During the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama expressed that investments in innovation will lead our nation in the global economy and is “an edge America cannot surrender.” Unfortunately, pending patent legislation before Congress would stifle innovation and threaten our nation’s global competitiveness.
Many modern conveniences of our daily lives were made possible because of the patent system first envisioned in our Constitution, which incentivized inventors and protected their results, allowing for competition against rivals at home and abroad. Every job relies on innovation. We benefit from intellectual property, and the economic stimulus and surety provided by patents. A recent study by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office stated that the IP industry generated 40 million jobs.
Legislation in the Senate would shift power from everyday inventors and small businesses to larger, better-financed companies. The Senate must work diligently to agree on better language that addresses system abusers without harming small business and entrepreneurs, the most critical players in our innovative economy. Lawmakers must focus on enacting patent legislation that will allow our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not the threat of costly litigation.
Our U.S. patent system has fueled innovation for 200-plus years. Pressure from corporations and special interests should not cloud the importance of strong patents for everyday inventors and entrepreneurs as our forefathers envisioned. I encourage lawmakers to exercise caution to avoid unintended consequences and make well-informed improvements while preserving the best patent system in the world.