State of Innovation

Patents and Innovation Economics

Why I Quit the AIPLA (American Intellectual Property Law Association)

I received a survey from AIPLA asking my opinion of the organization, but clearly the designers of the survey were not interest in real feedback.  As a result, I will provide it in this blog post.  The AIPLA for patent attorneys has become what the AMA (American Medical Association) is for doctors or what the ABA has become for lawyers.  At one time, the ABA was a well respected organization that focused on attorney education and important legal issues, but then it became leftist lobbying organization and attorneys have been leaving it in droves.  At one time almost every M.D. joined the AMA, but its left wing push, including supporting Obamacare, have caused its membership to decline drastically.  I predict something similar for the AIPLA.

The AIPLA has become nothing more than a lobbying organization for large multinationals and foreign interests.  When I started as a patent attorney in 1993, the AIPLA was the premier professional organization for IP attorneys.  Since I joined, the AIPLA has championed the subversion of US patent law in the form of supporting the American Inventor’s Protection Act of 1999, which requires[1] the publication of patent applications 18 months after they are filed.  The AIPLA did not push for the real solution to the problem of patents issuing years after they were filed, which was to fully fund the Patent Office and demand they examine and issue patents in well under 18 months.  Edison’s patent on the light bulb issued in three months.  Publication is in direct opposition to the defining theory of patents – the social contract, which states that the inventor receives a property right in their invention in return for disclosing their invention (trade secret).  Publication destroys the quid pro quo of patents.  The public/government gets the benefit of disclosure even if the inventor believes the Patent Office has not made a fair deal.

The publication rule was pushed by foreign countries, foreign companies, and large multinationals.  The result of this law has been to double the pendency time for patents.  This has become nothing more than a way to steal American Technology, particularly from our most creative inventors – small companies and independent inventors.  It is no wonder that the US economy was  in a slow decline from 2000 to 2008 and since then has been mired in a depression.

Then the AIPLA decided to actively push the America Inventors Act of 2011.  This is an incredibly corrupt piece of legislation laden with special interest goodies and is un-Constitutional.  The special interest goodies included a special provision for Wall Street that the Data Treasury patent is effectively invalid, a special rule for the law firm Wilmer Hale and The Medicines Company that extended the length of their patent and avoided a huge malpractice suit, a special rule for patents on financial products and services – another Wall Street give away.  Judge Michel, former head of the CAFC, had this to say about the AIA

 Fatal defects of the legislation includes section 18 (business method patent – Wall Street giveaway), section 14 (no patents on tax strategies), parts of section 5 (prior commercial use – trade secret protection system), parts of section 6 (post grant review).

Judge Michel also pointed out that the AIA does not solve the fee diversion issue which was its main selling point.  If the AIPLA was not pushing an agenda for large corporations, Foreign companies and countries, you would never expect to see so a large split between it and one of the leading judges of patent law.  But in its infinite wisdom the AIPLA decided to push forward with this pork barrel legislation.

As if this is not enough, the AIA’s first to file rule and its fee setting authority are un-Constitutional.  See One Year Anniversary of Patent Reform: Two Reasons Why it is Un-Constitutional.  The AIPLA has become a lobbying organization that hides its true agenda, while putting forward a different public relations face, just like the ABA and the AMA.  I predict the AIPLA will go the same way as these organizations – declining membership, declining revenue, and disgust by patent attorneys and the general public.

[1] It did not require publication of all patent applications, but does require this if you are going to foreign file and made it difficult to change your mind after filing.  This was clearly the first step requiring publication of all patent applications.

October 2, 2012 - Posted by | News, Patents | , , , ,


  1. I’m glad to see this. I left the ABA years ago when it decided to become a pro-abortion organization. I have a temporary 6-month free membership now, only because it is free. I don’t plan to extend it when it expires.

    Comment by Steven Imparl | October 2, 2012 | Reply

  2. It was one thing when Chase stole these patent over 10 years ago and finally admitted it after 5 years of litigation allowing Datatreasury to then go after the 56 biggest banks . Then after numerous settlements and a court victory against a corrupt US Bank . The juror that decided to take off . Datatreasury gets thru all that only to have a corrupt Charles Schummer who took in well over $20 mil close to $30 mil to get a law that not only changes all precedent but also goes back in time makes our government and our politicians a joke , just a bunch of thieving politicians that do not have a clue as to how fix anything except the linings of their pockets . By the way the Supreme Court ruled on the first to file , first to invent which was the body of this ridiculous new law, the ruling being first to invent and they still change the law . Our politicians do not have a clue on what to do along with a system that is the most corrupt and stupid . It was discussed prior that one of the only things left in the USA was intellectual property and now for all practical purposes that is gone . The story ends up like this Chinese children will play with toys made in America . Our great country is not so great anymore and our politicians are just thieves and the game is coming to an end .

    Comment by Frederick S Baum | October 3, 2012 | Reply

    • Good points. In addition, we have a bunch of economists and the Fed who believe you can create wealth by counterfeiting money.

      Comment by dbhalling | October 3, 2012 | Reply

  3. America is starting to look more and more like a third world country.
    I invested in Datatreasury some 12 years ago. A promising young inventor
    named Claudio Ballard had an invention that he was trying to market and
    needed investment capital. The invention was for the Global Repository
    Platform. It covered among other things, secure remote capture,
    processing, storage and retrieval of various types of files documents
    and images. This was big… and it was sanctioned by not one, but two
    United States Patents. That used to mean something!
    Some years later around 2005, First Data Co.
    exercised it’s constitutional rights to challenge the validity of both
    patents. In the end we not only survived the challenge but were also
    aloud to add certain claims not asserted previously strengthening the
    patents even more . Emboldened by these new credentials I continued to
    invest. Soon not only did JP Morgan settle, they also signed a
    consent judgement acknowledging the validity of said patents. This was
    also big because it was JP Morgan that Claudio originally pitched the
    idea to, who then violated a non-disclosure agreement and leaked the
    technology into the banking industry thru Viewpoint Services.
    Finally a jury verdict with willful damages awarded against US Bancorp, the only
    bank to take it all the way to trial.
    Now with no where else to turn, they turned to good old Chuck Schummer.
    They were calling in their mark for the nearly 30 mil. they donated to
    his campaign fund. Hence, Section 18. A blatant special interest lobby
    directed specifically at Datatreasury Corp.for the purpose of
    “retroactively” negating our other wise iron clad patents. The key word
    here is “retroactively”. No where else in the AIA, other than Sec. 18
    is the retroactive time frame used. This is the second attempt to
    legislate away our patents. The last time the CBO stepped in and warned
    it would constitute a takings and would violate our 5th Amendment putting the government on the
    hook for damages exceeding 1 billion dollars.
    This time around they watered down the wording but are accomplishing the same fate. In the end
    Section 18 will be facilitating a takings of (intellectual) property. A clear violation of the Fifth Amendment. If this is allowed to happen, I and all of the other steadfast investors stand to loose our entire investment. Not because we made a reckless investment without doing due diligence, but because we believed in a system that no longer exists. One that fell victim to a government run rampart with corruption.
    This is not America… it’s third world… and that’s where we are headed.

    Comment by Nick F. | October 3, 2012 | Reply

  4. Nick,

    I am so sorry. Unfortunately, we have shredded the Constitution. You are absolutely right, that AIA, Dodd Frank, and Obamacare would make a third world dictator blush.

    Comment by dbhalling | October 3, 2012 | Reply

  5. Dale,

    Perhaps some of your more knowledgeable readers about the DataTreasury affair can do a more detailed expose’ on Schumer and the other close to 99 Senators who voted aye on a government sponsored “taking” of property without due compensation (a.k.a.the America Invents (Not) Act of 2011).

    Comment by step back | October 5, 2012 | Reply

  6. Dear Step Back,

    The whole point is that Chuck Schumer is the catalyst for the 95 votes and by paying Mr Chuck Schumer , the rest of the corrupt politicians vote on something they have no concept about same as you going into an operating room and being a brain surgeon . SHEEP being led by the Black Sheep.

    Step Back and take a picture of what reality is , just look at the article where Dale is telling you why he quit the association , that is the realm of life he is describing for our patent system .


    Comment by Frederick S Baum | October 12, 2012 | Reply

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