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Event Summary

Public pressure to address the explosive growth in US patent-infringement lawsuits and related patent issues has been growing over the past few years. On Thursday, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and an expert panel joined AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy to discuss recent legislative efforts to curtail abusive patent litigation.

Goodlatte opened the event by laying out the provisions of his new bill, the Innovation Act of 2013, which was officially announced on Wednesday. The congressman said he is hopeful the Senate will write comparable legislation, and that the bill will progress in a timely fashion.

Following the congressman’s remarks, Jim Bessen of Boston University School of Law began a panel discussion by providing context on the scope of the patent litigation issue, describing it as a tax on research and development. Michael Beckerman of the Internet Association highlighted how the issue is no longer confined to the technology realm, but now impacts almost every aspect of society, including retail stores, restaurants, and airlines. Kevin Rhodes of 3M cautioned that bringing more patents into special review systems could become a slippery slope, but concluded by commending Congressman Goodlatte’s bill and efforts.
–Guro Ekrann

This event is sponsored by AEI’s new Center on Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy.

Event Description

Public pressure to address the explosive growth in patent infringement lawsuits and related patent issues has been growing over the past few years. Congress is considering multiple patent-related bills, and a proposed reform of the system has significant bipartisan support.

Join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for an event exploring the need for change, the different proposals under consideration in Congress, and the potential outcomes of reform.


If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.



8:45 AM
Jeffrey Eisenach

9:00 AM
Keynote Address:
Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee (R-VA)

9:45 AM
Michael Beckerman, Internet Association
Jim Bessen, Boston University School of Law
Kevin Rhodes, 3M

Claude Barfield,  AEI

11:00 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Guro Ekrann at [email protected], 202.862.5882.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Claude Barfield is a resident scholar at AEI who researches international trade policy (including trade policy in China and East Asia), the World Trade Organization (WTO), intellectual property, and science and technology policy. He is a former consultant to the Office of the US Trade Representative. His many books include “Free Trade, Sovereignty, Democracy: The Future of the World Trade Organization” (AEI Press, 2001), in which he identifies challenges to the WTO and to the future of trade liberalization.

Michael Beckerman
is the president and CEO of the Internet Association, a trade association representing leading Internet companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Before joining the Internet Association in 2012, Beckerman spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill working as a deputy staff director for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees US Internet policies. Beckerman has been a prominent spokesman for the Internet industry, frequently appearing on television and radio shows on behalf of the association’s members.

Jim Bessen is a lecturer in law at the Boston University School of Law. Bessen’s research focuses on the economics of innovation and patents, and has been cited extensively by the media and in judicial and regulatory contexts. Bessen is also the author of “Patent Failure” (Princeton University Press, 2008) and previously founded a commercially successful publishing software company.

Jeffrey Eisenach
is a visiting scholar at AEI. Eisenach has served in senior positions at the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of Management and Budget. At AEI, he focuses on policies affecting the information technology sector, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Eisenach is also a managing director and principal at Navigant Economics and an adjunct professor at the George Mason University School of Law, where he teaches Regulated Industries. He writes on a wide range of issues, including industrial organization, communications policy and the Internet, government regulations, labor economics, and public finance. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Bob Goodlatte represents Virginia’s sixth congressional district in the US House of Representatives. First elected to Congress in 1992, Rep. Goodlatte has served in a number of leadership roles on the Judiciary Committee and has chaired the committee since January 2013. He has also established himself as a leader on Internet and high-tech issues throughout his time in Congress, currently serving as cochair of the Congressional Internet Caucus and as chairman of the House Republican Technology Working Group.

Kevin Rhodes is the president and chief intellectual property counsel of 3M Innovative Properties Company, meaning he is responsible for managing the intellectual property assets of 3M and its international affiliates. Before joining 3M, Rhodes specialized in intellectual property litigation as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. A member of the board of directors for both the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the Intellectual Property Owner’s Association, Rhodes has testified before Congress and spoken widely on issues surrounding intellectual property.

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