The Daily Caller Opinion: Small Businesses Oppose Misguided ‘Patent Reforms’, by Robert Schmidt
This post originally appeared in The Daily Caller on June 3, 2015.
Robert Schmidt is the National Co-Chair of the Small Business Technology Council.
As a representative of the 5,000 firms who participate in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, I can say that small businesses across the country are, or should be, opposed to the misguided “patent reform” bills now being considered in Congress. Both H.R. 9, the “Innovation Act,” in the House and the Senate’s PATENT Act (S. 1137) would have significant detrimental effects on small inventing companies, undermining their intellectual property rights and stifling risk-taking and innovation. That is why small businesses are increasingly joining the long list of universities, venture capitalists, technology startups, small inventor entrepreneurs, former patent commissioners, patent court judges, conservatives, and liberals that oppose these misguided bills.
While purportedly promoting innovation and suppressing so-called “troll” activity, the Innovation Act and the PATENT Act would actually do neither. Legislation can help to target abuses, and Representatives should vote for a “patent reform” bill, but definitely not these two bills, which should never be allowed to move forward. Here is why:
1. They attack the only Right guaranteed by the Constitution. The Innovation Act and the PATENT Act would severely hurt the most fundamental (and only) right in the U.S. Constitution. [If you search the Constitution, the word “right” is only used once. Once! And that is for “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” [Art. 1, Sec. 8, Cl. 8. Note: The Founders capitalized the word “Right.” They knew its importance.] Thus, the authors of these bills would suppress the only original Constitutionally-provided right. It is not a very conservative or American action to diminish the Constitution. What makes this even more stunning is that this “exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” was even more fundamental to the Founding Fathers than were the rights of religion, speech, press, assembly, petition, and the right to keep and bear arms, which came three years later (ratified in 1791 for the Bill of Rights vs. 1788 for the Constitution).