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posted: 12/7/2013 5:00 AM

Beware of reckless reform for U.S. patents

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Innovation is inspiring and contagious. My mother, Kathy Davis, was the inventor of the bug zapper in 1984 and successfully received a patent for the technology that now keeps us from going crazy from slapping the bugs away on warm summer nights on the deck. My mother has since passed away but I proudly display the patent plaque on my office wall to remind me of the importance of innovation.

Patents are the reason innovation exists -- inventors who envision a breakthrough technology have the incentive to create along with the assurance that their intellectual property will be protected, and ultimately that their hard work and sacrifice up front will be compensated if their vision proves to be successful.

It's hard to imagine a world where innovation is not protected. Pending patent legislation percolating in Congress threatens patents and the business culture they nurture. Specifically, Congress should oppose HR 3309, the Innovation Act, when it comes to a vote in December because the legislation would weaken our patent system and have unintended consequences on U.S. inventors, not to mention our economy. These additional changes to the patent system would result in a shift in the balance of patent ownership, favoring large and better financed companies over startups, investors and inventors who, since the beginning of time, have been responsible for some of the most historic and groundbreaking discoveries.

Reckless patent reform could undermine the stability and trajectory of innovation in this country, hurting small businesses and local economies while at the same time sacrificing our position in the global economy. I urge Congress to act prudently when they consider making changes to the system our forefathers created.

Michael LaPidus

Owner, Q BBQ Group

La Grange

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