Let’s be perfectly honest, the US patent system has stopped rewarding innovation and has started rewarding those who have the finances and ability to game the system. That is a huge problem and one that needs to be addressed far more quickly than any other problem facing us. I have been saying for years that the manufacturing jobs are not coming back and that we need to focus on those areas where we can grow jobs and the economy, and that space is the innovation space. Innovation is at the core of growth because discoveries lead to inventions which lead to new technologies which lead to the creation of new industry which leads to the creation of high paying jobs. A rising tide lifts all boats and the tide that is going to lift the US economy is the innovation tide, so we need to start focusing on that and putting in place an environment that will allow innovation to thrive. This of course means a functioning patent system that recognizes worthwhile inventions, but it also requires that we put a stop to patent trolling.
In the election yesterday the Republicans scored an enormous victory in the United States House of Representatives, gains of a still unknown number in the United States Senate, and gains in Governors’ races as well as State House and State Senate chambers across the country. Earlier this afternoon, at 1:00 pm Eastern Time, President Barack Obama held a press conference to discuss the election and answer questions. At times during this news conference it seemed that he was in denial, not wanting to acknowledge that Americans could have potentially repudiated his policies, and at times he also seemed conciliatory and willing to work with Republicans. President Obama even accepted blame for the frustration of voters with respect to the progress on the economy.
There was one exchange between he and Chip Reid, White House Correspondent for CBS News, that had to do with the difference between spending and investment, and which touched upon the importance of continuing to foster research and development and not taking a back seat to China. President Obama said he is also willing to listen to ideas to stimulate job growth that Republicans have historically supported and that are deficit neutral. Well Mr. President, if you are serious I have the answer for you, and it wouldn’t take more than a $1 billion up front payment and the passage of a bill that is a single sentence long. The solution lies with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Friday, October 29th, in an appeal of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a number of plaintiffs against Myriad Genetics, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and others. The brief, which was filed jointly with the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), supports the patentability of isolated DNA molecules, noting that invalidating the patentability of these molecules would discourage future biotechnological innovation.
Having just talked to law students about getting their resumes ready in case the economy does come back to life sooner than some expect, I thought I might write about my thoughts on the economy, where patent practice is headed, when we will get out of our economic malaise and how to prepare yourself in advance to be ready when the job market, and patent market, turns the corner, which we all know it will do.
Some will question me writing about tax policy, but the undeniable truth is that tax policy is enormously important to businesses of all sizes, including small businesses. Tax policy also affects job creation, because anytime businesses have to pay more and retain less that increases operating costs, which necessarily leaves less to reinvest in the business. This affects all sorts of things, including but not limited to lay-offs, a failure to create jobs and the investment in the creation of innovation. History shows us that when business is bad and revenues decrease businesses of all sizes typically cut back on activities necessary to innovate. When you look for less you find less, so this can and does negatively impact innovation. Innovation, job creation and a variety of matters important to small businesses are common topics here on IPWatchdog.com. With this backdrop I leap to take on the un-reported story relating to the fact that expiration of the Bush tax cuts will impact virtually all small businesses, not just the 3% of small businesses continually, and inaccurately, stated by the Democrats.
On Wednesday, September 8, 2010, the Wall Street Journal published commentary titled Want to Create Jobs? Certainly Don’t Rely on the USPTO, which was an attempted rebuttal of the NY Times op-ed written by Chief Judge Paul Michel and Tessera CEO Hank Nothhaft, which was titled Inventing Our Way Out of Joblessness. I say that it was an attempted rebuttal because simply stated the article was embarrassingly incorrect about virtually everything it stated as fact, and provably so. The fact that the Wall Street Journal published such complete and utter nonsense, which could have been proven to be factually incorrect had anyone even read the study relied upon by the authors, is quite sad. Those who don’t believe innovation leads to job creation have their heads firmly implanted in the sand and simply must choose to ignore history, which proves otherwise.
In looking around for something to write I stumbled across a press release from August 10, 2010, issued by Your Baby Can, LLC. This is the company that advertises almost non-stop on Sirius/XM every morning, at least on ESPN Radio, claiming that all you have to do is put your children in front of the video and they miraculously learn to read. I have often joked about the commercial and how unrealistic and almost comical it seems, but when I noticed a copyright/counterfeiting angle I was immediately intrigued.
Center for Functional Nanomaterials at
Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA.
According to a new report from Lux Research, global funding for nanotech increased only 1% (relative to 2008) to $17.7 billion in 2009. The publication of patent applications and number of granted patents rose at a more impressive rate, 11% and 5%, respectively. The report also found that the United States, Germany and Japan are still home to the most nanotech innovations in terms of absolute number, but that smaller markets such as Taiwan, Singapore, Israel and South Korea are more focused on nanotech and are more adept in commercializing such technologies. The report also indicates that despite impressive investments and attempt to become significant havens for nanotechnology, China and Russia are still far from threatening the status quo.
This past Sunday there was a brief but very interesting segment on Fox New Sunday that actually discussed the plight of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and how the enormous backlog of inventions in the queue at the USPTO is preventing organic job growth at a time when our economy desperately needs job creation. Sitting in for Chris Wallace was Brett Baier. He was interviewing Mark Zandi, who is Chief Economist for Moody’s Analytics, and Liz Claman, an anchor on the Fox Business News channel. The topic for this 11:54 second segment was the health of the U.S. economy and what can and should be done by our leaders in Washington, DC. Surprisingly, at least to me, Claman brought up the USPTO as an ideal opportunity for “instant stimulus.”
David Kappos told CBS the biggest problem is the backlog and the PTO needs more money. "It's no taxpayer dollars at all-- all the fees we collect come from patent applicants."
Straight from the “it’s about time” department comes breaking word that the so-called popular press are finally identifying the most under reported news story of this recession. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is foundering and it needs more money in order to do its job. That alone ought to be newsworthy, but add the fact that the Patent Office is the one agency of government with the ability to recognize assets out of whole cloth and have industry organically grow as a direct result and without ANY taxpayer dollars. The fact that the Patent Office can without any taxpayer dollars directly influence and creation of new, high paying jobs makes it virtually criminal that the elite press, who has reported on virtually every angle of this recession, has ignored the engine that could get us out of this mess.