Innovation and entrepreneurship are integral to America’s economic strength, and the U.S. patent system has been critical to nurturing the innovation economy. With its foundation in Article One, Section 8 of the Constitution, the U.S. patent system has been the strongest in the world. In recent years, some critics, including Judge Richard Posner, have argued that the patent system has led to excessive patenting, too much litigation, and unwarranted costs for consumers. Patent defenders have responded that with every spike in innovation comes a corresponding increase in the number of patent suits, and efforts to weaken patent rights will inevitably lead to less innovation. With the passage of the America Invents Act -- the broadest overhaul of the patent system in 50 years America -- many people believed that the dispute over patent rights would recede. However, with a string of high profile patent infringement suits in the smartphone industry – and a new effort to roll back patent rights at the International Trade Commission certain patents held by so-called “non-practicing entities” (NPEs) – the debate over intellectual property has grown more intense. Would reduced patent rights diminish U.S. competitiveness and depress innovation? In a diversified economy, should NPEs have fewer patent rights than those that manufacture their inventions? Will innovation continue apace even if patent protections are scaled back?
- Prof. Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
- Prof. Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
- Moderator: Mr. Dean Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society