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The Honorable Patrick Leahy
United States Senator
Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Today is the anniversary of the day Thomas Edison received the historic patent for the principles of his incandescent lamp that paved the way for the bulb that has illuminated homes, offices and venues throughout the country and around the world. I hope that, when the Committee meets next week, we will join together to light a better path for American innovation by approving the bipartisan, comprehensive patent reform bill.
At the State of the Union address to Congress and the American people this week, which is provided for in the Constitution, the President noted that the first step to "winning the future" is encouraging American innovation. He noted that we grant more patents than any other country. Our patent system derives from the Constitution, expressly authorizing Congress to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing to inventors certain rights to their discoveries. The patent system plays a key role in encouraging innovation and bringing new products to market.
I want to recognize in particular Senator Hatch, who has been a longtime partner of mine on intellectual property issues. We started this patent reform process several Congresses ago, along with Mr. Smith, Mr. Berman, Mr. Conyers and others in the House, with the goal of improving patent quality and the operations at the PTO, and to address the related unpredictability of litigation that was harming innovation.
I also thank Senator Grassley for working with me at the start of this Congress on what has been a top priority of mine, and this Committee's, for several years. Our comprehensive patent reform legislation is the product of deliberation and discussions over the past four Congresses that have included nearly every member of this Committee. All have made contributions.
Patent reform is something that the Judiciary Committee can contribute to the Nation's efforts to stimulate our economy. A strong patent system will encourage innovation and protect inventors. This will result in new businesses and more jobs. Comprehensive patent reform has the support of the administration and many business organizations. We can help support innovators and help companies create jobs. Importantly, the Leahy-Hatch-Grassley patent reform bill does so without adding a penny to the deficit.
No one claims that ours is a perfect bill, but it is a compromise that would key improvements in the patent system. I hope the Committee will proceed expeditiously with this legislation next week, and that the Senate will consider and pass it without delay.
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