Opinions and Editorials

Sep. 16, 2019

Morning Consult: For Startups to Succeed, We Need STRONG Patents by Ed Bright

The Associated Press recently reported that despite the United States experiencing the longest economic expansion on record, new business formation has failed to return to the levels seen prior to the Great Recession of 2007-2009. What is behind this extended startup slump? Most reports cite regulatory hurdles and difficulty finding qualified workers. But there is another cause that has received far too little attention – the recent weakening of patent protections for America’s entrepreneurs.

As the President of ExploraMed, a Silicon Valley-based medical device incubator that identifies, creates and develops solutions for unmet health needs, I have seen firsthand the importance of patents to startups. For companies like the ones we have launched at ExploraMed and thousands like them, patents are the currency that drives venture investment. They incentivize risky research and development. They help attract top research and executive talent. And they facilitate the transfer of knowledge between university researchers and manufacturing companies.

If you are going to disrupt a marketplace, create an entirely new product category or leapfrog an existing technology platform, you need patent protection that is reliable and predictable. Unfortunately, we no longer have that in the United States. Through a series of court cases and harmful congressional actions, the patent system in the United States has been significantly degraded over the past decade.