Protecting The Interests Of American Inventors

General Patent CEO Alex Poltorak on Protecting the Interest of American Inventors

(Published in Washington Watch)

(NAPSI)-Recycling a piece of failed legislation is not the best way to protect American inventors or spur innovation. That's the opinion of many who think that the Patent Reform Act of 2009, recently introduced in the Congress in an attempt to change the U.S. patent law, is just a warmed-over version of a proposed policy package that didn't pass the first time it was introduced in 2007.

According to law, a patent is a property right--a quid pro quo for invention disclosure. Issued by a government, it provides an inventor with the right to control the use of his or her invention, and for a limited time exclude others from making, using, selling or importing a patented invention without the inventor's permission.

The patent system in the U.S. was envisioned by the Founding Fathers "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8)

The proposed changes would transform the U.S. system from granting patents on a "first-to-invent" basis to the European-style "first-to-file" system. Many contend this would lead to a race to the Patent Office and unfairly favor large corporations--with their armies of attorneys--over small inventors. It's also said apportionment of damages and other changes would weaken the patents and make it easier for offshore copycats to bring pirated goods into the U.S. This could have serious consequences for American jobs and the country's competitiveness in the global economy. In addition, many critics think these proposed changes will diminish many of the protections offered by the current law and discourage innovation and venture investment, and make it even more difficult to enforce a patent.

According to Alexander Poltorak, General Patent Corporation's chairman, a national expert on the U.S. patent system and author of two books on intellectual property, "The Patent Reform Act of 2009 will undercut domestic industry and hurt independent inventors--the very backbone of American ingenuity." Poltorak added, "This bill will devalue patents--the currency of a knowledge-based economy--and will consequently weaken the incentive to innovate. It will stifle innovation and entrepreneurship." Dr. Poltorak is the founder and president of a nonprofit organization, American Innovators for Patent Reform (AIPR).

Others share his opinion. Organizations that oppose various aspects of the bill include the AFL-CIO, Patent Office Professional Association, the American Bar Association, IEEE, Innovation Alliance, the National Association of Patent Practitioners, National Small Business Association and many other groups.

If you feel strongly about this or any other issue, you can contact your senator or congressional representative. To learn more, visit the AIPR website at