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Protecting America's Ideas

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Protecting America's Ideas

The freedom to invent keeps America competitive in the global economy. Strengthening intellectual property leads to economic growth, job creation and the type of creativity that has made America the envy of the world.

Texas is home to many high-tech and bio-tech companies along with small inventors and patent reform is needed to create and protect their intellectual property.

This past week, I introduced the "Patent Reform Act of 2007" (H.R. 1908) along with Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA). Last year we laid a strong foundation for patent reform. With the introduction of this year's bill, we build on that foundation and will work through the remaining issues to complete the task.

Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Orin Hatch (R-UT) also introduced an identical version in the Senate. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation implements standards consistent with international practice, weeds out bad patents, clarifies how damages are determined in valid disputes, and reduces the number of frivolous lawsuits.

This is the most significant comprehensive update to patent law within the past decade; arguably it represents the biggest change since the 1952 Act was written. American intellectual property industries account for over half of all U.S. exports, represent 40 percent of our economic growth and employ 18 million Americans. A recent study valued U.S. intellectual property at approximately five trillion, about half of America's gross domestic product.

All businesses, small and large, will benefit. All industries directly or indirectly affected by patents, including finance, biotech, high-tech, and pharmaceuticals, will profit. Our goal is to help the small inventor toiling in his garage, the high-tech firm that files a thousands patents a year and everyone in between. This bill streamlines and brings simplicity to the patent system.

This will help individuals and companies obtain seed money for research and development, commercialize their inventions, grow their businesses, create new jobs, and offer the American public a dazzling array of products and services that make our economy the envy of the world.

Securing America's ideas and inventions is vital and that is why this reform is necessary. If you would like more general information on patents and patent law, log onto The United States Patent and Trademark Office at For information on how to file a patent and to find the proper forms for filing, log onto

Patent reform should be passed in the 110th Congress and this bill is a good first start that shows America's dedication to innovation. As Abraham Lincoln said about the institution of patent law, "secures to the inventor, for a limited time, the exclusive use of his invention; and thereby added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius, in the discovery and production of new and useful things." This reform is needed to protect America's ideas.

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