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At a glance the Manufacturing Alliance on Patent Policy (MAPP) and the National Small Business Association (NSBA) may not seem to be organizations that share many commonalities with university faculty inventors, but in fact, they do have one major issue in common: patent "reform". MAPP is an ad-hoc coalition of manufacturers, while the NSBA is a long-standing nationally recognized organization. But both are applying their influence to Congress to forestall the current patent "reform" proposals for much the same reasons that concern IP Advocate.

Different aspects of the proposed legislation alarm these factions, and although they are not operating as a united front, they are wielding some infl uence as forces mutually opposed to reform. Perhaps this pressure will succeed in halting a third consecutive attempt at reforming a much maligned patent system by means of questionable reform.

For the NSBA, who represents small business, academic researchers and independent inventors, the change to a "first to file" system is troubling. Our founding fathers, Jefferson and Franklin among others, were inventors and sought to protect individual creativities in their drafting of our nation's system of government. Filing a proper patent application can be a time-consuming process and a costly one as well depending on retention of legal counsel, prior art searches and other hurdles. Independent and academic inventors would be unduly hampered by this change and the only beneficiary would be large corporations who already have sizeable advantages in the world of patents.

This change would impact more than lone inventors and non-corporate researchers. It would mean a step-back in innovation within the U.S. as well as an associated injury to economic progress. Although the rest of the world utilizes the first-to-file protocol, the U.S. was and still remains a nation of innovators. "Because everyone else does it" has never been a position embraced by Americans and should not be in this case either.


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