Patent law ‘reform’ unjustly favors big technology firms

This whining by tech firms about “frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits” and how “settlements are a growing drain on business” is a hoax (article, “Unions split over scoring patents,” April 17). Notice how they never give examples. That’s similar to what RIM Ltd. said until the courts held their feet to the fire. These companies pay less in court-ordered settlements than if they honestly paid all parties whose technologies they “borrow.”

Rather, all this talk of a need for patent reform (deform) is but a red herring fabricated by a handful of large tech firms as a diversion from the real issue: that they have no valid defense against charges they are using other parties’ technologies without permission. It’s not about reforming the system. It’s about legalizing theft!

The objective of these large firms is not to fix the patent system, but to destroy it or pervert it so only they may obtain and defend patents; to make it a sport of kings. Patents are a threat against their market dominance. They would rather use their size alone to secure their market position. Patents of others, especially small entities, jeopardize that. For example, the proposed change to eliminate the use of injunctions would only further encourage blatant infringement. Any large company would merely force you to make them take a license. They would have little to lose. Everything would be litigated to death — if a small entity can come up with the cash to pursue. That’s what these large multinationals are betting against. This legislation in regressive, not progressive.

Sadly, some legislators and other parties have been duped by these slick firms and their well-greased lawyers, lobbyists (some disguised as trade or public interest groups), and stealth PR firms.

When corporate America agrees to not use our inventions without consent, American inventors and small entities will agree to stop suing them.

St. Louis

Ignoring Pepper’s long-term care plea

From Larry Minnix, president and CEO, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging

Your story on the new bipartisan healthcare reform group (“Political heavy hitters join forces on healthcare,” April 16) reinforces to us in the healthcare business an important piece of the dialogue that continues to be ignored — long-term care and what to do about the sound and predictable financing of it.

Until the recent Democratic debate in Philadelphia where Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D- N.Y.) addressed the need for a long-term care plan, no presidential candidate has openly discussed it.

The National Commission for Quality Long-term Care asserts in its 2007 report, “It is critically important that policymakers at all levels of government understand that there will be no real solution to the healthcare crisis without a complementary solution to the long-term care crisis, and vise versa.”

In 1990, the Bipartisan Pepper Commission reflected the words of the late Claude Pepper himself, who said that regardless of the strategy chosen, coverage should:

• “Treat long-term care as an insurable event — that is an event whose risk can be spread through private and/or public coverage.”

• “Be affordable to all Americans.”

• “Allow personal choice of care and setting.”

• “Assure quality care and provide for consumer protections.”

Our current predicament of fighting over Medicaid dollars and forcing poverty to qualify is unhealthy and unsustainable. Claude Pepper needs an heir. We must, at last, make it affordable to care.


More qualified

From Howard Lohmuller

(Regarding article, “Bush’s HUD nominee draws mixed reaction,” April 18.) The fact that Steve Preston has met three payrolls in private businesses makes him eminently more qualified to take the job at HUD than Sen. Chris Dodd  (D-Conn.) is qualified to criticize his ability to do the job.

Seabrook, Texas