Opinions and Editorials

Jun. 14, 2023

Bloomberg Law: House Patent Troll Bill Would Shield Pirates, Not Small Inventors by Nick Matich

Before he was a member of Congress, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) was known for selling cars. According to his financial disclosures, the holding company for Beyer Auto car dealerships is Pirate Motors LLC. While this might evoke images of Disney’s Captain Hook selling cars, Beyer’s interest in piracy has a less benign side.

Along with Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Beyer recently sponsored the inaptly named Advancing America’s Interests Act, which would allow large technology companies to import products that infringe US patents without obtaining a license from patent owners.

Beyer and his co-sponsors claim their bill targets “patent trolls” that sue US companies. Attacking patent trolls is better marketing than protecting patent piracy, just as “Beyer Auto” is better marketing than “Pirate Motors.” Nevertheless, Beyer’s bill would effectively protect pirates—allowing large companies to infringe on rights of small innovators by outsourcing manufacturing to China, and protecting Chinese firms that steal US intellectual property.

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