Governor Dayton signs patent trolling bill into law
Last week, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a bill that would prohibit bad faith assertions of patent infringements by “patent trolls.” The bill is a product of over a year and a half of negotiations between the Medical Alley Association and its members (including the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic), the Bankers Association, the MN Credit Unions, MN Realtors and other stakeholders.
This bill could have had significant ramifications on our high technology ecosystem and Minnesota’s legacy of innovation. “The original bill inadvertently characterized our members’ actions in defending their patents as those of patent trolls,” said Genevieve Plumadore, VP of Government Relations for the Medical Alley Association. This bill addresses our concerns and exempts companies, institutions and legitimate patent holders from the legislation. “Patents are the lifeblood of our companies and research institutions,” Plumadore went on to say. “By providing a safe harbor for our member companies we can ensure that their intellectual property rights are protected.”
The Medical Alley Association would like to thank Senator Kari Dziedzic and Representative Joe Hoppe for their leadership on this bill.
The full text of the law can be found here: Chapter 89 (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?year=2016&type=0&doctype=Chapter&id=89)
Budget Bills move off House and Senate floors
The House passed the Health and Human Services, State Government and Public Safety supplemental budget bill after more than 12 hours of debate that included heated discussions on controversial topics. The bill was passed 72-57 and sent to the Senate. Rep. Matt Dean, author of the HHS provisions noted the fiscal target for the bill is zero in the general fund budget and zero in the Health Care Access Fund. The bill would not increase the total health and human services appropriation, but does propose new spending. This new spending would be entirely covered by shifting funds – primarily by ending MNsure.
The Senate passed its 611-page, all-encompassing supplemental appropriations bills 39-24 on Thursday. The Senate began discussion on the omnibus legislation shortly before noon on Thursday. As members began offering amendments, Senator Pappas, the President of the Senate noted there were 80 amendments at the desk. Discussion and debate on the Omnibus Finance bill continued well into the evening. The bill was passed by the body on a party line vote.
Rep. Sarah Anderson honored at MAA Annual Meeting
Representative Sarah Anderson was honored this week at the Medical Alley Association’s Annual Meeting. The Spirit of the Alley award is exemplified by individuals or organizations that provide an extraordinary commitment to furthering the excellence of Minnesota’s health technology community. Rep. Anderson has been a strong champion for our industries at the State Capitol. As an advocate for research, entrepreneurship, private business growth and the critical nature of keeping Minnesota at the forefront of innovation, Sarah has led multiple efforts to improve MN’s environment for new therapies. Sarah continues to work with us to strengthen the R&D tax credit package, expand the Angel Investment Tax Credit and pursue policy changes to keep Minnesota’s Medical Alley growing.
This week the discussions around Capital Investments began to take shape. Rep. Paul Torkelson, chair of the House Capital Investment Committee said the fate of the House bonding bill is closely linked to the outcome of lawmakers’ negotiations over comprehensive tax and transportation legislation. Governor Dayton has proposed a $1.4B package while the Senate has said its bill is similar in size and scope. House Republicans would like to see that number closer to $600M. As a reminder, bonding bills require a two-thirds supermajority to pass; further complicating the negotiations process.
MAA Advocates for National Pressure Ulcer Injury Awareness Day
With three of our member companies on the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), (Tamarack, Coloplast and 3M), Medical Alley considers itself a proud partner of the NPUAP, and we fully support procuring a proclamation, as a first step, to increase awareness of these debilitating injuries.
We believe that this initiative will provide positive benefits that will reverberate throughout the entire health care system. Medical Alley recognizes the significant reduction in patient quality of life and understands the financial burden that is caused by pressure ulcers and related injuries. In proclaiming an annual day, progress can be made by: reducing the number of these injuries, improving the quality of life and ultimately, providing much needed savings to our health care system. Reducing the incidence of pressure ulcer injuries would improve the lives of 2.5 million Americans.
For hearings of interest, learn more at the Minnesota State Legislature Combined Calendar.