Patent News

Nov. 17, 2015

The Washington Post Opinion: Patent infringement is theft, plain and simple, by John Wiley

This post originally appeared in The Washington Post on November 17, 2015.

Personal computers, cellphones, GPS devices, e-mail, the Internet — all of the technology driving today’s economy traces its origins to two inventions: the 1947 transistor from Bell Telephone Laboratories and the 1958 integrated circuit from Texas Instruments and Fairchild.

Just three corporate research laboratories out of hundreds have given birth to most of what has powered the 21st-century economy — and we have government-supported patent protections to thank for that. These are the achievements we must keep in mind while considering proposals for patent reform.

The Framers of our Constitution were well aware of the significance of intellectual property. Some were inventors themselves. The only place in the Constitution where the word “science” appears is in Article 1, Section 8, where Congress is instructed to “Promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”