Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Patent Bill Is Unconstitutional

The election of nearly a hundred new Members of Congress last November was grounded in grassroots opposition to the federal government's (a) spending us into massive debt and (2) overriding constitutional limits of power. Unfortunately, lobbyists are now exerting pressure on Congress to pass a law in direct violation of the Constitution.

One of the most valuable individual rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution is the right of "inventors" to own "the exclusive right" to their "discoveries" for "limited times." U.S. patents are awarded to the "first-to-invent" a new and useful product. All other countries award patents under an alien system called "first-to-file," i.e., the first person to file a paper with a government office. Foreign and powerful financial interests are now haranguing us to make us believe that the new dogma of globalism demands that we "harmonize" our patent system with the rest of the world by changing from first-to-invent to first-to-file. But harmonization makes no sense. Why would we abandon the proven best system that has worked successfully for two centuries and replace it with a proven inferior system?

Much more important, this patent bill should be rejected because it is flat-out unconstitutional. The Constitution plainly states that the property right belongs to "inventors," not to someone handing a piece of paper to a government bureaucrat. Seven scholarly law review articles have examined this issue and concluded that first-to-file is unconstitutional. No scholarly review proves otherwise. More than two hundred years of statutes and jurisprudence confirm the first-to-invent standard. No matter what arguments of policy or efficiency are made by first-to-file supporters, we must not let Congress violate or ignore the Constitution.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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