07 January 2008
On the Republican side, Mitt Romney has already made a statement in his campaign on key patent issues and has gained certain support in the patent bar; no "patent pulse" has been observed for Governor Huckabee or any other Republican candidate.
On the Democratic side, a stark contrast exists between Senators Clinton and Obama, while Senator Edwards has not shown a patent pulse. For details of the experience of the two Democratic Senators in patent law, see "Presidential Candidates’ Experience and Interest in Patents: Romney, Obama Tops".
For many months the need for the patent community to get involved with Presidential campaigns at an early stage has been stressed. Only with early involvement will a new President pick a patent-savvy Director instead of making the position a fungible political plum. As important, at least nine (9) of the twelve Federal Circuit judgeships are either currently senior-eligible or will be during the next four years: Getting solid Federal Circuit appointments should be an imperative for serious users of the patent system.
The criticisms voiced by me eralier are directed more at the collective leadership of the patent community that must get involved with all the presidential campaigns. [H]atchet job on poor Hillary". A Hillary defender asked me: "Why the hatchet job on poor Hillary when she’s down after Iowa? The Romney letter is no more than platitudes probably drafted by his PR folks, and only the last two paragraphs of the 9-page Obama campaign piece are directed to nebulous patent reform proposals. Your suggestions that Obama’s putative expertise was acquired by virtue of his tender age and osmosis while on the Chicago faculty are ludicrous."
In fact, it has only been in the past generation that patents have come to the fore: When Hillary was at Yale and in her years at the Rose Law Firm, there was very little interest in patents in the academy or in larger non-patent law firms. All that has changed, making Obama the intergenerational beneficiary. In fact, Obama did have serious interactions while at Chicago with faculty members interested I patents, far from being "ludicrous".
But, again, the point is not Hillary bashing but rather an encouragement that backers of candidates beyond Romney and Obama get involved with the various campaigns, at a time when meaningful input can be made. More on IP and the US Presidency, click here
Hal Wegner, Washington