We mentioned last week that Biden wants to take away patents from drug companies that don’t lower their prices.
Now we are learning that the White House wants to expand this approach to other industries. The plan has two features: First, they want to impose strong-armed price controls on industries where they think prices have risen too much (because this policy worked so well in the 1970s to stem inflation), and second they want to take away patents for firms that don’t comply. We can’t imagine anything more dangerous to our innovation process in America.
Here are some of the examples in the Biden’s new proposed “interagency guidance” for when the federal government can seize a private company’s patent and license it to a competitor:
- “An advanced manufacturing startup that received Phase I and Phase II SBIR grants is working on improved 3–D printing technology for construction materials… A large, established construction company is looking to launch a 3–D printing initiative and it has asked the government funding agency to march-in and grant it a license to the startup’s patent portfolio.”
- “A contractor has developed a new retroreflective coating for traffic signs that improves the visibility of the signs… The contractor is a medium-sized company that is seeking to grow, based on this new patented technology, but they are unable to keep up with demand… Several manufacturers have approached the government funding agency seeking assistance in licensing the patented material to manufacture and incorporate the material” into the signs they sell to the state DOTs.”
- “A water filtration company has an exclusive license from a government-funded university to patents covering a subject invention for point-of-use water purification technology… Three other manufacturers and a dozen rural community groups have asked the government funding agency to march-in and issue licenses to increase supply and reduce cost of the specialized filters.”
The proposal applies to ANY technology in which government grants flowed – a nuclear attack on innovation throughout the economy, not just the pharmaceutical sector.
Perhaps companies will stop looking for government funding for their technologies and inventions. Government money is NEVER free.