Last Monday I was in St. Louis for a lunch with several members of the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organization and USPTO Director Andrei Iancu and two of his staff. I was there at the invitation of PSE President Ed Martin, who has made championing Phyllis’s legacy as a defender of patents one of his cornerstone initiatives.
It was exciting for me to meet Director Iancu, because IP law has always been a particular area of interest to me. When I was a 1L and still had no idea what type of law I wanted to practice, I was told that only students with an engineering background could pursue IP law. Even though I didn’t make IP my focus, I did take a trademark and copyright class one semester. It was fascinating. IP law really provides the bedrock of the American dream.
Phyllis Schlafly was passionate about patents. She believed it was the strength of our patent protections that provided a key foundation of America’s incredible success. Certainly there are brilliant people in every nation, but in America we rewarded hard work and creativity by protecting an individual’s work and the fruits of his or her labor. Director Iancu is of the same mind, pointing out over lunch that although encouraging “innovation” is a popular aspiration for businesses today, innovation can only be achieved with a strong patent system.
Sadly, our system has been weakened, and American patents no longer protect the creativity and hard work of America’s innovators. We need to make our patent system strong again to fire American creativity and to compete against global rivals. Director Iancu is committed to that goal, as is the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organization–it was an encouraging lunch!
Phyllis produced (and narrated!) the below documentary in 1990. The Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution recognized it “to be of exceptional merit with national significance, and substantial educational and historical value.” Just the usual work product of Phyllis Schlafly. ;). It is worth a watch:
Photo of USPTO Director Andrei Iancu from the World Intellectual Property Organization via Flickr