BIOtechNow Opinion: Weak Patent Law Endangers Healthcare Innovation
This post originally appeared in BIOtechNow on July 19, 2017.
Last week The Wall Street Journal published a fascinating expose that pulled back the curtain on some of the self-serving and well-financed efforts of big high-tech companies (in this case Google) to influence academic scholarship, and ultimately public policy, in their favor. Such strategies have long been used to undermine the U.S. patent system. As part of their ongoing campaign to weaken existing patent protections, big high tech interest groups have funded troves of exaggerated studies on the pervasiveness of “bad patents” and their abuse by “patent trolls” and “rogue judges.” They do this while ignoring the critical and historic importance of strong and predictable patent rights to economic growth and innovation outside of their particular sector of the economy.
Strong patents are the lifeblood of America’s innovation economy including the biotechnology industry. They are critical in ensuring a steady stream of capital to biotechnology companies developing innovative medicines, alternative energy sources, and insect and drought resistant crops – capital that has now begun to flow to other countries with stronger patent protections like the European Union and China. In a recent review of global patent protections, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that the United States dropped from its #1 position to #10, tying with Hungary and falling behind most EU nations, Japan, and Singapore. Read the full report here.