Schlafly: Patent Reform Bill Still an Unconstitutional Attack on Small Business

Jun 21, 2011, 15:38 ET from Eagle Forum

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of the conservative public policy organization Eagle Forum, denounced the compromise on H.R. 1249, the so-called "America Invents Act," as "inadequate," and declared that the bill is "still an unconstitutional job killer that attacks small businesses."

Apparently, a compromise on Section 22, dealing with funding for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has been reached to satisfy Congressional appropriators.  However, declared Schlafly, "The compromise is inadequate to fully allow the USPTO to fully carry out its mission, and the bill is still unconstitutional and a devastating blow to individual inventors and start-up companies, the economy's primary U.S. job creators."

The bill changes patent law from recognizing the first person to invent something to the first to file paperwork on an invention. 

"This move stacks the deck overwhelmingly in favor of the large multi-national corporations pushing the bill, who are better staffed and funded to file applications, and devastates the economy's largest jobs-creating sector, small businesses and start-up entities," said Schlafly.

Just this month, Chief Justice John Roberts affirmed the constitutional necessity of protecting inventors in Stanford v. Roche.  Writing for the Court, Roberts stated, "Since 1790, the patent law has operated on the premise that rights in an invention belong to the inventor. . . . Although much in intellectual property law has changed in the 220 years since the first Patent Act, the basic idea that inventors have the right to patent their inventions has not."  If Congress brings this bill to the floor, it will be directly defying the U.S. Supreme Court.

Another Constitutional concern lies in Section 18 of H.R. 1249, which contains a provision that subjects an existing patent for electronic check processing to retroactive attack in order to allow big banks to use the technology without paying for it.  If this provision is found to be a "taking," as Professor Richard Epstein, the nation's foremost authority on property rights, wrote in a 15-page letter, we, the taxpayers, will have to pay up to a billion dollars for a patent that only big banks use.

Additionally, a letter from the Inventors Network of the Capital Area indicates that a move to first-to-file endangers U.S. security.  The letter explains that the United States has serious problems with Chinese hackers stealing U.S. security related innovation secrets while they are under development.  H.R. 1249 will legitimize this theft by enabling hackers to then file applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where under a first-to-file system, they will become the legal owner of that technology.

"We urge Congressional leadership to pull this unconstitutional bill that will irreparably harm innovation and job creation in America," Schlafly concluded.

CONTACT: Phyllis Schlafly, President, (314) 721-1213

SOURCE Eagle Forum