Before it’s too late
Like Net Neutrality, Patent Reform is an issue flying under the radar screens of most companies. Unfortunately, as with Net Neutrality, by the time these companies realize there is a problem, it will likely be too late to take action.
What is patent reform?
Patent reform actually refers to a very specific type of reform. The type of patent reform currently under discussion involves federal legislation which undermines the ability of inventors to obtain and enforce patents. It seem strange that such legislation would find any support at all, especially when you consider patent protection was a Constitutional right long before the Constitution ever protected the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms or even the right to due process under the law. So who is behind undermining the innovation this country was built on and our forefathers sought to protect above so many other valuable rights?
Why is patent reform inherently evil?
The Patent Reform Act is designed strip away the protections and rewards patents afford smaller, more innovative companies, ensuring such innovations, and the benefits they provide consumers, never compete with much larger, less innovative behemoths. Keeping costs high and innovation low obviously favors the status quo. According to the largest professional society of electrical engineers in the country, theIEEE, patent reform is a “disincentive to inventiveness” and “stifles new businesses and job growth.” Such reform, states the IEEE, creates an environment “harmful to individual inventors and small business.”
Who is fighting the fight?
“Sure” you are saying to yourself “YOU think it is evil, but I know, deep down inside, the mega-corporations fighting for patent reform have my best interests at heart.” Well, for starters, pundits from around the world laud the protections afforded by the United States Patent System and warn of the dire consequences in store if proposed reforms are eventually implemented.
Organizations like Innovation Alliance, while admittedly partisan in favor of their constituents, are working hard to inform the public about the dangers of patent reform. The organization has just posted several letters on its website which were sent to members of the U.S. Senate during the past week:
Letter to Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker from 14 Tennessee manufacturers opposing patent reform
Letter to Senator John Cornyn from 54 Texas employers and patent holders opposing patent reform
Letter to Senators Arlen Specter and Robert P. Casey from 29 Pennsylvania manufacturers opposing patent reform
Letter to Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning from 51 Kentucky companies and universities opposing patent reform
Letter to Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign from 19 Nevada companies opposed to patent reform
Letter to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from 54 Texas employers and patent holders opposing patent reform
Letter to Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl from 28 Arizona employers opposing patent reform
Once Congress eviscerates such an ingrained Constitutional right, what will be next up on the chopping block?