Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Patent Bill Is Wrong for Many Reasons

Yesterday, I told you that the so-called "patent reform" bill that Congress is trying to pass is outright unconstitutional because it would instruct our patent office to grant patents to the first person who files a piece of paper about a invention instead of to the inventor who actually invented it. The authors of the U.S. Constitution, and the early Congresses (which included many men who had been members of the Constitutional Convention), were very clear that the meaning of the word "inventors" in the Constitution is the first person to invent a new product.

The Patent Acts of 1790 and 1793 legislated that the patent must be awarded to "the first and true inventor." The Patent Act of 1836 used the language "original and true inventor" and "original and first inventor." The famous Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that the Constitution guarantees the "exclusive" right "to the inventor from the moment of invention." In 1833, the Supreme Court upheld the law that vested "the exclusive right in the inventor only."

Now, the liberals are circulating the un-American notion that we should utilize treaties and foreign laws to re-interpret our Constitution and statutes. They want Congress to use its Treaty power or its Commerce Clause power to override the inventors clause, overturn over 200 years of settled and successful law, and put us on the road to a borderless patent system.

First-to-file would elevate paperwork over true inventions, dilute the quality of patents as applications are rushed to be filed, and cede sovereignty on the direction of our own domestic patent system. First-to-file favors foreign inventors and big corporations with the lawyers and resources to file quickly and redundantly, while taking rights away from independent inventors and small businesses.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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