Opinions and Editorials

Dec. 2, 2019

The Hill: Restoring and Strengthening the US Patent System by Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. Steve Stivers

Going all the way back to our founding, America has always been a nation of innovators. That’s why the Founders, more than 200 years ago, created strong intellectual property laws that grant limited exclusivity – through patents – to reward inventors and encourage them to share their discoveries with the public.

Today, patents drive research and development, as well as the investments necessary to bring new products to market. Without them, many groundbreaking innovations – particularly those from independent inventors and startups – would never see the light of day. We all depend on these new technologies to save lives, protect our country, and fuel the most robust and innovative economy on the planet.

Over the last decade, though, our patent system has fallen into crisis.

Recent legislative and judicial changes intended to protect innovators and entrepreneurs by deterring frivolous lawsuits have handicapped those very creators the patent system was designed to protect. Of course, abuse of the patent system should never be tolerated, but inventors should know that if someone infringes their patent – steals their invention – a court will stop them. Sadly, that is no longer the case.