Protect America's Inventors!

Commenary f rom Eagle Forum

September 10, 2007

In its first week back from the August recess, Congress is taking up an important issue—patent reform. Later this week, the House will take up H.R. 1908, the Patent Reform Act of 2007. Sponsored by Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lamar Smith (R-TX), this piece of legislation is a direct attack on the unique, successful American patent system created by the U.S. Constitution.

The uniqueness of the American system is that “inventors” are granted “the exclusive right” to their inventions “for limited times” (usually about 17 years) after which the invention goes to the public domain. Exclusivity was assured because our courts would uphold the inventor’s patent against infringers, and the U.S. Patent Office would not disclose any information in a patent application unless and until the legal protection of a patent was granted.

How the Patent “Reform” Bill Hurts inventors:

    * Requires publication of all patent applications within 18 months after filing even though a decision has not been made on granting a patent.

    * Replaces our unique and successful “first to invent” system with the foreign “first to file” system.

    * Establishes Post-Grant Review—making it easier to challenge patents during the entire life of the patent.

    * Shifts decision-making about damages for patent infringement in such a way that the patent holders would get virtually no payment from infringers.

    * Transfers unprecedented rule-making authority to the U.S. Patent office, thereby politicizing it.

Add it all up, and it is clear that the new Patent “Reform” bill is a big attack on the constitutional property rights of individual inventors and small enterprises. About a third of all U.S.-origin patent applications are filed by individual inventors, small companies, universities, and non-profit groups.

If Congress wants to do something constructive for our patent system, Congress should reinstate the rule that the Patent Office may not publish a patent application until a patent is granted, and if it is denied, the application must be returned to the inventor, secrets intact.

Take Action

Congress should vote NO on H.R. 1908, the Patent Reform bill. Please call your Congressman today and urge him to vote NO!

Call Your Members of Congress in their Districts Today!

Capitol Switchboard: (202)-224-3121



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