CAPA Releases Statement on Nomination of Kathi Vidal as Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

As the Federal Government and Millions of American Patients Face Insurmountable Debt, Tackling Patent Abuse to Lower Drug Prices Must be Made a Priority

WASHINGTON D.C. – The Coalition Against Patent Abuse (CAPA) released the following statement after President Joe Biden announced Kathi Vidal as the nominee for director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO):  

“The USPTO will play a significant role in expanding access to affordable life-saving medications for millions of American patients, and CAPA looks forward to working with Kathi Vidal to ensure tackling patent abuse to lower drug prices is a top priority.”

As mandated in President Biden’s recent Executive Order, there is a clear directive for the next USPTO director to address patent abuses that have delayed competition from generic drugs and biosimilars, denying American patients access to lower-cost alternatives.

“Today, some of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies have enormous incentives to block the entry of lower-cost generic drugs, keeping competition out and drug prices high.  While patents are essential for encouraging innovation, anticompetitive tactics by Big Pharma results in over-extended patent monopolies that saddle massive costs on the backs of hard-working Americans.  If confirmed by the Senate, CAPA looks forward to working with Kathi Vidal to strengthen the U.S. patent system and balance the interests of both patients and the industry,” stated CAPA Executive Director Matthew Lane.

Earlier this year, Lane penned an op-ed in STAT News highlighting the crucial role that the next U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director will have on reducing drug costs for millions of American patients, many of which are already struggling financially due to COVID-19.  If confirmed, Vidal can help to lower drug prices by acknowledging the link between over-patenting and higher drug prices, improving the quality of patents, supporting a stronger inter partes review process, and changing the culture at the USPTO by ending the practice of thinking of patent applicants as “customers” and instead, look at the process of granting patents as a balancing of interests between promoting innovation and providing the public access to essential technologies.