The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A devastating blow to Wisconsin’s innovators, by Jessica M. Silvaggi
This post originally appeared in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 18, 2015.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee recently announced they’ve nearly completed development of a water-monitoring system that could help bring clean water to the developing world. This invention could potentially save millions of lives.
But such innovative scientific and technological breakthroughs are now under threat. Federal lawmakers are pursuing misguided legislation that would make it much harder for researchers to protect their intellectual property. Wisconsin’s representatives in Washington must reject any new law that cripples local innovation and devastates the state economy.
Wisconsin’s universities and business owners are pouring resources into researching and creating new products and ideas.
Wisconsin’s business community is highly innovative as well. Take the local biopharmaceutical sector, which researches and develops new and better drug treatments. This industry supports about 50,000 local jobs and contributes $4.5 billion annually to the Wisconsin economy. This research propels Wisconsin’s economy.
Researchers and inventors wouldn’t be able to create jobs or new products without strong intellectual property protections like patents, which prevent competitors from copying an inventor’s ideas. Inventors are willing to invest significant time and money researching and developing new products only because patents give them the exclusive right to own and sell any invention they create. Without strong patent protections, research would become more risky and less lucrative.