Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The US Congress (and the Banks) vs. Inventors and Taxpayers

Think that the Party In Government deserves re-election? The Banks certainly do.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has sponsored an unusual provision at the urging of the nation's banks granting them immunity against an active patent lawsuit, potentially saving them billions of dollars.

Adopted with little fanfare, the amendment would prevent a small
Texas company called DataTreasury from collecting damages from banks for infringing on its patented method for digitally scanning, sending and archiving checks. The patents were upheld last summer by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office after they were challenged.

The provision,
passed without dissent by the Senate Judiciary Committee in July and inserted into legislation scheduled for a vote by the full Senate this month, is a rare attempt by Congress to intervene in ongoing litigation, congressional experts say.

Note that it was bi-partisan in Committee...

Although the amendment would not invalidate DataTreasury's patents, it would spare the banks from paying for infringing them should courts decide that's warranted.

So. Who pays for this little theft?

The federal government TAXPAYER would have to pay $1 billion to DataTreasury over 10 years as compensation for taking its property under the amendment, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

Don't expect your banker to say "thank you," either, folks.

HT: Vox

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