Tech Law Journal

Capitol Dome
News, records, and analysis of legislation, litigation, and regulation affecting the computer, internet, communications and information technology sectors

TLJ Links: Home | Calendar | Subscribe | Back Issues | Reference
Other: Thomas | USC | CFR | FR | FCC | USPTO | CO | NTIA | EDGAR

PTO Chief Says Intellectual Property is Part of the American Dream

(October 23, 2000) USPTO Director Todd Dickinson gave an address to the AIPLA in which he stated that the intellectual property system has become a representation of the American Dream.

See, Extended Excerpts from Dickinson's Address, and Answers to Questions, 10/20/00.

Q. Todd Dickinson, the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, gave a speech at the annual meeting of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, in Arlington Virginia, on Friday, October 20.

Many Internet businesses and users have assaulted copyrights in music recordings and movies, leading to a flurry of lawsuits for infringement that are now pending in the courts. Cyberlaw professors have attacked intellectual property as contrary to free speech and competition.

See for example, HR 5275 IH (regarding music recordings) and HR 5364 IH (regarding business method patents).

Congressman have introduced bills to limit rights in music, and reduce the availability of business method patents.

Some journalists and their publications have joined in the criticism. "The war is on," wrote John Perry Barlow in the cover story of the October issue of Wired magazine; "there will be no property in cyberspace. Behold DotCommunism."

Todd Dickinson will have none of it. He told his audience that intellectual property makes America great. After shooting through a ten syllable a second speech on changes at the USPTO, and recent legal and legislative developments, he concluded with a comment on the role of intellectual property in the American system.


He paused, slowed his speech, and said that intellectual property is about "the right as a citizen to be able to succeed."

He continued: "I know that this is never a guarantee, in any country. But, I would like to think, in the United States, that we have special respect for the pioneer spirit, for the innovator, for the worker who takes that innovation, and makes something of it."

"We are a democracy. We rejoice in the level playing field. We celebrate in gifts of equality. And as we work to protect, and encourage, and grow the intellectual property community, the USPTO is attempting to honor these ideals, and pay homage to a promise that has come to symbolize the United States, and that is the American Dream."

"Now, this concept, I don't think is tired refrain -- it is a reality, for our citizens, or even those who hope to become citizens. And it is my belief, that in this new era, the intellectual property system has become one of the key vehicles for their hopes, a representation of the American Dream, whatever it might mean to an individual."

Dickinson's audience included many intellectual property lawyers and owners. The applause was long and enthusiastic.

He also addressed business method patents, first to file versus first to invent, global harmonization, international enforcement, domestic enforcement, the reexamination process, prospects for new legislation, and other patent topics. He also advocated protection for databases.


Subscriptions | FAQ | Notices & Disclaimers | Privacy Policy
Copyright 1998-2008 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All rights reserved.
Phone: 202-364-8882. P.O. Box 4851, Washington DC, 20008.