Patent

Pandemics and the Need for U.S. Patent Laws That ‘Promote … Progress’ and Invention: The Federal Circuit, En Banc, Can Fix This

The COVID-19 crisis has once more highlighted the need for incentivizing investment and innovation—and thus, for patent laws that duly “promote” and protect such “progress,” precisely as our Founders envisioned. See U.S. Const., Art. I., § 8, cl. 8. Indeed, those patent-based incentives over the years have helped produce life-saving medicines, tests, treatments, and cures; once-unimaginable computer technology, robotics, and nanotechnology; LASIK eye-surgery and cochlear implants; personal satellite-based navigation systems; handheld devices seemingly straight out of Star Trek; 3-D printer technology; and much, much more. Nevertheless, a series of judicial rulings over the past 15 years have steadily eroded U.S. patent protections. Consequently, once-innovative companies, including major innovative pharmaceutical companies, have divested in R&D, and investors more generally have diverted funding to non-inventive areas (like entertainment) or to countries (like China) whose patent laws offer protections more favorable than U.S. law. American innovation has fallen accordingly.

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