Intellectual Property and Technology
IP-intensive industries create more than 27 million American jobs, and indirectly support another 13 million. That’s nearly 30 percent all U.S. jobs! But technological innovation is dependent on how well we protect the rights of creators and entrepreneurs. That’s why we must protect intellectual property rights.
Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet
The Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet deals with intellectual property, which contributes greatly to our state and local economy. We rely greatly on the development, protection, and enforcement of intellectual property since the production of content like movies, music, books, and software is critical to keeping California’s growing.
The subcommittee also has jurisdiction over patents, copyrights, and antitrust law. The subject matters are so broad that I deal with issues ranging from consumer privacy on the Internet to the mergers of pharmaceutical companies and banks to patents for car parts. The issues that I handle day in and day out have major implications for our country and I am privileged to be your representative on this subcommittee.
I have consistently pushed for robust funding for state and local law enforcement departments so they can prevent, investigate, and prosecute intellectual property crimes. Without a doubt, the innovation of new technologies promotes economic growth by creating thousands of American jobs. However, many of these jobs are at risk due to intellectual property theft. California’s economic recovery has been slower partly because Los Angeles County lost $5.2 billion in economic activity stemming from intellectual property theft in just one year alone. Not only must we create legislation to help individuals gain intellectual property rights, but we must also ensure that our laws are strong enough to protect these rights.
Spurring Innovation – The America Invents Act
At a time of record unemployment, and with three-quarters of our economic growth tied to American innovation and intellectual property, the need to overhaul our outdated patent system had never been greater. The world around us had modernized their patent systems to reflect the competitive nature of the global economy, while we in the U.S. were using a patent system that had not been updated in 60 years. That’s why I proudly voted in favor of the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249), a law that modernizes our outdated patent system and enables American business to stay here, develop here, and create more products here.
This important law also included an amendment I authored that makes the complicated process of getting a patent a little easier for independent inventors. Now the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will work with intellectual property law associations across the country to establish pro bono programs to help independent inventors file patent applications under the modernized system. These innovators play a special role in our economy and it is imperative that we in Congress do everything possible to support their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.