Regarding the Innovation Act

by Regan Luker, University student

As a student at the University of Minnesota, one of the top research universities in the nation, I am greatly concerned with the proposed legislation dealing with patent reform. I agree there is a need to cut down on abusive patent practices under the current law by so-called “patent trolls.” However, current legislation in Congress is too broad in addressing this problem. The unintended consequences of the Innovation Act are too great to ignore.

Despite its intentions, this bill will affect a large number of patent holders, both individual patent holders as well as universities like the University of Minnesota. If the Innovation Act proves successful, it is very possible that the amount of resources and funding devoted to research at the University would decline.

The amount and quality of research that happens at the University is one of the things that make the school so great. Not only does the actual research itself benefit so many in its real-world applications, but research also serves as a recruiting tool for the University to attract the best and brightest faculty members, graduate students and professors. If the role of research is diminished as a result of the Innovation Act, the quality of faculty might also decline. Not to mention, the opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in research would decline as well.

At first glance, the Innovation Act appears to be a common-sense solution to fixing our patent system. However, the unintended consequences are far too detrimental to be overlooked. A much less broad approach is needed if we really want to keep innovation alive and make sure our universities remain leading research institutions in the world.