On behalf of the United Inventors Association, America’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to inventor education and advocacy, I’d like to ask the candidates for President of the United States to explain their position on equitable patent reform as a catalyst for future innovation in this country.
As everyone is aware, passage of the bipartisan 2013 America’s Invents Act significantly altered our Intellectual Property landscape. No sooner had the ink dried on passage of this Bill however, when some of America’s large tech corporations began serious lobbying for additional self-centered changes to our historically successful patent system. The inventor community saw these recent lobbying efforts as incredibly short sighted and potentially harmful to future innovation, which in many important ways forms the backbone of our economy. Fortunately the proposed legislation did not pass.
There will no doubt be renewed efforts, as soon as the next administration is sworn in, to rekindle these patent reform efforts that will benefit only those large companies that do not want to pay a fair price for innovation created and developed by others. Without strong intellectual property protection, new product creators will soon drop out of the development process and America will lose its competitive edge, which makes us the most innovative and economically prosperous country in the world. Our patent system is truly the envy of other nations. Why would we want to weaken it?
Patent reform is a subject that most Americans are unfamiliar with. Additionally, significant lobbying efforts and financial resources dedicated by large corporations have confused the subject further. Nevertheless, patent reform is a critical issue for our country. Will the U.S. patent system continue to be the fuel that fires genius, to paraphrase President Abraham Lincoln, or will the U.S. patent system continue to throw cold water on the spark of innovative entrepreneurism in America?
I’d like to know, and the American public deserves to know, if the candidates are aware of just how cumbersome, one-sided and unfair the U.S. patent system has become. I‘d also like to know if they are aware that independent inventors and the small innovative businesses that create jobs in our economy were cut entirely out of the most recent legislative efforts. As perhaps America’s most valued stakeholder in this particular debate, we had no seat at the political table, an unconscionable situation.
As President of the United Inventors Association I would like to coordinate a meeting with the transition team of whichever candidate wins in November and explain the inventor position and why narrowly focused patent reform can be responsive to the big tech company needs without destroying economic incentive for independents and micro entities. After all, most of the large tech companies once began with a single innovation that was protected by a single patent to start. That was the story for Google, as well as so many other giants in Silicon Valley. Let’s not pull the ladder up and deny future aspirants the same rights and privileges that allowed the likes of Google to become the dominant tech corporation that they are today.
My interest in facilitating an open discussion is not limited to presidential candidates and their transition teams. I am happy to coordinate the same discussion with the staffs of those running this Fall for House and Senate seats as well, and if any candidates themselves are interested in the inventor perspective we would be honored to provide our full, fair and honest assessment of the trials and tribulations that stand between invention and commercial success.