America's patent system was intended to promote the creation of useful inventions, but is the system shattered? A property right granted for a limited time, patents have allowed generations of innovators to profit from their creations and, in turn, the public to benefit from thousands of new ideas and technologies. But the rise of litigious patent trolls has suffocated startups and prompted a patent-gathering arms race between technology giants. Has the balance between rewarding innovation and spreading knowledge been lost? And if the marketplace for new ideas is being diminished by overly broad and frivolous patents, what are the implications for innovation, public health, and even our environment?
Join Future Tense—a partnership of Arizona State University, the New America Foundation, and Slate—and the Open Technology Institute on Monday, Dec. 9, in Washington, D.C., from 8:45 a.m.-1 p.m. for an event on what’s wrong with the patent system—and how it can be fixed. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.
8:45 a.m. Coffee and registration
9:00 a.m. "To promote the progress of science and useful arts": Is the System Broken?
Professor of law and co-director of academic programs, George Mason University
Senior scholar, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property
Professor of law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Former academic research counsel, Google
Economic policy reporter, New York Times
9:30 a.m. The Shifting Battleground of Patent Assertion
Director of operations, FindTheBest.com
William H. Sorrell
Attorney general of Vermont
Director, commerce & entrepreneurship, National Restaurant Association
Assistant professor, speech and hearing science and electrical engineering, Arizona State University
Timothy B. Lee
Editor of the Switch, Washington Post
10:30 a.m. Global Health's Challenge to the Logic of Patents
Judit Rius Sanjuan
U.S. manager, access campaign for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières
Thomas J. Bollyky
Senior fellow for global health, economics, and development, Council on Foreign Relations
Staff writer, Slate
11 a.m. Coffee Break
11:15 a.m. Striking a Balance on Green Innovation
Joshua D. Sarnoff
Professor of law, DePaul University
Former consultant to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on international intellectual property, trade, and environmental issues
Lecturer in law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Executive director, Public Patent Foundation
New America Foundation fellow
Author of The Meat Racket, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster
11.45 a.m. Can the Patent System Be Fixed?
Senior staff attorney and the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents, Electronic Frontiers Foundation
President, Application Developers Alliance
Regulatory counsel, Food Marketing Institute
Senior research fellow, Open Technology Institute
12:30 p.m. Keynote Address
Maureen K. Ohlhausen
Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
Update, Nov. 27: This post has been updated to reflect changes in the speaker lineup.