Helping Small Businesses Protect Intellectual Property
WASHINGTON – Today, the House Committee on Small Business examined how small business owners in the digital technology industry use intellectual property to help their business, and the issues they face when navigating the intellectual property process.
America’s intellectual property is worth $6.6 trillion, and intellectual property-intensive industries employ over 45 million Americans.
However, as Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) said during the hearing, “The process for obtaining intellectual property protections can be daunting even for the most experienced small business owner. It can also be very expensive to hire professionals to traverse the intellectual property process. Because of their limited financial abilities, small business owners are vulnerable to their innovations being stolen both here in the United States and internationally, which can be financially devastating.”
What the Witnesses Said
“Intellectual Property (IP), an umbrella term covering copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secrets, is often the secret sauce that gives a new, up-and-coming company its competitive edge. The loss of that edge, through theft or other appropriation, invites unfair competition that can devastate even a large company, much less a small one,” said Mr. Frank Cullen, Vice President of U.S, Policy at the Global Innovation Policy Center for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“I commend the House Small Business Committee for holding this hearing to examine the ways in which small businesses in the digital technology field use IP to survive and grow. Smartphones have become the single most rapidly adopted technology in the history of the world, but the success, growth, and utility of this mobile-driven phenomenon depends on the ingenuity of the small businesses that create new frontiers of opportunity,” said Mr. Morgan Reed, President of ACT | The App Association.
“As academic studies have reported, patent litigation, even the threat of litigation, and the pressures to negotiate a settlement, can have severe negative impacts on small businesses,” said Mr. Christopher Mohr, Vice President for Intellectual Property and General Counsel for the Software & Information Industry Association.
“It is difficult and perilous to start a new company from scratch. For companies built around a new invention or committed to solving a complex problem, it also requires investors with a strong appetite for risk. To incentivize risk from inventors that results in true technological breakthroughs, we have the promise of patent protection to help ensure returns despite this risk,” said Mr. Chris Israel, Executive Director of Alliance of U.S. Startups & Inventors for Jobs.
This past March, the Committee unanimously passed H.R. 2655, the Small Business Innovation Protection Act of 2017, and it unanimously passed the full House of Representatives yesterday, July 10, 2018.