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SPECIAL SUMMARY REPORT

THE GREAT DEBATE

FIRST-TO-INVENT vs. FIRST-TO-FILE

and the

INTERNATIONAL HARMONIZATION TREATY





TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Important
Instructions
for: Duplication,
Distribution, Use of
Information


Introduction

I.
Credits


II.
Foreword


III.
WSJ Article


IV.
Synopsis-Europe
Legislation


V.
Synopsis-U.S.
Legislation


VI.
Key Questions
#1 / #2 / #3 / #4
#5 / #6 / #7 / #8
#9 / #10 / #11 / #12 #13 / #14 / #15

VII.
Arguments & Rebuttals
At-A-Glance


VIII.
Closing Comments &
Recommendations


IX.
Notes



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  • VIII. CLOSING COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    The "First-to-Invent" system, established in the Constitution, and developed by our founding fathers, has worked for 200 years and was the incentive that made the United States the greatest nation in the world. We believe that the U.S. "First-to-Invent" patent system, the roots of our free enterprise system and of the American Dream, gives the individual the ability to follow his heart and become what he has the potential to become, no matter what his status in life, in Jefferson's words, placing him "in opulence instead of leading the life of the most painful drudgery by which they can scarcely obtain the necessities of subsistence." In this spirit, the "First-to-Invent" system is just and fair.

    To the same extent that the U.S. has, for decades, been promoting democracy, freedom, and the capitalistic system as a way of life around the world - especially in communist countries - doesn't it only seem right and ethical that the harmonization treaty should also follow the philosophy of democracy, freedom and capitalism in regards to its most vital natural resource - human ingenuity - and seek to reverse the "first-to-file" system in other countries to the U.S. "First-to-Invent" system?

    This type of "reverse" harmonization would give all individuals, small businesses, big businesses, and multinationals, not just in the U.S., but in all the countries of the world, an equal opportunity to participate on a level playing field.

    As the great American essayist, Emerson, so eloquently stated:

    "If a talent is anywhere born into the world, the community of nations is enriched."

    In "A Bill to Promote the Patent System", Bill Shlesinger, Jr. points out that initially a U.S. patent was issued for 14-17 years, but is now only a four year period with maintenance (renewal) fees every 3-4 years for the 17-year term.

    U.S. Patent office fees have also soared to unbelievable heights, increasing the already burdensome tax on the creative output of those people who are inventors.

    Donald Banner, former U.S. Patent Office Commissioner states: "the patent office charge to small inventors went from $175 in 1981 to $3,600 in 1991, an increase of 2000%. If the price of a Big Mac® were similarly increased and had cost $1.25 in 1981, it would cost almost twenty-six dollars ($26) in 1991."

    The proposed "first-to-file" will place the inventor between a rock and a hard place, and will put undue hardship and duress on the people least able to cope with more taxes, fees, rules, and regulations.

    Lincoln, who was also an inventor, gave the following tribute to the U.S. Patent System:

    "The patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.

    In order to preserve our inherent right provided in the U.S. Constitution - to commercially exploit and benefit from our ideas for a specified length of time - it's going to take a strong and unified effort from everyone in the small business, invention and innovation community to take action and let our voice be heard. More than ever, we must set aside any differences and work together.

    Any political backbiting amongst organizations and groups must cease if we are to have any kind of unity and defend the inventor's rights. We must all unite and focus our energies on doing what we claim we do - which is helping the inventor.

    This is also a call to action to all individuals, irregardless of vocation, race, creed, financial status, education, sex, etc. Invention and innovation touches every individual, everyday of our lives. Whether it's using the Xerox® machine, using Whiteout®, or taking Polaroid® pictures of our families, so many of the products we use daily were invented by independent inventors who became entrepreneurs, all under the incentive of the U.S. patent system.

    The proposed "first-to-file" would destabilize small businesses and independent inventors which make up 99% of all U.S. firms, which are responsible for 50% of all U.S. innovation, which file 45% of all U.S. origin patents, employ 50-70% of the labor force, and contribute 30% to the GNP! Therefore, the proposed "first-to-file" issue will affect everyone in our country, not only economically, but in the loss of precious rights of the individual.

    We are a nation of 250 million people. There is strength in numbers, as Ghandi so peacefully demonstrated, and it's going to take everyone's participation, ongoing persistence, and dedication in order to reverse the lobbying that has brought the proposed "First-to-File" on the verge of being passed with minimal awareness by the United States constituency.

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