WASHINGTON – Dean Kamen, founder of DEKA Research & Development, joined a group of fellow American inventors for a press conference call this week to highlight the negative impacts of H.R. 3309, The Innovation Act, and urge members of the U.S. House to vote ‘NO’ on the legislation when it comes up for a vote in the chamber today.
In addition to Mr. Kamen, participants in the call included: Dr. Greg Raleigh, Ph.D, CEO & Chairman of ItsOn Inc.; Dr. Gary Michelson, M.D., Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Hall of Fame Inventor; and Louis Foreman, Product Development & Innovation Expert, Producer of Everyday Edisons.
“These are real inventors – in the trenches, every day, trying to come up with the next best thing and the only way they are able to protect their rights to what they invent is through strong patent rights. We wanted to hear from them and what they think HR 3309 will do to their ability to enforce those rights,” said Brian Pomper, Executive Director of Innovation Alliance, who moderated the call.
Below are quotes from the inventors during the call:
Dean Kamen, Founder of DEKA Research & Development
- “The patent system has been a main driver of keeping the U.S. economy ahead of the rest of the world since this country was formed. Any bill that tinkers with the main engine of innovation ought be looked at very, very carefully and not whipped along.”
- “I have a lot of concerns [that H.R. 3309] will serve to dramatically increase the barriers – especially for small inventors – to be able to get and protect their intellectual property, which as a consequence will prevent the public from getting access to what should become the next generation of great technology that will deal with all issues – health care, environment and education.”
- “If anything this country should be finding ways to strengthen the patent system in the global competitive environment, not make it harder to get and protect intellectual property. We need to add incentives, not add barriers.”
Gary Michelson, Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Hall of Fame Inventor
- “Congress may have good intentions but I don’t believe it has been thoroughly and well informed about how to surgically strike at this issue of patent trolls.”
- “One of the causalities of that in [HR 3309] would be the universities. The universities are particularly poor at commercializing technology but they are certainly very good at discovering and inventing those technologies – they are non-practicing entities (NPEs) –but certainly not ‘trolls’ in any sense of the word.”
- “[HR 3309] is like a blunt club when what is called for is surgical precision.”
Greg Raleigh, CEO & Chairman, ItsOn Inc.
- “My companies’ inventions [4G, Wi-Fi, network function virtualization] are worth hundreds and billions of dollars to the U.S. economy – they service billions of consumers. I want to make this super simple – I don’t think I could’ve started my companies [that have created these inventions] with this type of patent law.”
- “For me, it’s very personal. [HR 3309] will make it very, very difficult to get venture funding for start-ups.”
- “My personal experience: the large companies that we approached in the early phases in all three of the start-ups I did thought our ideas were too crazy, were not going to be interesting to the market, and would take too long to develop. The only way we could bring them to market was to go get venture funding, take great risk, put in the hard work and sweat equity to bring them into the world and prove to them that they are valuable, that these are things people need and want. At that point, the next step is that the big competitors want to copy what you’ve done after you’ve done all the research, you’ve taken all the risk and you’ve created the market. The only way we survive when those big guys show up is to have patents that protect our rights to monetize the inventions we work so hard to create – this bill makes this impossible.”
- “Just like everyone on the pro-innovative side of this bill, I’m stunned at the speed with which this is going – [policy makers] do not understand what is happening to us out here and what this is going to do to our economy.”
- “If you assume everybody out there is a troll – then maybe the bill makes sense. But this crushes legitimate patent holders – inventors, start-ups, universities, as well as large corporations – by denying access to a fair process and a fair outcome when the giant competitors copy what we create.”
Louis Foreman, Product Development & Innovation Expert
- “When AIA [American Invents Act] began years ago, what impressed me about the process was that all the stakeholders were brought together and there was a thorough vetting of the legislation. What scares me about HR 3309 is that it is going so fast that I would say most independent inventors don’t even know anything is happening. [The passing of HR 3309] seems to be done in a cloak of darkness without the ability for others to weigh in. There is so much potential damage that can come from this legislation.”
- I understand that you need to end abusive practices and you want to discourage bad behavior from patent trolls. But at the same time the collateral damage, the impact this is going to have on entrepreneurs and independent inventors is going to be so great that it will be terrible for this country and terrible for innovation in general.”
This week, the inventors sent a letter to House leadership expressing their opposition to H.R. 3309, writing that the legislation “will make patent litigation for legitimate patent owners and inventors significantly more expensive, burdensome and protracted and it will undermine the enforceability of patents generally. This is bad for inventors, bad for innovation, and bad for America.” The full letter may be found here.
About Innovation Alliance
Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of America’s economic strength. The U.S. patent system is, in turn, the foundation for America’s inventiveness and dynamic business culture. Changes to the U.S. patent system will impact our nation’s ability to continue as the globe’s technological leader and must be approached with caution and forethought. The Innovation Alliance is committed to improving patent quality while protecting and promoting innovation. For more information, please visit: www.innovationalliance.net.