Litigator Erik Belt New President of BPLA; Vows to Work for Enhanced Patent Rights

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - 20:02

McCarter & English Partner Seeks Pendulum Swing Toward Invention-Facilitating IP Protection to Benefit Economy, Society

Erik Paul Belt, an intellectual property litigator who represents rights-holders and alleged infringers alike, has become president of the Boston Patent Law Association (BPLA), one of the largest, most powerful and most prestigious patent groups in the country.

Belt, a Boston-based partner at 400-lawyer McCarter & English, where he represents rights-holders and alleged infringers alike, began his one-year presidency today. He was inaugurated at a sold-out luncheon meeting of the group, whose membership includes more than 900 patent litigators, patent prosecutors, and professional services providers who focus on intellectual property issues.

In a rousing speech, Belt laid out the one-plank platform for his presidency, promising the membership he would work tirelessly to stop the nationwide attack on patent protection and dilution of rights, and start a pendulum swing back toward robust protections that benefit inventors and, more importantly, society as a whole.

“In recent years, there has been an attack on IP rights,” Belt told the assembled crowd. “The Supreme Court, the White House, Congress, lobbyists, academics and others have sought to weaken IP protections. History proves this is a bad idea and a short-sighted goal.

“In the real world, intellectual property is essential to our nation’s economic, social and physical well-being,” Belt said. “When patents become harder and more expensive to obtain and enforce, innovation declines. When patent rights are strengthened, innovation rises, and so does our economy, as new products are introduced and new industries arise. On every level, we cannot allow life-saving inventions not to make it to market because of a misguided backlash against IP rights. Without patents, there is no research-and-development funding, and without funding, there is no innovation.”

Belt said he would put the force of the BPLA behind efforts to persuade Washington not to write or pass legislation that will hurt invention, and amicus briefs in key IP cases to help guide judges toward decisions that bolster patent rights.