Another provision of the new patent bill would shift decision-making about damages for patent infringement from market valuations to judgments by judges and juries. This would increase litigation and limit the ability of independent inventors and small companies to enforce their rights or to win just compensation from those who infringe their rights.
The new bill would also transfer unprecedented rule-making authority to the Patent office. That's an abdication of congressional responsibility.
Add it all up, and it is clear that the new patent bill is a big attack on the constitutional property rights of individual inventors and small enterprises, the very kind of entrepreneurs who give us our most important innovations. About a third of all patent applications are filed by individual inventors, small companies, universities, and nonprofit groups.
The common thread in the changes to be made by the new patent bill is that they favor big companies like Microsoft and hurt individual and small-entity inventors.
Microsoft has thousands of patents, and recently argued that the free GNU/Linux operating system infringes over 200 of them. Microsoft wants to be able to use its huge patent portfolio to intimidate potential competitors, and at the same time it wants it to be easier to knock out individual patents.
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 with his secrets intact.
Congress should also give back to the Patent Office the flow of fees paid by inventors, which Congress took away in 1999 to spend on other projects. Then the Patent Office can hire more examiners and reduce its backlog of 800,000 applications.
The U.S. patent system is the vital factor in the technological lead that gives the United States an edge over competitors and enemies. Globalists cannot be allowed to destroy it.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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