Americans should beware when members of Congress talk about "reform" and "comprehensive" because those words usually cover a lot of mischief. The latest example of this legerdemain is the so-called Patent Reform now aggressively pushed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Since we've outsourced millions of well-paying American jobs overseas, the one asset we have to maintain our American standard of living is innovation superiority. The United States is the world's leader in technology innovation, which is due to our private enterprise economic system, our constitutional protections of private property and most especially our unique system of granting patents to inventors.
Other countries can produce things we invent more cheaply because of the pitiful wages they pay, but they have a dismal record of inventing anything. Lacking expertise in innovation, some foreign countries concentrate on stealing ours.
Communist China is the world's top producer of illegal copies of music, movies, software, designer apparel, medicines and other U.S. products. Chinese agents stole or illegally purchased high-tech machines and systems, restricted electronic components, embargoed components for military weapons and communications systems in order to copy them.
Now that communist China has become America's banker, China is flexing its muscles in a new way that threatens our economy and our jobs. The buzzword is "indigenous innovation."
China has promulgated new anti-American trade rules that prohibit imports of our products unless they are based on intellectual property that is developed and/or owned in China, and associated trademarks are originally registered in China.
These rules mean that U.S. products cannot be sold in China unless the U.S. companies give China their current patents plus their research and development of new products. This targets our most innovative manufacturing and service industries, including computers, software and telecommunications.
The Chinese government has issued a catalog of products that are subject to this obnoxious rule, and the list is expected to be expanded soon to other industries. China's "indigenous innovation" rule will exclude many major U.S. firms from the Chinese market or require them to give China their patents and advanced technology.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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