Innovation creates so many jobs and so much opportunity for our country…it is absolutely key to our long-term success in the global economy, [and patent filings] are a reflection of innovation.”
—David Kappos, Director of the Patent Office
It would be hard to argue with Kappos statement—the U.S. has been a world leader in innovation for decades. Unfortunately, that reign may be coming to an end.
The number of patents filed in 2009 dropped 2.3 percent from the prior year…the first year since 1996 that fewer patents were filed by U.S. inventors year over year.
Yes, you say, but we are in the midst of the Great Recession, and we should expect patent filings to drop. True enough, but it does not explain why U.S. patents (yes, U.S. patents) issued to inventors in foreign nations increased 6.3 percent over the same period.
Here is what Bijal Vakil, partner on White & Case’s intellectual property team, in Palo Alto, CA had to say:
…this trend could spell financial ruin for some U.S. companies. We’ve lost our competitive edge, and other companies from other countries stand to benefit.
I’m about to go and watch the President’s State of the Union speech, where he is supposed to talk about jobs and getting our economy back on track. We’ll see!
But, here’s the real deal—Congress and the Administration can posture and postulate all they want, but if they don’t come up with a plan to get our kids and schools revitalized in the areas of math and science, innovation leadership will soon be taken over by other countries…and where does that leave our high-tech businesses then?