Opinions and Editorials

Oct. 31, 2018

RealClear Markets: We Too Easily Ignore Intellectual Property Theft in the U.S. by Raghu Rau

America is unique in its tradition of protecting individual ingenuity to spur new technologies and new industries that allow this country to be the cradle of innovation. It is no accident that America was the birthplace of inventors from Edison to Jobs: from the invention of the electric light bulb to the smartphone, the American patent system has historically fostered and protected American inventors and innovation.

We have all heard stories of the theft of American intellectual property from countries such as China. What is less known is the assault on innovation and the “theft” of intellectual property that is happening within our shores by the largest American companies. Nothing is more representative of this assault than the unilateral decision by Comcast not to renew the decade long license they had to use the TiVo family’s intellectual property and instead infringe the Rovi (a TiVo family member’s) patents.

Even close watchers of the TiVo – Comcast legal battle can sometimes lose the thread in following TiVo’s multi-forum dispute with Comcast over fundamental patents. This is a case where a corporate behemoth with endless cash reserves refuses to pay to use the patented technology of others and instead files an unprecedented number of challenges, appeals, and counterclaims.

Comcast’s actions should matter to anyone who cares about protecting intellectual property, encouraging inventors, and defending a uniquely American tradition. So, today, I want to cut through the clutter and explain why this dispute is important, why it is imperative that TiVo win, and why it ultimately will do so.