COMMISSIONER LEHMAN:  If not, next I would like to
       call Orville Litzsinger, please.
       MR. LITZSINGER:  Good morning, and thank you, Mr.
       Commissioner, for the opportunity to speak.  We, too,
       appreciate this opportunity, which hasn't always been
       available to us.
       I represent The Alliance for American Innovation,
       which is located at 1100 Connecticut Avenue, here in
       Washington, in Suite 1200.
       In Washington, The Alliance for American
       Innovation represents over 3,000 members of the innovative
       community, focusing primarily on the independent and small
       business inventors, but we also work in the interests of a
       number of small businesses, including the biotech people and
       people in the venture capital area, as well.
       While Paul Wolstenholme indicated that his group
       was disorganized, we do represent an organization here
       locally, and we are a fast-growing organization, and I would
       like to certify at this time, we are not funded by -- and I
       am not personally funded by -- anyone that has been accused
       of being a submarine inventor.  Okay?
       I would appreciate the same certifications by
       people speaking in your behalf that speak for associations
       and other groups, that they certify that in their private
       business they do not have clients that are of a conflict of
       interest to what is happening to the United States patent
       After reviewing the documentation supporting this
       idea, I have some specific points that I will make relative
       to that.  And if I vary, it will be only in response to
       previous comments made and allowed, and anything superfluous
       to that will be held to a strict minimum.
       When we reviewed the rules, of course, one of our
       main concerns is the fee area.  And so what is new, right,
       with the independent inventors?  We have had a problem with
       the fees for a long time.
       But specifically, one of the questions that we
       have is maintenance fees.  I fail, and our people fail, to
       find a specific place where the clock starts ticking on
       maintenance fees.  Are people going to have to pay
       maintenance fees before their patent is issued in some
       cases?  Or are they going to pay them in six months after
       issuance?  Or when are they going to pay that
       three-and-a-half-year maintenance fee?
       We need to know that.  Mr. Kirk?
       MR. KIRK:  The maintenance fees would be due
       exactly as they are, from point of issuance.
       MR. LITZSINGER:  From point of issuance?
       MR. KIRK:  From point of issuance.
       MR. LITZSINGER:  Thank you.  That was a question
       that we had.
       A question that we had, also, reflects to the
       package being circulated in support of the effort, which
       lists about 20 companies or organizations that are on-line. 
       We question the degree of completeness of that, relative to
       people that are on there, as to whether they still are.  I
       know the Biotech Industries Association was listed as a
       supporter, and we know that within the past few weeks they
       had a vote here of the Patent Subcommittee, and the biotech
       firms voted two to one to support the Rohrabacher-Dole
       effort that gives the option of 20 years or 17.
       If we are talking to the list of supporters
       relative to 20-year term, you could add our name to that
       list because we do support a 20-year term from date of
       filing, or 17 years from date of issue.  We believe that our
       proposal has been less severe than the one adopted in
       response to the GATT enabling legislation.
       We would like the IPO for their recent alert on
       submarine patents because they use an example of a 40-year
       patent and we saw the response prepared by the inventors'
       people that indicated that that patent had been in the
       Patent Office for 29 years and ball was only in the court of
       the inventor for less than 30 months.  So if that is the
       best example that we can get for submarine patents, we are
       Additionally, I sat in on a meeting last week with
       people from Phillips Petroleum, with Congressman
       Rohrabacher's staff, and they brought in two patents.  They
       said, "These are submarine patents.  Look, here."
       By the time they left, they realized, after we
       examined them closer, that the delays were not caused by the
       inventor, the delays were caused by divisional actions and
       They also left knowing that, under the new system,
       that their company would have lost $300 million because
       their patent would have expired before they had a chance to
       exercise it.
       I have that in a letter going back to the CEO of
       Phillips Petroleum that Congressman Rohrabacher sent, and if
       you desire it, I am sure he would respond with a copy for
       One of the factors on fees that we discussed is
       the requirements that we have, not only to pay the fees, but
       to get venture capital.  There was a report that was just
       put out by Oak Ridge National Laboratory on an inventions
       program that the Department of Energy has for independent
       inventors.  That report says that for every dollar spent by
       the independent inventor to get to the point where he has a
       patent or almost to that point, he needs $37.00 after that,
       to commercialize his product.
       This is why the National Venture Capital
       Association is in support of our preference for the optional
       term, because the venture capitalists across this country
       will no longer invest in a system where the inventor is not
       guaranteed a fixed time of return on that money.
       I note your reference to the Constitution earlier. 
       I note the reference to the Constitution earlier and your
       reference in a response to an inventor just three days ago,
       where you brought the subject of the Constitution up.
       Section 8 of the Constitution has 18 things listed
       in it that give the Congress powers to do certain actions. 
       Clause No. 8 -- there are 18 clauses -- clause No. 8 says
       that the Congress shall have the power to promote the
       progress of science and useful arts by securing for a
       limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right
       to the respective writings and discoveries.
       The GATT enabling legislation took this right
       away.  It is the only right, out of those 18 clauses, that
       is no longer in effect in this country. 
       That right has been in existence for 200 years,
       plus, and it includes other rights, such as forming and
       maintaining a militia, an army and navy, and making loans,
       and the things that we say.
       In a discussion that I had at the White House
       yesterday, they indicated that the administration position
       on that was issued as a result of a recommendation from the
       PTO.  Now, we have a situation for the first time in 200
       years, the Congress has been influenced to remove a right of
       the independent inventors in this country.
       Also, speaking of other difficulties associated
       with this, beyond that, the insurance underwriters are
       saying that because of the due diligence effort discussed
       earlier, that malpractice insurance for patent attorneys
       will grow tremendously before it will cease to exist because
       of the liability and the problems associated with the
       process of the patent for the inventor.
       The provisional application and the 18-month
       clock, or 6-month clock as we discussed yesterday.  When
       does the clock start on publication, if, in fact, that bill
       is passed?  Does it mean that an invention is published at
       six months instead of 18?  There are a lot of folks that
       have some serious problems with that.
       I want to say, again, thank you for the
       opportunity to speak.  I would be happy to answer any
       questions that you might have and, of course, I have a
       written correspondence that I will submit formally.