Opinions and Editorials

Feb. 2, 2022

The Hill: Counterproductive Patent Policies Threaten US Tech Leadership by Dan Mahaffee

While Congress moves ahead with major legislative packages focused on investments in research and development (R&D) and strengthening the United States for competition with China, it is important that we also approach ongoing policymaking with the same strategic approach. When it comes to our intellectual property, actions by the Department of Justice threaten to weaken our hand in this geopolitical and technological — or geotech — competition.

Good geotech policies are crafted in ways that reflect what is at stake when we talk about leadership in strategically critical technologies — our national security and economic prosperity. Given the magnitude and importance of this competition, a coordinated policymaking approach includes the evaluation of economic, technological, diplomatic and national security interests. Such a competitive and coordinated mindset should apply not only to crafting new legislation and policies but also to how we approach and if need be, reform existing legislation policies.

Such a disconnect was just seen with poor coordination regarding 5G networks and aviation equipment. The result was embarrassing for perceptions of U.S. technology leadership, as well as the functioning of our government. Yet, despite the disruption, it was ultimately a matter to be solved by testing and engineering. It was a short-term challenge, albeit self-inflicted, that could be overcome. Failed policymaking on something as foundational and important as intellectual property could undercut our technology leadership in the long run.