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Reps. Stivers, Foster Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect American Ingenuity

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Washington, March 20, 2018 | comments
“As a nation, we may not have the lowest wage rate, or the lowest number of regulations, but we do have the best ideas, and protecting those ideas is essential,” Stivers said. “Main Street should be just as much of an incubator for innovation as Silicon Valley, and we must ensure that these small patent owners have the same opportunity to compete in the open market.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Representative Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced H.R. 5340, the Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Patents Act in order to strengthen the United States’ crippled patent system.  The bipartisan STRONGER Patents Act would restore patents as property rights, make standards of protections in courts uniform, and protect start-ups from being out-resourced by technology incumbents.  

In recent years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has downgraded our nation’s patent system – once ranked first, it is currently ranked 12th – and subsequently, investor confidence has been undermined with relations to tech start-ups, bio and pharmaceutical companies, and innovation centers on university campuses.

“As a nation, we may not have the lowest wage rate, or the lowest number of regulations, but we do have the best ideas, and protecting those ideas is essential,” Stivers said. “Main Street should be just as much of an incubator for innovation as Silicon Valley, and we must ensure that these small patent owners have the same opportunity to compete in the open market.”

“I am proud to work with Representative Stivers to make our patent system stronger and more effective for everyone with a new idea. From the earliest days of our country’s history, our economy’s strength has relied on a patent system that has allowed innovators and entrepreneurs to thrive,” Foster said. “This system has allowed businesses to flourish, creating jobs and cementing our reputation as a world leader. Our current patent system, however, has been weakened to the point that it discourages research and innovation rather than supporting it. I thank Representative Stivers for his leadership on this important issue as we work together to make our patent system better for everyone.” 

The STRONGER Patents Act would reverse that trend by standing up for small businesses that rely on patents by providing court-level standards at the United States Patents and Trademark Office and providing injunctive relief against those who infringe on patents.  It also protects small patent owners and start-ups by eliminating harassing, duplicitous patent demand letters, many of which are often sent in bad faith by so-called “trolls.”  By defining the process of sending superfluous demand letters as a “Deceptive and Unfair Act or Practice,” the STRONGER Patents Act is equipping the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with the tools necessary to crack down on these trolls.

“Small businesses are our biggest job creators, and those that rely on patents consistently create high-paying jobs.  So, this bill is not just about ensuring innovators can innovate, it’s about good-paying jobs and stimulating our local economies,” Stivers said.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

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