Patent News

Sep. 22, 2015

The Journal Times Editorial: Congress must reward, protect U.S. inventors, by The Journal Times Editorial Board

This post originally appeared in The Journal Times on September 22, 2015.

While the prospect of a government shutdown will doubtlessly grab all the headlines in the next couple of weeks, there is another struggle going on in Congress that threatens a good segment of the economy and the nation’s ability to invent.

Two bills — the Innovation Act (HR 9) and the PATENT Act (S 1337) — would undercut the abilities of tinkerers, inventors and their financial backers to protect their patents from those who would use their ideas without proper compensation.

Intellectual property rights are what helped make the United States one of the greatest and most productive countries the world has ever seen. The nation’s Founding Fathers saw that as so important to the young country’s future that they included its defense in the Constitution.

But the two misnamed bills — the Innovation Act hardly supports innovation and the PATENT Act, which stands for Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship would undercut legal protections, not enhance them.

James Edwards, co-director of the Inventor’s Project, says the bills — in particular the Innovation Act “would devalue patents and restrict the judicial recourse of patent owners. It would tilt the court system against inventors and toward patent infringers. “

The proposed legislation does so in part by requiring patent owners to disclose extensive and detailed information — and continually update it regularly — when a person or company files notice to a court that they will pursue legal action.

That basically provides a potential competitor with the nuts and bolts of a company’s operation and how it developed and is using its patented product or idea.