It’s one of the slickest bait-and-switch maneuvers in recent congressional history. A bill advertised as a targeted approach to reining in patent trolls who extort small businesses has been twisted into a measure to immunize big tech companies against the patent rights of the startups and small businesses who create nearly all breakthrough innovation and job growth in the U.S.
The last time a legislative miscarriage of this scale occurred, it was the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which was supposed to prevent financial misconduct by big businesses like Enron. Instead, the law burdened small public companies with multi-million-dollar accounting costs and killed the IPO market for nearly a decade, while still allowing the biggest banks in the world — all of them Sarbanes-Oxley compliant — to plunge the world into the economy-shattering financial meltdown of 2008.
Is America about to shoot itself in the foot again — only this time with patent rather than accounting reform bullets?