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Patent Reform – Awaiting Atlas’ Shrug

The United States House of Representatives has just passed the most sweeping patent reform legislation bill in a generation. Punishing innovation and rewarding free-loading technology thieves, the reforms passed by the House: making patents more difficult to get, insulating infringers from injunctions, decreasing damages associated with infringement and undermining protections afforded inventors by the founders of this country, all look like the first 800 pages of an Ayn Rand novel (or the first ninety minutes of the Angelina Jolie film). You can click here to see if your representative voted in favor of this dangerous legislation.

Patent protection is mandated in the United States Constitution. Our forefathers did not include Freedom of Speech, the Right to Bear Arms or the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment in the Constitution; those rights all came later. The framers of the Constitution knew that the rights of inventors were so important to this nation that their rights had to be inviolate. Today our House of Representatives seems to have forgotten the tenets of those more considered minds.

If passed into law, the new patent reforms will give large companies license to steal the property of small inventors, creating a huge disincentive to innovate. You too will feel the brunt when Atlas shrugs. Instead of cheaper new, competing technology, you will pay higher prices to monopolistic companies selling older, less efficient, technology. By the time the effect is felt, the problem will be too far gone. The United States cannot help but suffer grave, irreparable consequences.

It is not an overstatement to say that the effects the proposed patent reforms will have on innovation will undermine the position the U.S. currently holds in world trade and world politics. These patent reforms will change us from leaders to followers. Let’s hope the Senate has more than one John Galt in its midst.

Brett Trout

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