Intellectual property – especially patents – is at the heart of the American business today. Whether the company is in business of making mobile devices, automobiles or medicine, patent rights shore up the technology that drives American innovation. At least that is the opinion of the companies that have joined forces to form the Partnership for American Innovation (PAI).
One of those companies, DuPont Co., prides itself in its innovation, and believes that patent rights help it achieve its goals.“Feeding the world, meeting its energy needs, protecting the environment and protecting innovation,” are all made possible with those rights says Mike Walker, vice president and assistant general counsel, chief intellectual property counsel, DuPont.
According to Walker DuPont invested $2 billion in research and development each year and relies on strong patent rights to protect that investment. “The primary way to protect IP rights is through patents, a social contract to make technology available to the public in exchange for a limited monopoly.”
For a company that works in such vital fields as agriculture, bio-industrials and advanced materials, patents are important. Walker notes that DuPont sees the value of these patents as business assets, and the company has strategy workshops where members of the legal, R&D, business and marketing teams get together to optimize their strategies for the most important projects.
As a member (alongside Ford, Microsoft, Pfizer, Apple, GE and IBM) of the PAI, DuPont promotes the goal of “elevating the message about IP above the current debate about trolls,” Walker explains. “Patents are important to the economy, creating jobs. We need a voice to counter the emotional anti-IP sentiment that is out in the public.”
Walker echoed the sentiments of David Kappos, former director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and senior adviser to the PAI: “We are pro reform, but pro smart reform.” And, if Congress is able to pass smart reform, then patents will continue to be the foundation of American innovation for years to come.