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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 13, 2011
CONTACT: Phyllis Schlafly, President, (314) 721-1213
Schlafly: Congress Is Taking the 'Obamacare Approach' to Patent Reform
WASHINGTON, June 11, 2011 — Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of the conservative public policy organization, Eagle Forum, denounced H.R. 1249, the so-called "America Invents Act," as "shameful" and "unworthy of a Congress that pledged transparency and fidelity to the Constitution."
"This bill takes an 'Obamacare approach' to patent reform," Schlafly declared. "It's another unconstitutional bill full of payoffs to special interests, that will, as Barack Obama would say, 'fundamentally transform' a major aspect of our economy, while killing jobs, threatening American security, and worsening the problems it's supposed to solve."
Schlafly added, "Just like Nancy Pelosi said about Obamacare, 'We have to pass it so you can find out what's in it,' H. R. 1249 supporters are trying to rush the bill through before Congress and the American people realize how bad it is."
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 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 startup entities," said Schlafly.
Last Monday, 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.
But, the move from first-to-invent to first-to-file is not the only constitutional concern presented in H.R. 1249. The Heritage Foundation, along with House Appropriations and Finance Committee Chairs Hal Rogers and Paul Ryan and other well-respected Representatives, have expressed concern about a provision in the bill that will take fee-setting authority away from Congress and give it to the Patent and Trademark Office.
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 Capitol 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.