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California Healthcare Institute Joins with Coalition to Ensure Patent Reform Does Not Undermine Biotech Innovation

Thursday, October 25, 2007

La Jolla, CA -- The California Healthcare Institute (CHI) today joined more than 430 companies, associations, venture capital firms, research institutes and universities in voicing concerns that certain provisions included in patent reform legislation (S. 1145, The Patent Reform Act of 2007) pose serious threats to medical innovation and American technological leadership in the increasingly competitive 21st century global economy.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the coalition welcomed efforts to improve the U.S. patent system, while making clear its opposition to S. 1145, as approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Signatories cautioned that certain provisions in S. 1145 on damages, an open-ended post-grant opposition system, and burdensome and expensive mandatory prior art search requirements would lead to greater uncertainty about patent validity, weakened protections against infringement and decreased access to capital, and "pose serious negative consequences for continued innovation and American technological leadership in a competitive global economy." The letter goes on to encourage the authors of the measure to, "make fundamental changes to the legislation if it is to work for all American innovators, and urge (Senate leadership) not to consider the bill on the Senate floor unless such changes are made."

"Biomedical innovation depends in large part on patent certainty and quality. The Senate bill in its current form undermines intellectual property rights and the letter illustrates the growing breadth of concern from biotech leaders," David L. Gollaher, Ph.D., CHI president and chief executive officer, said. "We hope that the Senate will recognize the inherent complexity and importance of biotechnology patents, and realize that certain provisions in the current legislation threaten life sciences investment and innovation in California. Patent reform should improve the system for all innovative sectors of the American economy."

The coalition letter and list of signatories is available at CHI represents more than 250 leading biotechnology, medical device, diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies and public and private academic biomedical research organizations. CHI’s mission is to advance responsible public policies that foster medical innovation and promote scientific discovery.

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