Senate Small Business Committee hearing focuses protecting rights of patent owners
Committee chairman Senator David Vitter (R-LA) began the hearing by speaking about the importance of a strong patent system to small businesses all over America, as well as the importance of those small businesses to the U.S. economy. Vitter remarked that small businesses have provided two-thirds of all net new jobs since the 1970s and they also produce 16.5 times more patents per employee than larger enterprises. Recent legislation causing major changes in the country’s patent system, including the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), have made it more difficult to enforce patent rights. “It’s essential to remember that many legitimate owners of intellectual property do not manufacture anything but nonetheless have legitimate claims of patent infringement against other parties,” Vitter said. He was also wary of the “staggering rate” of decline in patent value during recent years, stating that during the past four years patent values have dropped by as much as 80 percent.