Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith today voted for H.R. 1908, the Patent Reform Act, to help promote innovation and ingenuity in America.  The Act passed today by a vote of 220 to 175.

“This legislation is the most significant patent reform in more than fifty years.  This bill will stimulate innovation and promote American competitiveness in the global marketplace.  I plan to continue working to improve certain provisions of this bill to make sure the best version possible becomes law,” Smith said.

The Patent Reform Act is a bipartisan bill that includes measures to streamline our patent approval procedures and protect the integrity of the patent process:

  • A move to a first-come, first-serve basis for issuing patents.  Currently the U.S. relies on a “first to invent” patent system, wherein patents are granted to applicants who can prove they invented a given product before other applicants. No other nation in the world uses such a system because of the inefficiencies, uncertainties, and staff time inherent in such a process; they use instead a “first to file” system, wherein the first applicant for a given patent receives it on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Enhancements to fairness in adjudication of patent disputes.  H.R. 1908 provides guidance to the judicial branch to ensure that patent owners receive appropriate damages while not discouraging innovation in a given field.  The bill also provides clarification to patent holders on requirements to prove “willfulness” in infringement disputes.  The legislation includes protection against abuse of validity challenges to patents as well.

H.R. 1908 must now be approved by the Senate and a conference agreement must be reached between both Houses of Congress before the President can sign it into law.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement in reaction to the death of former U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.):

“I am profoundly saddened by the death of former Congresswoman Dunn. 

“Jennifer was a wonderful Member of Congress and it was my honor to serve with her in the House of Representatives.  She was one of Washington’s most distinguished public servants, a leader in our delegation who reached out to Republicans and Democrats alike.  She will be missed.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report indicating the Iraqi government met only 3 of 18 benchmarks for adequate progress in Iraq:

“President Bush escalated our presence in Iraq under the premise that more troops would help stabilize Iraq and create ‘breathing space’ for political progress.  The GAO report indicates that the escalation has largely failed to achieve the President’s stated goals. 

“According to GAO, the Iraqis met only 3 of 18 benchmarks agreed to by the U.S. and the Iraqi government, including only 2 of 9 security benchmarks and 1 of 8 legislative benchmarks. 

“Further, the report tells us attacks against civilians per day in Iraq have not decreased over the past six months.  And, from March to August 2007, the number of Iraqi security units able to function independently decreased.

“Our occupation of Iraq is not achieving our stated goals and it comes at an enormous cost to our country.  We must begin to redeploy our troops from Iraq and chart a new direction that allows us to refocus on stopping the spread of terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the world.”

The GAO’s report can be found online at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d071195.pdf

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement in response to the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:

"Alberto Gonzales was not up for the job of U.S. Attorney General, and I am pleased he announced his resignation.  I am disappointed the President did not act sooner to preserve the integrity of the Justice Department.

"Gonzales's divisive tenure has been destructive to the interests of our country.  Mr. Gonzales pushed to erode privacy rights through warrantless wiretapping.  He was deeply involved in the politically motivated firings of qualified U.S. attorneys.  When he testified before Congress on these and other matters, he gave inconsistent testimony and offered no satisfactory explanations for apparent contradictions of himself and other senior officials.  His actions undermined Americans' confidence in their Justice Department.

"Ultimately, however, the responsibility for the actions of senior administration officials rests with the President of the United States.  I urge President Bush to choose a nominee for this post with the highest integrity and a commitment to the protection of the rights of U.S. citizens."

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement on Saturday regarding S. 1927, a bill that included changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act regarding warrantless wiretapping and other surveillance.  Smith voted against the measure which would threaten Americans’ Constitutional right to privacy.  The bill passed by a vote of 227 to 183.

“Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Admiral Mike McConnell informed Congress of a critical collection gap in our electronic surveillance capabilities allowed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  On Friday I voted for a bill to close that gap and make sure intelligence agencies have all of the tools they need to secure our country while protecting Americans’ constitutional right to privacy.

“Unfortunately, the President threatened to veto an approach that would have safeguarded our homeland and our Constitution.  Following the President’s threat, the bill did not pass.

“On Saturday, the House took up a much broader Senate-passed version that would give the President and Attorney General authority to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans without meaningful judicial oversight.  This surveillance could be conducted as long as the surveillance ‘concerns’ people ‘reasonably believed to be outside the United States.’  The loose language in this bill sets an unacceptably low bar for protecting the privacy rights of American citizens.

“I voted against this bill. We absolutely must take action to stop terrorist attacks, but we can do so without sacrificing our most basic Constitutional rights and liberties.  Congress should correct this overreach when the bill expires in six months.”