WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald J. Trump has signed into law legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, and Gary Peters (D-MI) 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 intellectual property protections.
“Idaho has become a hot-spot for tech start-ups, filled with new ideas to grow their small businesses,” said Chairman Risch. “Now these innovative entrepreneurs will have easier access to information on protecting their intellectual property as they navigate the market and manage their businesses, earning back the money they spent on their inventions and creating more jobs. This was truly a bipartisan, bicameral effort and I’m glad the President has made it law.”
“Michigan’s small businesses are creating some of the most innovative goods and services in the world, but many have difficulty navigating the domestic and international patent system with limited resources and expertise,” said Senator Peters. “Under this new law, entrepreneurs who can’t afford a team of patent lawyers will have more assistance in protecting their intellectual property so they can continue to grow their businesses here at home.”
“Small businesses drive American innovation and job creation, and intellectual property is often the ‘secret sauce’ that give 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 intellectual property 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.