Opinions and Editorials

Jun. 10, 2019

The Hill: It’s Time to Restore America’s Patent System by Sens. Chris Coons and Thom Tillis

Since our country’s founding, the U.S. patent system has been one of the unsung heroes of America’s success story. Patents are based on a simple concept: that American inventors, entrepreneurs and companies whose hard work and expertise lead to a new invention deserve to reap the benefits of their work for a limited time.

That respect for intellectual property, enshrined in the Constitution, has incentivized millions of Americans over the years to develop lifesaving cures, revolutionary technological advances, and groundbreaking manufacturing innovations. Patents have played a key role in building America into the economic, academic and military superpower it is today.

All of that, though, is now at risk, because our patent laws have become overly complicated, riddled by uncertainty, and, frankly, hostile to innovation. Over the last several months, we’ve heard from dozens of business leaders, researchers, academics, practitioners, members of the public, and judges who have told us that America’s global reputation for having the gold standard for patent protection is fading, if not gone completely. To put it simply, many inventors, innovators and investors believe that it’s better to seek a patent and pursue new innovations in places like Europe or even China. That should concern every single American.