Last September, our esteemed leaders in Washington passed a law reforming America's patent system called the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. At the time, the promise from every politician in support of the Act was that it would create jobs. They swore that if we just passed patent reform, it would unleash an avalanche of new businesses that would hire more Americans. "Patent reform equals jobs" was the unmistakable guarantee our politicians made to us.
President Obama's re-election website states:
President Obama signed the America Invents Act, historic patent reform legislation that will help American entrepreneurs bring inventions to market sooner, helping to create new businesses and new jobs.
The America Invents Act's cosponsor, Sen. Patrick Leahy, said: "It should ensure our moving forward to make the changes needed to unleash American innovation and create jobs."
Charles Schumer said: "The America Invents Act is fundamentally a jobs bill."
President Obama's Director of the Patent Office, David Kappos, said: "The America Invents Act is tremendous down payment on the aggressive jobs agenda President Obama has laid out for our country."
But President Obama and other Democrats weren't the only ones making these promises to the American people. Republicans were making the same claims.
The America Invents Act's cosponsor, Lamar Smith, said: "H.R. 1249 improves the patent system, ensuring the protection and promotion of intellectual property that spurs economic growth and generates jobs."
Bob Goodlatte said: "This will allow independent inventors, as well as small-, medium- and large-sized enterprises to grow our economy and create jobs."
Ben Quayle said: "As part of the Republican Conference's overall effort to spur job creation and economic growth, I urge passage of this important legislation."
But these politicians were in large part just parroting the lines fed to them by lobbyists. Lamar Smith admitted as much when he said: "To quote the Chamber of Commerce: 'This legislation is crucial for American economic growth, jobs, and the future of U.S. competitiveness.'"
If you didn't know already, the Chamber of Commerce is the largest lobbing entity in America and nothing but an unashamed front for corporate America. See this Economist article for more about how powerful they are in Washington.
Lobbyists were even able to get another part of the America Invents Act to include a provision letting corporations that had lied to the American people off the hook for their actions. How that's supposed to create jobs is a mystery to me. Call me a radical, but I think allowing corporations to lie to the American people is not a good thing.
Despite all the promises about patent reform creating jobs, nine months later we have yet to see any increase in American jobs as a result of the America Invents Act. May's dismal jobs report of only 69,000 new jobs was even worse than April's report of 77,000 jobs, which was pretty miserable itself, and the absolute worst jobs report since passage of the America Invents Act.
One is left to ask, when will we get all these new jobs the politicians promised us during the patent reform process? As I wrote last month, I fear we never will, that the America Invents Act will actually harm American businesses and cause a net loss of jobs for Americans. I'd love to be proven wrong, but sadly doubt I ever will. Maybe next time we shouldn't be so fast to believe what our politicians promise us.
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