The Epilepsy Foundation and More Than 90 Advocacy Groups Urge Congress to Protect Patients and Innovation during Patent Reform

Letter to Senate and House Judiciary Committees Outlines Need for Strong Patent System
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Epilepsy Foundation and more than 90 advocacy organizations outlined their concerns with proposed patent reform in a letter to Chairmen Chuck Grassley and Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Members Patrick J. Leahy and John Conyers. Specifically, the letter calls upon the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to strengthen the patent system in order to maintain critical investment in early research into new therapies and treatments to benefit patients.

“It is imperative that as Congress considers reforms, committee leaders keep in mind the impact changes to patent law will have on the development of new medications and therapies for patients,” said Phil Gattone, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “A strong patent system is critical to incentivizing and protecting investment into new drugs and devices. Innovation is of particular importance to the one-third of people living with epilepsy who don’t have their seizures under control and are seeking new treatments and a cure, as well as many the Americans living with complex and chronic conditions that are not appropriately managed with current treatment options.”

In the letter, the groups also reference their concern with existing challenges within the Inter Partes Review (IPR) system, which are already adding unnecessary strain to this important process. The letter states, “In 2011, Congress enacted the America Invents Act, which created a new system by which a person or entity can challenge patents at the PTO. The PTO has implemented the system in such a way that it is now easier to invalidate patents than in district court. We are concerned that this will cause the value of patents to diminish and as a result, investment in new treatments for patients could possibly suffer.”

“While addressing abusive patent litigation practices, Congress must also protect the rights of legitimate patent holders who are driving innovation that will bring hope to patients everywhere. We look forward to working with Congress to maintain a balanced patent system that promotes investments in new treatments, which is so critical for the millions of people living with complex conditions and looking for innovative and often lifesaving treatment options,” added Gattone.

To learn more and view the letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, visit

About Epilepsy
When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. Epilepsy affects nearly 3 million people in the U.S. and 65 million worldwide. This year, another 150,000 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy.

About the Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with nearly 50 affiliated organizations throughout the United States, has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to stop seizures and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), find a cure, and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy, and research to accelerate ideas into therapies. The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential. 

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Kirsten Withrow | Manager of Program Communications and Media Relations
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Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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