Friday, April 4, 2008

Will Congress, Clinton Allow Narrow Corporate Interests to Reform US Patent Law in a Way that Undermines US Innovation and Global Competitiveness?

Local inventor presses Clinton on proposed patent reform

Bill O' Boyle

Times Leader (Northeastern Pennsylvania)

April 4, 2008

Scott Spinucci of Wilkes-Barre wants to block changes he says would favor big business. A local inventor and entrepreneur pushed and shoved his way through the crowd at King’s College on Tuesday to ask Sen. Hillary Clinton a question.

Scott Spinucci, of Wilkes-Barre, who works locally and in New York City, asked Clinton how she stood on the Patent Reform Act of 2007 that will come up for a vote before the Senate in a few weeks. The bill passed the House of Representatives on Sept. 7.

“Will the candidates side with big business or the little guy?” Spinucci asked. “It’s as simple as that.”

According to, a technology information Web site, the proposed legislation’s major provisions would create: a new framework for calculating damages in patent suits; a new, non-judicial body for mediating patent disputes early on; and limits on findings of “willful” patent infringement.

Spinucci said Clinton told him she opposes anything in the bill that would hurt manufacturers. Spinucci presented documentation showing Pennsylvania manufacturers oppose the bill; Clinton said New York manufacturers also oppose it.

During a follow-up conversation, Spinucci said Clinton seemed interested in the issue and took Spinucci’s card.

“We currently have the strongest, most robust patent system in the world – our last true great competitive advantage on the world stage,” Spinucci said. “Sadly, it seems as though, based on the Senate pushing the Patent Bill through Congress, that we’re willing to appease multinational corporations so they can offer more shareholder value. These companies are making money hand over fist while our inventors and former manufacturing workers are left to take minimum-wage jobs at Wal-Mart just to feed their families.”

Spinucci says the patent law and the continuing patent debate before the Senate is complicated, but the issues and what’s at stake are not.

“It all boils down to our livelihoods and the very future of America’s economy in the age of globalization,” Spinucci said. “It’s a matter of corporate greed re-landscaping a currently fair, level playing field for all, into their very own private parking garage.”

Spinucci alleges lobbyists for a group called The Coalition for Patent Fairness is “reforming a well-working, albeit imperfect, patent system, into one that fits their own interests.

“And that’s everything but fair,” Spinucci said. “Their assertions that the patent system is broken are completely untrue.”

If the bill becomes law, Spinucci said America would lose its last great competitive advantage.

Bill O’Boyle, a Times Leader staff writer, can be reached at 829-7218

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