Innovators: Trump or Clinton?
by: David M. Pridham
If anyone doubts the importance of the next president in setting technology and innovation policies that will affect every business as well as the U.S. and global economies, one has to look no further than the way President Obama has dramatically reshaped the environment for innovation in America over the last eight years.
On the plus side, Obama signed into law this past May the much-needed and long-awaited Defense of Trade Secrets Act, the first law providing a federal cause of action for the misappropriation of trade secrets, which costs American businesses up to $300 billion annually. To his credit, the president has also consistently (albeit perhaps ironically, given his policies below) advocated America’s innovation leadership as vital to U.S. national competitiveness.
But on the downside, Obama has presided over the most serious weakening of U.S. patent law since President Gerald Ford’s Federal Trade Commission forced Xerox to license its patents to the Japanese in 1975. That decision destroyed almost overnight U.S. leadership of the copier industry (and a good portion of the economy of Rochester, New York along with it).
Consider, for example, that President Obama’s landmark America Invents Act of 2011 has allowed the Patent Office’s new patent trial board to become so unbalanced it now invalidates close to 90% of all challenged patent claims that come before it for review. This explains why many experts describe it as a “patent death squad.”