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Press Release | July 16, 2021

With Rumored USPTO Pick, Biden Prioritized Patronage Over Patent Reform

Intellectual PropertyRevolving Door
With Rumored USPTO Pick, Biden Prioritized Patronage Over Patent Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Eleanor Eagan, eagan@therevolvingdoorproject.org

After months of delay, Biden is rumored to have selected a new Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) acceptable to Delaware Senator Chris Coons. If true, that will mean Biden has sacrificed a critical opportunity to catalyze bold patent reform in the service of political patronage. Reports have indicated that Biden offered Coons, who expressed hope that coronavirus might be a “sword” for stronger IP protections, the power to decide the next USPTO Director as a consolation prize for not having been named Secretary of State. 

As should be painfully clear amid the ongoing pandemic and sluggish worldwide vaccination effort, patent policy is a life and death matter deserving of greater consideration than as a chit to be traded in backroom deals. And Coons is an intellectual property extremist who should have been kept as far from this decision as possible.

  • Throughout his career in Congress, Coons has fought to tilt intellectual property law even further in favor of giant corporations, even when their work was based substantially on research funded by the federal government. 
  • He not only opposed U.S. support for the waiver on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property at the World Trade Organization, but has argued for strengthening the rights of intellectual property holders during the pandemic.  
  • Coons is among the top congressional recipients of money from the pharmaceutical industry which relies on strict IP rules and friendly regulators to jack up prices on essential medicines.
  • Coons, through his family company, has a personal interest in strong IP enforcement to protect the company’s proprietary fabric, GoreTex, and other patents. 

At a moment when the life and death stakes of patent reform are clearer than ever, deferring to an intellectual property extremist like Coons on this critical personnel decision is nothing short of reprehensible. 

Intellectual PropertyRevolving Door

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