The Salt Lake Tribune: Op-ed: Patent reform bill would hurt Utah entrepreneurship, by Gary Crocker
This post originally appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune on August 1, 2015.
A credible and predictable patent system is vital to the creation of new, life-saving health care products.
During the past 40 years, I have worked in the medical products and life sciences industry, both managing and starting up new firms, as well as investing to assist others in bringing innovative health care products to market. One key reality characterizes the life science products industry: new product innovation requires several years of expensive clinical development and FDA regulatory requirements before any sales or profits are ever realized.
The only way that investors can take the risk of investing for years in new medical technologies is to have a high level of confidence that the new product they are trying to introduce to market will be securely protected by strong patents.
So when I look at H.R. 9, the Innovation Act of 2015, and S. 1137, the Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship (PATENT) Act of 2015, I am seriously concerned that the proposed changes in patent law designed to crack down on patent trolls will have unintended consequences that will negatively impact the integrity of medical patents.
The net result would mean less investment, diminished innovation and fewer life enhancing new medical products. Lawmakers in Washington must make changes to these bills to avoid damaging one of America’s critical competitive advantages: investment in innovation and entrepreneurship.
When I invest in an aspiring entrepreneur, often I’m making the decision on little more than the talent of the individual and the strength of the patent protecting their idea. No matter how good the idea is or how talented the entrepreneur, I can’t invest if the idea can’t be protected by a patent.