Thoughts for Small Businesses and
Inventors: When the Politicians Call, Just Say No to Harmonization!
By Nevin Shaffer, Patent Attorney
I love election years! Every four years the folks running for office
remember that the people in this country with ideas and inventions,
the ones that start all those small businesses, are the backbone of
our economy. This year when Obama and McCain call, ask them a
question first. Ask them if they favor small business. You know what
they will say. Then tell them this: If you support small business,
say no to harmonization of the US patent laws! They will be stunned,
put off guard and you can hang up without having to make a
contribution! How great is that?!
Here is what I am talking about. I believe the United States has the
most inventive group of people in the planet because our laws favor
the little guy! In the US, the playing field is even no matter how
much money the other guy has. Here the first to invent wins as
between two people with the same idea. In every other country in the
world it is a race to the patent office, the first to file wins.
Because patent applications aren’t free, this "first to file system"
favors the guys with the money. You know who they are: IBM, HP, etc.
It doesn’t matter to them. They have all the money! So, in the US,
there is no race, first to invent wins and the playing filed is even
between the small business and the big.
Also, every other country in the world says if you test the
marketability of your new idea in the market place, it’s not
patentable! In every other country you must first spend your college
savings fund on a patent application before you bring the product
out. In the US, you have one year to test the commercial viability
of your new product in the market! If you have 35 million dollars in
orders in the first month, heck, apply for two patents out of cash
flow! On the other hand if after 11 months of aggressive
advertising, you haven’t sold one, it may still be patentable, but
who cares? It’s a certified commercial dog!
So our system is good for small business. The problem with the so
called "harmonization" of patent laws the US politicians are talking
about is that they mean to make our laws like the rest of the world.
That is definitely not good for US small business! My thought is, if
there is any harmonization to be done, let the rest of the world
harmonize their systems to ours!
Nevin is a licensed patent attorney and Florida Bar Certified
Intellectual Property Law Specialist and has been practicing
Intellectual Property law for over 28 years. You may contact Nevin
by phone at 850-934-4124 and/or email at
email@example.com. Or visit his