Patent News

Sep. 18, 2015

The Hill: Misguided patent legislation threatens American leadership, by Carla Hills

This post originally appeared in The Hill on September 18, 2015.

The United States is one of the most innovative nations in the world. The foundation for our strength in innovation rests on our commitment to the rule of law and our strong system of protecting intellectual property (IP). Our Founding Fathers recognized the critical value of intellectual property to our nation’s future and enshrined in our Constitution the protection of inventors’ discoveries (Article I, Section 8). They believed that America’s ability to invent the “next great breakthrough” required powerful incentives that included enforceable property rights.

For more than two centuries our legal system has protected the owners of intangible property such as patents with the same rigor as it has protected owners of physical property against wrongful taking or trespass. That protection has bolstered innovation by universities, research foundations, small and large businesses, and individuals across a broad array of endeavors. Nearly 40 million America jobs are now directly or indirectly attributable to ‘IP intensive’ industries, which pay higher wages to their workers and account for approximately 90 percent of U.S. merchandise exports and a substantial share of services exports.

We must not erode this incentive to develop novel ideas or restrict the opportunity for inventors to license their know-how. Unfortunately, there is legitimate concern that patent legislation currently pending before the U.S. Congress — H.R. 9 (the Innovation Act) and S. 1137 (the PATENT Act) — would do just that.