1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
(Two blocks from Farragut North Metro)
Post Event Summary
Last year, President Obama signed into law the America Invents Act, the most significant overhaul of U.S. patent law since the 1950s. At an event held on Wednesday at AEI, a panel of experts discussed the impact of this legislation on the nation's patent system and other patent system issues which remain unaddressed and unresolved. Alex Tabarrok, the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, started the discussion by emphasizing that a strong patent system does not necessarily lead to increased innovation, citing the example of Wal-Mart as an incredibly innovative company that holds a comparatively small number of patents. He also highlighted recent failures of the patent system, including the "patent thicket" currently enveloping the U.S. mobile phone industry. Paul Michel, the former chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, claimed that the problems lie with the operators of the system, not the system itself. In his view, the courts are the institution best positioned to oversee the patent system because they can provide incremental and continuous reforms. James V. DeLong, the vice president of the Convergence Law Institute, said that the goal of the patent system should be to encourage investment. He argued that financing innovation is at least as important as the actual act of innovating; consequently, the patent system should reflect that fact. Michael Abramowicz, professor of law at George Washington University Law School, pointed out that economic costs should influence the issuance of patents; if a particular innovation was costly to obtain, it should be treated differently than those that were less expensive.
President Obama last year signed into law the America Invents Act, the most significant overhaul of U.S. patent law since the 1950s. The law addressed some long-run concerns with the nation’s patent system, but it is as yet unclear how much the enacted reforms will bolster innovation. Furthermore, many thorny patent system issues remained unaddressed and unresolved by the bill. At this AEI event, panelists will discuss the practical potential and wisdom of further changes to patent law designed to promote innovation and entrepreneurial vigor in the United States.
Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Registration and Lunch
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
MICHAEL ABRAMOWICZ, George Washington University School of Law
JAMES V. DELONG, Convergence Law Institute
PAUL MICHEL, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (retired)
ALEX TABARROK, George Mason University
NICK SCHULZ, AEI
For more information, please contact Henrik Temp at Henrik.Temp@aei.org, 202.862.5876.
For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at email@example.com, 202.862.4871.
Michael Abramowicz is a professor of law at the George Washington University Law School who specializes in law and economics, spanning areas including intellectual property, civil procedure, corporate law, administrative law and insurance law. His research has been published in the California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Harvard Law Review, Michigan Law Review, New York University Law Review, Stanford Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Yale Law Journal and many others. He has also published a book, titled “Predictocracy: Market Mechanisms for Public and Private Decision Making” (Yale 2007). Before coming to GW Law, Mr. Abramowicz served as an assistant and then associate professor at George Mason University School of Law. Mr. Abramowicz has also served as a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University School of Law and as a visiting associate professor at the University of Chicago Law School.
James V. DeLong is currently the vice president and senior analyst of the Convergence Law Institute/Technology Education Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to research and education on public policy issues, especially in the areas of technology, telecommunications, and intellectual property. From 2003 to 2007, Mr. DeLong was a senior fellow with the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a market-oriented think tank in Washington, D.C., where he directed its activities on intellectual property. Before joining PFF, Mr. DeLong was a senior analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and before that he was the vice president and general counsel of the National Legal Center for the Public Interest. Mr. DeLong is currently finishing an e-book that will appear in May titled “Ending Big SIS (the Special Interest State) and Renewing the American Republic.” He has written many articles, including several for AEI’s The American, such as: “Avoiding a Tech Train Wreck” (2008) and “The Coming of the Fourth American Republic” (2009).
Paul R. Michel was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in March of 1988. On December 25, 2004, he assumed the duties of chief judge, where he served as one of 27 judges on the Judicial Conference of the United States, the governing body of the Judicial Branch. In 2005, he was appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist to also serve on the Judicial Conference’s seven-judge Executive Committee, and on May 31, 2010, Chief Judge Michel stepped down from the bench after serving more than 22 years on the court. In his years on the bench, Judge Michel judged thousands of appeals and wrote over 800 opinions, approximately one-third of which were for patent cases. Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Michel served in the executive and legislative branches for 22 years. He has been named one of the 50 Most Influential People in the world in intellectual property by Managing Intellectual Property magazine. In 2008, Judge Michel was awarded the first annual Lifetime Achievement Award by the Richard Linn American Inn of Court; the Sedona Conference Lifetime Achievement Award; the first “Outstanding Achievement in the Area of Intellectual Property Law” award given by the Philadelphia Intellectual Property Law Association; and the annual Judicial Honoree Award by the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. Judge Michel is also serving as an advisor to a number of organizations, including the Patent Reform Task Force, the Council of the Section on Intellectual Property to the American Bar Association, and the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Networked Innovation project.
Nick Schulz is the DeWitt Wallace Fellow at AEI and editor-in-chief of The American, AEI's online magazine focusing on business, economics, and public affairs. He writes the “Economics 2.0” column for Forbes.com where he analyzes technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. He is the coauthor with Arnold Kling of “From Poverty to Prosperity: Intangible Assets, Hidden Liabilities, and the Lasting Triumph Over Scarcity” (Encounter Books 2011). He has been published widely in newspapers and magazines around the country, including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Slate.
Alex Tabarrok is Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and director of research for The Independent Institute. Mr. Tabarrok coauthors the popular economics blog “Marginal Revolution” with Tyler Cowen. His recent research looks at the effectiveness of bounty hunters compared to the police, how judicial elections bias judges and how local poverty rates impact trial decisions by juries. In the past, Mr. Tabarrok has examined patent system reform, methods to increase the supply of human organs for transplant and the regulation of pharmaceuticals. He coauthored with Tyler Cowen “Modern Principles,” a leading economics textbook, and also was editor of “Entrepreneurial Economics: Bright Ideas from the Dismal Science,” “The Voluntary City: Choice,” “Community,” and “Civil Society and Changing the Guard: Private Prisons and the Control of Crime.” His papers have appeared in the Journal of Law and Economics, Public Choice, Economic Inquiry, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, The American Law and Economics Review, Kyklos and many other journals. Popular articles by Mr. Tabarrok have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and many other magazines and newspapers.