Opinions and Editorials

Jun. 19, 2018

Washington Examiner: 10 million patents, 10 million dreams, countless jobs and growth, by Charles Sauer

This post originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on June 19, 2018.

Innovation is something that keeps me up at night — because of excitement, not stress. I get an idea, and I just can’t sleep. I draw it out, sometimes I code, and when I get really excited I often break out my 3D printer and soldering iron and fully bring the idea into the world. One of the best things about becoming a father has been teaching my daughters that they too can bring their ideas into the world.

In fact, I came home last week to a vending machine that my 7-year-old daughter had constructed out of cardboard, tape, and a water bottle. I was a proud father, and I know that she will turn that creativity and tinkering into a successful future.

On a macroeconomic level, we need public policy that allows late-night mad scientists to turn lab work into jobs by giving late-night mad scientists the incentive to take their innovations out of their garages, kitchens, and craft rooms and actually take them to market. Fortunately, our Founding Fathers knew this and created an inventor-based patent system instead of a crony-based innovation system.

Before our independence and the Constitution, the king awarded patents to their crony friends, but because of the Constitution, Americans were allowed to receive the rights to their own ideas. This gave the farmer the incentive to innovate and commercialize their invention. In fact, awarding a patent to the inventor is one of the few “rights” that is explicitly outlined in the Constitution. This has helped the U.S. economy grow to a Gross Domestic Product of more than $19 trillion, 25 percent of the Gross World Product.

And today, we are seeing a patent system and a leader of the patent office poised to make America’s innovation system great again.