Intellectual Property Rights at Risk, say American Inventors
WASHINGTON, July 25 -- Disappointed that Congress is working against them to weaken America’s intellectual property rights, the Professional Inventors Alliance USA ( http://www.piausa.org ) has launched an aggressive lobbying campaign to ensure the recently drafted “Patent Reform Act of 2005” never makes it to the House Floor for a vote. The U.S. Senate has scheduled a Hearing for the bill on Tuesday, July 26 and the House of Representatives has scheduled a Markup on Thursday, July 28.
Sponsored by Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas, the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, the bill, if passed, would dull America’s intellectual edge, disadvantage the nation’s small businesses, cost Americans jobs and stifle individual ingenuity, say many of the nation’s top inventors.
“The bill would strip individuals of their constitutional rights and kill American invention,” said Ron Riley, the organization’s president. “It is unconscionable that a member of Congress would sponsor such a bill, but more importantly it is clearly unconstitutional.”
The bill’s most controversial provision advocates replacing the United State’s current first-to-invent standard with the European first-to-file model. The first-to-file system would no longer reward American inventors for their original ideas, designs and years of hard work. Instead, large companies - even foreign companies - that somehow learn of an idea that was not theirs to begin with could file before the actual inventor and claim the patent rights.
“Many of my colleagues don’t have the financial resources to prepare a patent application as quickly as IBM, Microsoft or Hewlett Packard, much less win the race to the Patent Office,” said Riley. “Unlike European and Japanese patent systems, America’s system works to reward the individual inventor.”
During a series of national meetings sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) several legal experts also questioned the constitutionality of not rewarding American’s for their inventions. “Participants ... questioned whether a first-inventor-to-file system would be constitutional in light of the Constitution’s requirement that Congress reward ’inventors,’” stated an FTC internal report dated May 23, 2005.
The Professional Inventors Alliance USA, based in Washington, D.C., represents several thousand U.S. inventors. The group was founded more than a decade ago to protect American invention and to encourage innovation.
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