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Peters, Risch Bill Helping Small Businesses Access Patent Protection to Be Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and James Risch (R-ID) aimed at helping small businesses safeguard their intellectual property with expanded education on obtaining and protecting patents. The Small Business Innovation Protection Act will build upon existing outreach programs run by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to better inform small businesses on domestic and international patents. The bill now goes to the President to be signed into law.

“Small businesses across Michigan are rising to the challenges of a modern economy with innovative new products and services, but small business owners can’t hire a team of patent lawyers to help them protect their intellectual property in the international marketplace,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will help entrepreneurs secure domestic and international patents so they can focus on growing their businesses and creating jobs right here at home.”

“It can be difficult to navigate the process of obtaining a patent for original inventions, but these innovations are exactly what catapults many small businesses to success,” said Senator Risch, Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. “Educating entrepreneurs on protecting their ideas is essential for building a strong business. I’m glad this has passed both Chambers of Congress and I look forward to seeing it signed into law.”

“Small businesses drive American innovation and job creation, and intellectual property is often the ‘secret sauce’ that gives them an edge when they’re fledgling companies,” said Frank Cullen, Vice President of U.S. Policy, U.S. Chamber Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). “This legislation will help small business owners better understand the important role IP plays in their company’s success, and in turn, help them better leverage and protect those key assets. We commend Sen. Gary Peters and Sen. Risch, as well as all those who supported this measure, for helping make our nation’s small businesses more competitive by increasing IP educational programs and resources at the Small Business Administration and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”

U.S. intellectual property is estimated to be worth over $5 trillion, and sixty percent of all U.S. exports are driven through intellectual property-intensive industries. Patent protection helps innovators recoup the cost of research and development, profit off their inventions, hire new employees, and bolster their local economy.

Small businesses that do not register in foreign markets, such as China, receive no intellectual property protections. The Small Business Innovation Protection Act will help educate small businesses on the need and resources available to best secure an international patent.

The Small Business Innovation Protection Act directs the SBA and USPTO to maximize current intellectual property education and training programs in order to reach more small businesses. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Require the SBA and USPTO to develop partnerships in order to develop high quality training relating to domestic and international patent protection by leveraging existing training materials developed for small business and inventor education, which may be conducted in person or online; and
  • Require the SBA and USPTO to enter partnerships in order to increase the effectiveness of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) by providing training that addresses small business concerns related to domestic and international intellectual property protections which may be conducted in person or online.