Josh Landau - On Lobbying for Weaker Patent Rights and “Making a PB&J Sandwich”


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The first episode of this season of Clause 8 featured the most recent USPTO Director - Andrei Iancu - discussing his efforts to strengthen America’s patent system over the last three years. One of the most publicly vocal opponents of those efforts was Josh Landau, patent counsel at the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA). Now that those views are in ascendancy in the Biden administration and Congress, it made sense to finish this season by talking to Josh.

It was Josh who first broke the news on CCIA’s Patent Progress blog that Sen. Patrick Leahy was taking the top Democrat slot on the Senate’s IP Subcommittee from Sen. Chris Coons. Coons helped restart the subcommittee two years earlier and was the most significant Democratic supporter of stronger patent rights on Capitol Hill. The blog post signaled that CCIA’s patent policy ally is now in charge.

In this episode, Josh shares his thoughts on the role of the CCIA in the patent debate and his strong views on various patent-related policy issues:

“I will actually push back on the idea that section 101 is particularly unclear. The problem is not that it's unclear. The problem is that in many cases or some cases, the judges of the Federal Circuit or attorneys don't like what the outcome is.”

Josh also discusses effective patent policy advocacy in general, where the patent pendulum will swing under the Biden administration, and the low point for “patent quality.” Josh and Eli also discuss whether the patent system is unfair in any way for patent owners.

For anyone wanting to follow in Josh’s career footsteps, his advice is this:

“It's hard to get work in policy without having worked in policy. If you're interested in this, try and find roles in government, try and find roles on the Hill to know some level of what the policy sphere is like.”

On this episode:

  • The role of the CCIA in the patent debate
  • The failure of Section 101 legislation in the last Congress
  • The “patent quality” problem
  • How the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) operates
  • Patent policy advocacy on Capitol Hill
  • Patent policy in Trump v Biden administration
  • Is the patent system unfair to patent owners in any way?
  • Why do different patent attorneys have such different views of the patent system?
  • The “peanut butter and jelly sandwich” patent