Entrepreneurs and startup inventors will be closely watching President Trump and his policy stance towards intellectual property rights and innovation in the United States over the next two years.
While information is currently scarce there are some positive signs for startups seeking to acquire startup capital and protect their inventions from larger predatory companies. Over the last decade, America has produced its fair share of blockbuster inventions, but the question is whether growth could have been higher if we did not outsource our manufacturing abroad which consequently also means exporting our innovation overseas. Whether you agree with Trump’s policies or not, we can all agree that America’s innovation index is not powerful as it used to be. In fact, we currently rank No.9 according to some international reports including the Bloomberg index referenced in our post American Inventors, Take A Bow: The Stats Show You Deserve it. China, not unexpectedly, appears to be the strongest emerging innovation economy and has received the brunt of Trump’s wrath when it comes to “the rampant theft of our intellectual property.”
According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, improved protection of America’s intellectual property in China MAY produce more than 2 million more jobs in the United States.
This point is not lost on President Trump who in a recent economic policy speech stated that China “break the rules in every way imaginable. China engages in illegal export subsidies, prohibited currency manipulation, and rampant theft of intellectual property. They also have no real environmental or labor protections, further undercutting American workers.” Many others argue that when manufacturing exits a country research and development funding dwindles in direct response, thereby creating an enormous problem for subsequent generations of innovation. Specifically, inventors should note how conditions vary between countries like China and the United States: IPWatchdog state that China has a 3.5% cost advantage for manufacturing compared to America. “Regulations, taxes and an environment that makes it practically impossible to start a new business creates the overwhelming bulk of the U.S. disadvantage, and thoughtful policies to revitalize American manufacturing would produce dividends, lead to a broader middle class, provide an economic boon to the entire country and lead to greater national security because we wouldn’t be relying on foreign producers for everything, like we are today.” President Trump and the GOP Platform released a policy document which offer further clues with how they intend to deal with intellectual property rights. The document states that “with the rise of the digital economy, it has become even more critical that we protect intellectual property rights and preserve freedom of contract rather than create regulatory barriers to creativity, growth, and innovation. Today, the worst offenses against intellectual property rights come from abroad, especially in China. We call for strong action by Congress and a new Republican president to enforce intellectual property laws against all infringers, whether foreign or domestic.”
It also states that private property includes not only physical property such as lands and homes, but also intellectual property like books and patents. Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to safeguard intellectual property rights for “Authors and Inventors.”
There is enough evidence to suggest that the President is going to focus on enforcing rules abroad and protecting existing innovation in the U.S. He also emphasizes the private property rights inherent in IP protection to the benefit of the small inventor, which could ultimately increase competition and innovation in the United States. From your perspective, maintaining a competitive edge in today’s “idea economy” requires effectively guarding your intellectual property rights using US patents. The core value of most businesses isn’t in land, equipment, manufacturing facilities, or other physical property. Today, the most valuable assets of many companies are knowledge-based intangible assets such as proprietary know-how and the innovative application of new ideas or methods of doing business. While there are many components to successfully filing for a patent, inventors should note that in many foreign countries, patent rights are lost once a public disclosure or offer to sell an invention is made. As such, you should consult with a Patent Attorney before revealing your invention.
If you need guidance and help with filing a utility, design or plant patent please contact me below. I would also be happy to discuss some creative ways you can leverage your patent to enhance profit margins, contribute to monopoly or licensing revenue, and increase market share and name recognition for your company and its product lines.