Nearly 30,000 Illinois residents are volunteering for 1,700 clinical trials that test new drugs in the Prairie State. Illinois’ pharmaceutical sector directly supports nearly 38,000 jobs and generates over $53 billion in economic activity every year.
Such research wouldn’t be possible without strong patent laws. Yet a new federal proposal — the “Innovation Act” — would make it difficult to defend a patent. The law’s provisions would increase the cost and time needed to file a patent infringement lawsuit. Many innovators won’t be able to afford the added financial burden.
Since 2012, companies challenging patents have been able to petition an extrajudicial review board to review a patent’s validity. This “Patent Trial and Appeal Board” uses different standards than a district court to assess whether a patent is valid. These standards favor challengers, meaning it’s easy to overturn a patent.
This will discourage investment in bio-pharmaceutical companies, depriving them of the funding needed to create new treatments. To prevent funding cutbacks, Congress should prevent the PTAB from hearing patent disputes that involve medicines.
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Medical research offers hope to Prairie State patients and workers. Illinois’ representatives should protect this innovation by squashing the Innovation Act.
Warren Ribley, president and CEO
Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization, Washington, D.C.