The Market Institute President Charles Sauer has a new article in Real Clear Markets on a patent bill in Congress that would harm small inventors.
“Republicans have opposed registering guns, they have opposed naming donors to non-profits, they have supported limited government – all ideologically sound, good libertarian stuff.
However, recently when ideology gets in the way of a short-term political agenda, too many have willingly embraced big government in the name of populism. For instance, some Republicans are currently supporting a bill that would expose small inventors to attacks from large corporations before they are ready, which really just supports criminals over creators and the only benefit – a few bullets for the next campaign trail.
Their new agenda appears to be the politically popular sugar cereal of public policy ideas: populism.
The bill in question is the “Pride in Patent Ownership Bill,” supported by outgoing Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D, Vermont) – with a whisper campaign that it should be passed as his retirement gift. The problem is that some Republicans are flirting with supporting the bill – whether as a retirement gift for their colleague or a piece of populist propaganda. This bill, and its innocuous if not absurdist name, forces small inventors to expose themselves to the market before they are ready – and exposes them to a legal system that is now fully tilted toward the infringer instead of the inventor.
The bill should really be named “Allow Infringers to Know Who to Threaten Act”.
Interestingly, the Republicans have a long history of opposing bills exactly like this. They have long opposed gun registries – you can imagine a bill called the “Pride in Gun Ownership Bill.” They have also opposed similar bills to expose the donors to non-profits – you can imagine the push back to a “Pride in Donation” bill.
The losers? The next generation of innovative companies that would like to compete. The only hope is that enough Republicans prioritize the inventors of the future over any short-term win today.
As Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist has said – while speaking about taxes – seeing a Republican support higher taxes it is like finding a rat’s head in a Coke, you don’t just stop drinking “that” Coke, you stop drinking Coke. This is the problem that the Republican Party is currently facing. Coke spends enormous effort ensuring that they send out a quality product: not just making sure there aren’t rat heads in cans, but that the taste and caffeine delivery are consistent. The current generation of Republicans seem content to not pay attention to quality or consistency at all.
The way to ensure America’s innovation economy, create competition for large tech companies, and drive new inventions is to make patent protection stronger. But this is at odds with a biannual election schedule because this public policy strategy needs time to work. Perhaps it’s time for the inventors and innovators to realize the market has changed. Time for investors to understand that their investments are protected. Time for the inventions to make it to market. And time for the market to react.”