IMAGE CREDIT: Pragyan Bezbaruah

Our Children’s Future to Innovate is At Risk — How to Keep America Open for New Inventions

By Arvin Patel, EVP and Chief Intellectual Property Officer, TiVo

Young people today are more interested than ever in technology, inventions, innovations and scientific discovery; innovators are the new rock stars and have captured the imagination of the young generation. We can see this trend in places like Design Tech High School in Silicon Valley, which is serving as an incubator for the creations of teenage inventors, software developers, and product designers. I’ve seen this passion for innovation in my own family, as well. A few years ago, my then-7-year-old son told me that instead of spending a day at Disneyland or Universal Studios he would rather visit the Tesla factory!

I am passionate about encouraging children to be curious and creative. Children have a natural ability to innovate. They help us to see the world with new eyes, and they earnestly suggest novel solutions to everyday problems. There are so many ways to encourage and invest in the innovative potential of our children, from teaching boys and girls how to code, to hosting hack-a-thons, offering programs in entrepreneurship, connecting talented students with internships and career mentors, and more. But if we want the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of today’s young people to endure, we also need to make big changes to America’s system of patent laws and intellectual property protections. If today’s inventors — of all ages — do not feel like their inventions will be protected by our patent laws and IP protection system, their innovations will be at risk, their creative spirit will be discouraged, and the entire U.S. economy will suffer for it.

IP protections are an essential foundation to America’s global leadership and our children’s future success in the 21st century digital economy. Without a reliable system of IP protections, innovators lose the incentive to invent and invest. When the IP system gets corrupted by copycats and deep-pocketed incumbents, small innovators lose heart. Intellectual property protections help keep America open for innovation and give hope to every small innovator with a great idea.

America needs to do more to make sure that we are creating an open and level playing field for innovation. In recent years big players and entrenched incumbents have doubled down on their efforts to squeeze out competition from small innovators and startups. We need to update our system of IP protections for the 21st century to make sure that our children’s generation of world-changing startup ideas get a chance to survive, grow, and prosper.

Here are a few common-sense strategies to help ensure a strong and fair system of IP protection that protect the rights of innovators while also encouraging innovation:

America became the most powerful and wealthy country in human history not by top-down controls and constraints imposed by incumbent powers, but by a spirit of openness to immigration, new ideas, entrepreneurship, and a fertile environment wherein powerful ideas and game-changing innovations can come from anywhere. But this openness also needs to be backed by reliable protections and rule of law. America needs to use this moment as an opportunity to reform and rebuild its systems of IP protection. Let’s move in the direction of openness. Let’s build a system that rewards innovators and inspires the next generation of entrepreneurs.

An inventor and leading voice on #entertainment and #innovation. COO, Invention Investment Funds @Intellectual Ventures

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