To Kill a Patent System: What Woud Atticus Finch Do?

Last Wednesday I had the privilege to speak about the importance of Intellectual Property in Washington, DC.  As Chair of the Greater Washington, DC Chapter of the Licensing Executives Society, I and a friend, Sanjay Prasad, conducted the Introduction to IP and Licensing Course for LES. Here is the link:  http://www.lesusacanada.org/chapters/usa/washington-dc-chapter/march-11-2015-washington-dc-chapter-ip-licensing-basics

The Course is a good introduction to the mechanics of licensing of IP assets.  Please contact me or LES (www.les,org) to learn more about these programs which explore many more and advanced licensing topics.

That evening, I also spoke, with guest Todd Dickinson, on the ongoing challenges to the U.S. patent system in a talk called “To Kill a Patent System; What Would Atticus Finch Do?.”  Here is the link:  http://www.lesusacanada.org/chapters/usa/washington-dc-chapter/march-11-2015-washington-dc-chapter-meeting

Current bills in the House and Senate aim to impair and perhaps destroy key components of the U.S. patent system – through intended and perhaps unintended consequences.  Even though lobbyists for several tech companies are actively pushing for ways to gut the patent system, hopefully Congress can see beyond the hyperbole.  Under the guise of troll killing, these errant knights may instead kill the lifeblood of the nation.

In short, contact your Congressional representatives and urge them to exercise caution. The current quest or zeal for patent reform should not run amok, as the Fourth Crusade, where Constantinople was shamefully ransacked.  The intended/unintended consequences of many of these new reform measures will undercut our nation.

The ongoing mantra that patents hinder innovation is utter nonsense.  Patents protect innovation, secure funding for fledgling companies, and otherwise promote new ways of life.  By condemning patents as anti-innovation, the big tech companies, through their lobbyists and the press, are themselves trying to hinder innovation by eliminating competition, and maintain their own market share without disruptive upstarts.

LES and many other organizations condemn these actions to cynically malign the patent system for private gain. But we should all lend our voice against this rather malevolent attempt to kill what our Founders gave us.  Patents and copyrights are the only rights set forth in the Constitution.  All other rights are separately attached in a Bill of Rights, such as the right of free speech, etc. Our great nation owes much of that greatness to a robust patent system, where innovation and innovators large and particularly small are protected.  Tilting the system toward large corporations with large war chests undermines the fabric of what the Founders wanted and what our nation needs.  These recent legislative efforts go too far, and our representatives need to know this.

Raymond Van Dyke, IP/patent practitioner and educator

vandyke@acm.org, 202.378.3903