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Mr. CHABOT. I first want to thank Chairman Smith and Chairman Goodlatte for their leadership in getting us to the point that we are on this important legislation here this evening.
Section 8, clause 8 of the Constitution states that the Congress shall have power to "promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.'' The Constitution clearly grants Congress the authority to grant patent rights to inventors, and it defers to the discretion of Congress how best to procedurally award these rights to the inventor.
I rise in support of H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act. The first-inventor-to-file provision shifts us to a system used by all other modern, industrial nations. This system would end the need for expensive discovery and litigation over priority dates and would put an end to expensive interference proceedings that small entities overwhelmingly lose.
This provision also ensures that inventors can establish priority dates by filing simple and inexpensive provisional applications. This is a much needed change, which former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey indicated would be both constitutional and wise. Congress has the right, in fact the duty, to protect those who invent or discover.
Through in-depth studies conducted by former U.S. PTO commissioners, the first-to-file system has been found to be faster and cheaper in resolving disputes among inventors. The current system creates an environment for exorbitantly expensive litigation. It has also become cost prohibitive for small businesses and independent inventors to fight the claims filed by larger corporations which can cost over half a million dollars just to litigate.
In the past 7 years, only one independent inventor out of 3 million patent applications filed has successfully proved an earlier date of invention over the inventor who filed first. However, with the new first-inventor-to-file system, a bold timeline of filing dates will allow these small businesses and independent inventors to more easily defend and settle their disputes over the rightful patent holder.
Lastly, the Supreme Court has never held that first-to-file is an unconstitutional procedure. We are now simply returning to the system that our Founders originally established. It is a commonsense procedure that will spur more rapid innovation, yield new jobs, and stimulate the economy; and I think as we all know if we ever needed to get this economy moving and get America back to work, we're in that time right now.
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