Right now, at an office building just outside Washington D.C., over a million patent applications sit gathering dust. Those applications could hold the next iPhone, the next Kindle, or the next Google. But the agency tasked with reviewing and approving those patent applications simply doesn't have the resources or manpower to keep up with the flow of innovations. And so they sit.
Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) and West Virginia Congressman Alan Mollohan (D-1st District) passed a bill to help jumpstart the economy by tackling our nation's massive patent backlog and spurring American innovation. Their bill is a critical part of the Democrats' "Make it in America" agenda to boost American manufacturing and create new American jobs.
Murphy's patent bill will help bring new innovations to light and create jobs by ensuring the U.S. Patent and Trade Office has the resources they need to hire an adequate number of patent examiners, install up-to-date information technology and make other operational changes necessary to get after this backlog.
In remarks on the House floor earlier today, Murphy discussed the current patent backlog and how it has stifled economic progress. Those applications, he said, represent the greatest this country has to offer in terms of new ideas and new technologies.
"One of those patent applications could hold the next iPhone but might be stuck in a box for years," Murphy said in his floor remarks. "We need to get after this backlog in applications, which contain any number of breakthroughs that could help propel our economy, expand small businesses, and create new jobs."
The average time it takes for a patent to be approved, he noted, is around 30 months. When you consider that today, technologies often become obsolete within 18 months or less, it's clear that a process that takes two and a half years to complete is simply too long.
Further, a more streamlined and efficient patent process could be key to helping our nation maintain its technological edge globally. Patent activity among our nation's biggest competitors like China, India, and South Korea has shown exponential growth. Murphy's bill is one step toward providing the USPTO the resources necessary to keep pace with the flow of innovation and ensure American businesses and workers can compete globally.
Murphy's bill is part of House Democrats' "Make it in America" Agenda, which includes a series of legislative initiatives to boost American manufacturing and create new jobs here at home.