July 29, 1998
The Honorable Senator Trent Lott
United States Senate
487 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Lott,
Perhaps you will remember that we met at the San Clemente gathering for Dana
Rohrabacher. I am the gentleman who Dana introduced to you as the holder of the
original patent, of the MRI machine, a patent which has recently been enforced by the
U.S. Supreme Court.
We spoke on the serious danger to America and to America's technology
innovators of the pending anti-patent legislation, S. 507. I have learned that proponents
of this noxious legislation are making representations to the Senate that America's
innovators and independent inventors are now satisfied with the bill.
This is false. These are misrepresentations .
America's independent inventors are unchanged in their view of the hostility of
this legislation to their patents and to national security.
They remain opposed to:
- a privatized patent office that is governed by an advisory board of Big
company designees and also by legally appointed designees of foreign corporations. The
U.S. Patent Office writes all the regulations that control patent policy in America.
America's inventors justifiably trust only the U.S. government elected by the people with
this critical responsibility and they want its continued protection. They do not consider it
any more appropriate for the corporate interests of America to take charge of this vital
piece of American property, Her patents, than it would be for private business interests to
control the FBI, the U.S. Army, or the Supreme Court. The Constitution designates the government elected by the people to be the guardian of these vital functions including
patents (Article 1, Section 8) and it is self-evident that it should not be changed.
- a privatized patent office that is legally empowered by the proposed legislation
to accept bribery;
- the loss of a patent office of the U.S. government that has always assured our
nation's inventors and our patent examiners that the review of our nation's patent
applications would be fair and impartial and not subject to pressures from corporate
interests that might wish to suppress new technologies that would challenge them;
- the broadened powers of reexamination that will put in jeopardy all the patents
they now hold, destroy their prospects of using their patents to raise investor capital and
cause them to become defendants in legal challenges initiated by large corporations
seeking to remove their patents;
- the infringer immunity provision ("prior user rights") that grants the infringer
immunity from prosecution for any who utilize the technology of the invention before the
patent issues. Knowledge of the inventor's technology is readily obtained in today's
world by inducements to the inventor's collaborators or through the current widespread
practice of industrial espionage; and,
- the publication of their inventions to the world after 18 months before the
patent is granted and when the inventor may in fact never be granted a patent. This
practice alone can cause America's innovators to abandon patents, the public disclosure
of their inventions, in favor of trade secrets. The potential loss to the nation at large of
this vast resource of American technology in the form of published patents is
incalculable, not to mention the unfairness of disclosing his invention to the world before
he is granted a patent. The proposed amendment and all of its qualifiers does not
alleviate this concern. It should be obvious to anyone, considering this proposal
originated by the Japanese, that its purpose is to cause all of America's technology to be
immediately divulged to them so they can commence work on it. All of America's
patents ARE all of America's technology. This provision is a high priority for the
Japanese and other foreign states who seek a leg-up on American competitors by copying
technology America has paid for and siphoning away the income from American
companies that these companies counted on to be generated by their investments. Claims
that they seek the technology of the patents to design around them are disingenuous.
The U.S. patent is one of America's great blessings. She must continue to stand
firm and protect it as she has for 200 years. She must not yield to the forces that have forever sought to undermine and neutralize it from the moment it was created. The U.S.
patent is vital property that is precious to America. American liberty is precious to
America. Both have been paid for with American blood. Neither should be given away.
S.507 gives it away. History has taught us that the forces seeking to undermine or
destroy the U.S. patent and its economic power have always been present. The special
interests, domestic and foreign, seeking its destruction have always been aggressive.
They are even more bold today as the brazen provisions of S.507 testify. America will
have to stand guard over this vital piece of American property now and ever after.
Numerous and ever-present are the interests that would like to see it removed.
Surely no one can ignore the warning sounded by the highest authorities of
American science when 26 of America's Nobel scientists issue a petition warning of the
tragic consequences for America of S.507. Their warning should be heeded!
President and Chairman