day, the chief judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over all patent appeals, said that neither Congress nor the executive branch should be actively involved in overhauling intellectual property.
Rather, said Chief Judge Paul R Michel, “We will probably make more progress in the courts through case law” than by asking the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or Congress to wade deep into intellectual property conflicts.
“Everyone should make their own choice about who is the right actor to make fine balancing decisions,” continued Michel, adding that “this is what courts do all the time, probably way better than Congress.”