Inventors Digest: Senate Small Business Committee Hearing Focuses on Protecting Patent Owners’ Rights, by Stephen Brachmann
This post originally appeared in Inventors Digest on April 4, 2016
On February 25, 2016, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing that focused on the effects of recent changes to the U.S. patent system on small businesses and patent owners. Testimony and remarks during questioning zeroed in on the need to make targeted reforms rather than overly broad changes to the country’s system of intellectual property protection.
Committee Chair Sen. David Vitter spoke about the importance of a strong patent system to small businesses across America, as well as the importance of those 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 produce 16.5 times more patents per employee than larger enterprise. Recent legislation that caused major changes in the country’s patent system, including the America Invents Act, have made it more difficult to enforce patent rights, he noted. “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.