Congress should pursue sound policy on patent reform


By Erik Telford

Voters sent a clear message in the 2014 midterm elections — not just that they wanted a change in leadership, but that they wanted Washington to work.

TIME FOR CHANGE: There has been an aggressive push for a reform of the patent system and though this change is necessary, the Obama administration has failed to acknowledge the negative consequences.

Now that Republicans control both chambers, the media and the pundit class are putting a lot of pressure on Congress and the White House to find common ground. However, in the race to show the American people that our elected officials play nice, it’s important that Congress focuses on sound policy — not just quick, feel-good legislation that has hidden, unintended consequences.

President Barack Obama has been aggressively pushing for a massive overhaul of the patent system and will likely cast this as one of the most fertile grounds for compromise.

However, when it comes to so-called patent reform, the Obama administration has failed to acknowledge underlying cronyism for his political allies, nor the negative consequences it could have on innovation and the American economy.

No doubt, common-sense adjustments to our patent system are needed. However, passing new policies that reward political supporters such as Google at the expense of America’s global competitiveness would be a huge step in the wrong direction — putting us on the path of China and India, who both have very weak intellectual property protections.

For those paying attention, it’s not hard to connect the dots of why Google is flexing its political might on behalf of this policy goal. Last year, the company landed 1,851 patents, a 60-percent increase from the year before and more than its rival Apple. For perspective, compare that to 2003, when Google was awarded just four patents.

Clearly Google sees an opportunity to get a leg up in the patent war — all under the PR-friendly guise of “reform”, and anyone who thinks Google and the Obama administration are seeking genuine reform is being misled by the rhetoric.

Read the entire op-ed here.