How Obama Radically Transformed America’s Patent System

Patent law is not something most Americans are passionate about or have ever contemplated — which is exactly why the Obama White House and Congress got away with making radical changes to our time-tested traditions of protecting the fruits of entrepreneurial inventors’ labor.

It’s yet another progressive horror story of abandoning what works in the name of what’s politically trendy. For left-wing saboteurs and their Big Business GOP enablers, this means throwing our unique patent system and its constitutional underpinnings under an 18-wheeler. So-called “patent reform” proposals continue to plague Capitol Hill. But like health care “reform” and education “reform,” these government cures are worse than any purported disease.

As part of his ongoing bid to “fundamentally transform” America, President Obama signed the Orwellian-titled America Invents Act (AIA) in 2011. If truth-in-advertising laws applied to politicians who front massively complex bills that do the opposite of what they proclaim to do, these hucksters would be jailed for their patently fraudulent “reform” legislation. Co-sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the law was marketed as a job-creation vehicle that would relieve a backlog of an estimated 700,000 patent applications and crack down on patent “trolls” supposedly abusing the system through frivolous litigation against alleged infringers.

In truth, the AIA and its legislative successors are special interest boondoggles that enrich corporate lawyers, Big Business, and federal bureaucrats at the expense of the independent inventors and fledgling innovators the American patent system was created to protect and encourage.

The AIA’s primary agenda? “Harmonizing” our patent laws with the rest of the world to reward paper-pushers who are “first to file” at the patent office, instead of those who are “first to invent.” These and other measures enacted by Obama threaten to drive garage tinkerers and small inventors — the designers, engineers, and builders of American prosperity — out of the marketplace. Longtime venture capitalist Gary Lauder noted that the first-to-file system has suppressed solo and small-business innovation in Europe and Japan. “The U.S. gets 10 times the angel and venture capital of Western Europe — which recently declared an ‘innovation emergency,’” Lauder observed. “So why are we harmonizing with them? They should be harmonizing with us.”

Amen! Our founders knew that progress would come not merely at the hands of “great” inventors pioneering extraordinary breakthroughs, but also by the widespread invention and improvement of ordinary and “small” contrivances and advancements. In 1790, they created and refined a decentralized, market-based patent system that added the “fuel of interest” to the “fire of genius,” in the words of America’s only president to hold a patent, Abraham Lincoln.

Rather than denigrate the profit motive, the patent and copyright clause of the Constitution celebrates and encourages “individual effort by personal gain (as) the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors.”

But the European-style “first to file” now in place in America is a “forced to file” regime that incentivizes a hasty stampede to the federal patent office. In the name of global harmony, we now reward paper-pushing attorneys — whether or not they’re representing true first inventors. Instead of “streamlining” the application process and reducing paperwork backlogs, the AIA induces corporations to inundate patent examiners with incomplete placeholder applications that will inevitably need to be amended, refined, and reconsidered. This is not patent “reform.” It’s a Big Business Patent Lawyers’ Full Employment Act.

Like Obamacare, the sheer size and complexity of the AIA nullify the dubious benefits the White House and its statist lobbying pals claim it will bring. University of Virginia law professor John Duffy points out that the law is 140 pages long, “more than twice the length of the entire federal patent statute” since its last recodification in 1952. Stuffed with earmarks and bribes for the banking industry, Michigan Democrats who lobbied for a new satellite patent office in Detroit, and other well-connected cronies, the AIA’s 37 sections are intentionally complex. Its sloppy drafting will result in “cases interpreting the law going to the courts for 20 years before lawyers really know how to advise clients,” patent lawyer David Boundy predicted.

This week, yet another similar patent “reform” package that supposedly takes aim at a tiny minority of patent “trolls” (again) is being rammed through Congress. But in practice, the “Innovation Act” legislation (H.R. 9) “makes it harder for garage inventors and small businesses to protect themselves from having their inventions and ideas stolen,” inventor Louis Foreman warns, by further obstructing their ability to enforce their intellectual property rights and bring legitimate patent infringement cases to court.

Global competitors certainly pose serious external threats to America’s role as an innovation leader. But we face grave existential threats within our own borders: homegrown ignorance, apathy, and downright hostility toward the independent entrepreneurs who make America great. Real “reform” begins with the repeal of the innovation-stifling “America Invents Act” and a return to first constitutional principles that maintain a level playing field among makers and builders of all shapes and sizes.

COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Maglite’s Tony Maglica: Torchbearer Of The American Dream

In our home, we try to instill a life lesson for our kids best summed up in Latin: Nihil boni sine labore. It means, “Nothing good achieved without hard work.” Few people I’ve met in my lifetime embody this motto better and more brilliantly than Tony Maglica, inventor of the iconic Maglite flashlight.

The spry 84-year-old founder and CEO of Mag Instrument still traverses his 450,000-square-foot factory floor dozens of times over the course of his 12-hour workday, six days a week, beginning at the crack of dawn and ending after most of his 800 employees have clocked out. I visited his Ontario, Calif., headquarters while doing research for my new book, Who Built That: Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs.

Born on the tiny island of Zlarin off the coast of Croatia, Maglica came here determined to make something of himself. His first job was sewing piecework in a sweatshop at 50 cents an hour. He worked hard to assimilate, teaching himself English from a dictionary. With his wife and young child in tow, the ambitious 20-year-old tinkerer packed up a rusted, bald-tired 1947 Studebaker and headed West.

In Denver, he found employment as a machinist, but aroused the ire of union shop leaders who complained when he completed more pieces than his colleagues or skipped his mandated breaks. “Why were they so angry that I wanted to work? I came here to work!” Tony exclaimed to me. He packed up and headed with his family to California, where the promise of $3-an-hour jobs beckoned. In 1955, he rented a tiny garage in working-class South El Monte, whose motto is “City of Achievement,” to do contract machinery work.

“This is where it all started,” Tony showed me, pointing to an old black-and-white photo of a shed with bars on its narrow window slits. He scraped together $125 as a down payment on the $1,000 machinery. The superior quality of Tony’s precision tool work on U.S. missiles and satellites won him several loyal aerospace and defense clients. Tony worked harder, faster, and longer than other contractors to get a job done. He slept in the garage on his workbench to meet deadlines.

Tony innovated and patented improvements on precision tool devices and incorporated Mag Instrument in 1974. While fulfilling orders for a long-defunct flashlight parts manufacturer, a proverbial bulb flashed in Tony’s head. Before he came along, flashlights were ugly, flimsy objects. They were called “flash lights” because the carbon filament bulbs were inefficient and could not produce a steady stream of light. Dissatisfied with the state of flashlight design, Tony innovated a strong, sleek torch of anodized aluminum, which resists corrosion inside and out. He crafted self-cleaning contacts, “a pushbutton switch instead of a slide switch, and an adjustable beam, so you could go from flood to spotlight.” The torch’s three seams are sealed with O-rings for water resistance.

U.S. Patent 4,286,311, filed by Tony in 1978 and approved by the Patent Office in August 1981, ushered in a new age of heavy, rugged flashlights with powerful beams used by police officers, firefighters, and other first responders who tell jaw-dropping stories of how their Maglites saved lives. Consumers embraced his products as household necessities, too. Admirers dubbed his torch “engineered light” and a “work of art that works.” An unapologetic guardian of his intellectual property rights, Maglite has spent more than $100 million battling infringers. The company has never lost a lawsuit.

From Day One, Tony vowed to manufacture products that were 100-percent American. Tony doesn’t just build flashlights in America. He builds many of the machines that build those flashlights. “Politicians always talk about supporting American manufacturing. I have done it,” Tony told me.

“Government doesn’t innovate. People like me do. Government doesn’t create jobs. We do.”

When Mag Instrument needed a certain battery clip, it refused to import the part from China. Tony designed his own clip and spent $1 million tooling up his plant to manufacture the parts in-house and in-country. Maglite defiantly refuses to outsource workers because “it would offend against his faith in the American free-enterprise system, and against the spirit of giving back. Mr. Maglica knows that Mag Instrument got where it is by being an American company.”

The owner of 200 other patents, Tony the tireless tinkerpreneur showed me an empty lab room where he had been developing new, revolutionary incandescent bulb parts. The machinery is dormant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency forbade him from producing the bulbs in the wake of the government’s incandescent bulb ban. He had planned to hire more workers to make the new products. Those plans are off. “That was such a shame,” Tony told me. “Such a waste.” But he remains undaunted and undeterred in pursuit of the American Dream.

Unlike the golfer in chief at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who mocks wealthy capitalists as “society’s lottery winners,” Tony hasn’t taken a vacation in more than a decade and doesn’t plan to anytime soon: “As long as I’m alive, I will never give up.”

For the self-made makers and builders of America, it’s a lifelong creed: Nihil boni sine labore.

COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Obamacare Exchanges On Life Support

At a recent White House science fair celebrating inventors, a Girl Scout who helped design a Lego-powered page-turning device asked President Obama what he had ever thought up or prototyped. Stumbling for an answer, he replied:

I came up with things like, you know, health care.

Ah, yes. “Health care.” Remember when the president’s signature Obamacare health insurance exchanges were going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, the remote control, jogger strollers, Siri, the Keurig coffee maker, driverless cars, and Legos all rolled into one?

The miraculous, efficient, cost-saving, innovative 21st-century government-run “marketplaces” were supposed to put the “affordable” in Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Know-it-all bureaucrats were going to show private companies how to set up better websites (gigglesnort), implement better marketing and outreach (guffaw), provide superior customer service (belly laugh), and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse (LOLOLOL).

You will be shocked beyond belief, I’m sure, to learn that Obamacare exchanges across the country are instead bleeding money, seeking more taxpayer bailouts, and turning everything they touch to chicken poop.

Wait, that’s not fair to chicken poop, which can at least be composted.

“Almost half of Obamacare exchanges face financial struggles in the future,” The Washington Post reported last week. The news comes despite $5 billion in federal taxpayer subsidies for IT vendors, call centers, and all the infrastructure and manpower needed to prop up the showcase government health insurance entities. Initially, the feds ran 34 state exchanges; 16 states and the District of Columbia set up their own.

While private health insurance exchanges have operated smoothly and satisfied customers for decades, the Obamacare models are on life support. Oregon’s exchange is six feet under — shuttered last year after government overseers squandered $300 million on their failed website and shady consultants who allegedly set up a phony website to trick the feds. The FBI and the U.S. HHS inspector general’s office reportedly have been investigating the racket for more than a year now.

In the People’s Republic of Hawaii, which has been a “trailblazer” of socialized medicine for nearly four decades, the profligate state-run exchange demanded a nearly $30 million cash infusion to remain financially viable after securing $205 million for startup costs. The Hawaii Health Connector accidentally disconnected hundreds of poor patients’ accounts and squandered an estimated 8,000 hours on technological glitches and failures. Enrollment projections were severely overinflated like a reverse Tom Brady scandal. After failing to secure a bailout, Hawaii announced this week that its exchange would be shut down amid rising debt.

In Maryland, a state audit found that its health insurance exchange “improperly billed the federal government $28.4 million as former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration struggled to launch what would become one of the most troubled websites in the nation,” The Baltimore Sun reported in late March. That’s in addition to the $90 million the state blew on technical problems. The state scrapped its junk website and forced enrollees to resubmit to the tortuous sign-up process all over again.

Last week, federal prosecutors subpoenaed the Massachusetts Obamacare exchange after whistleblowers there exposed what a “technological disaster” its “Health Connector” program was. Boston’s Pioneer Institute’s senior fellow in health care, Josh Archambault, released a report on Monday detailing the “complete incompetence” of the state’s health bureaucrats from Day One. But taxpayers would be lucky if incompetence were the only sin.

After firing the tech boneheads of CGI, the same company behind the federal healthcare.gov meltdown, Massachusetts officials “appear to have lied to the federal government to cover up mistakes” made by both the state and the IT company. “In at least two instances we uncovered,” Archambault revealed, what the state told the feds “was either in direct conflict with internal audits or highly improbable given what was being said in the audit and what whistleblowers said was happening at the time.”

As health care analyst Phil Kerpen of the free market group American Commitment points out, Massachusetts “already had a functioning state health exchange,” but “after receiving $179 million from federal taxpayers” to reconstitute it under Obamacare, “they were able to break that existing exchange beyond repair.” An amazing feat.

Lesson for inventive Scouts and students wondering about what people in Washington, D.C., prototype: Government bureaucrats don’t make things, kids. They break things.

COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

The Return Of Obama’s Hoax-Spreading Bitter Half

She’s baaaaaaaack. And she’s maaaaaad.

First lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement address at Tuskegee University last weekend. She’ll do it again at Ohio’s Oberlin College — the UC Berkeley of the Midwest, Ground Zero for racial grievance-mongering and fake hate crimes — next week.

Commencement FLOTUS is not the same first lady who shows up on “Ellen” or “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” wearing her pastel cardigan, Chuck Taylors, and a megawatt grin. No, this frowny-faced Michelle Obama talks and squawks like Al Sharpton in Jimmy Choo kitten heels. At Tuskegee, FLOTUS traded her affable TV persona for the divisive social justice complainer we all came to know and loathe during her husband’s first presidential campaign.

Obama’s resurrected bitter half inspired the graduates by complaining about people complaining about her. She complained about the “sting” of “daily slights” throughout her life and her poor, beleaguered husband’s. And then she complained. And complained. And complained some more.

She clucked at the “folks” (read: white folks) who allegedly “crossed the street in fear of their safety” at the sight of the Obamas.

She called out unnamed “clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores.”

She decried the racist “people at formal events who assumed we were the ‘help.’” (Funny, the only time I recall this happening in the Obama White House was when Valerie Jarrett mistook four-star Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who is white, for her waiter. But I digress.)

Reaching into her deep well of indignation, Mrs. Obama then assailed “those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country.”

Let me take out my teeny-weeny bow and play the world’s smallest violin at the thought of Mrs. Obama being subjected to the “sting” of impolite questions about her honesty. Using my best slow vibrato: Waw-waw-waw-wawwww.

It’s hard to take Mrs. Obama seriously, because she has been caught so brazenly lying about the racial discrimination she supposedly still faces today even as first lady of the United States. When she told the Tuskegee students about being watched “in all those department stores,” she neglected to mention that just five months ago, one of her most famous anecdotes of retail racism went up in smoke.

What? You forgot already? Using almost the exact same language in a People magazine interview that she used in her Tuskegee commencement speech, the first lady deplored the “sting” of “racist experiences” that she and her husband allegedly still suffer.

Get her some Calamine lotion STAT!

“Even as the first lady,” she bemoaned, “not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me” at a Target store “was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf.” Remember: ABC News reported that Mrs. Obama claimed such “incidents are ‘the regular course of life’ for African Americans and a ‘challenge’ for the country to overcome.”

The anecdote turned out to be a tall tale — with the emphasis on “tall.” The reason the 5-foot-11 first lady was asked to get detergent off the Target shelf was that her vertically challenged fellow shopper couldn’t reach it. How do we know this? Because Mrs. Obama said so herself in a radically different version of the Target story she told David Letterman three years ago.

“I reached up, ’cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down,” the first lady described with that megawatt grin, and the shopper said, “Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy.” Far from psychologically debilitated by any racial “sting,” Mrs. Obama told Letterman, “I felt so good” helping out the short woman.

I don’t care what color you are: This arrogant exercise of first lady privilege — invoking false stories to stoke racial hostility and score political points — is patently offensive. There’s enough demagoguery in the public square. The Aspen ski-vacationing, haute couture-wearing, Hollywood elite-chumming first lady’s delusional discrimination fables are fuel on a raging fire her husband has failed to alleviate with billions of dollars of government “investments,” programs, summits, and photo-ops.

It is especially irresponsible of Mrs. Obama to be spreading her cultural gasoline on college campuses, where the excesses of identity politics and multiculturalism continue to poison young minds.

Don’t like suffering the “daily slights” of questions about your honesty? Stop lying.

COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

SFC Christopher Speer Is Dead; Omar Khadr Is Free

A Canadian judge ruled this week that Omar Khadr poses no public safety threat. Tell that to the children of Sergeant First Class Christopher J. Speer and the surviving American soldiers who valiantly fought Khadr on the battlefield.

In 2012, Khadr pleaded guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, and guilty to five charges related to the killing of Speer, a 28-year-old medic with the U.S. Special Forces. This young American hero died in Afghanistan in 2002 during an ambush by al-Qaida operatives. Just days before he gave his life, Speer had fearlessly walked onto a minefield to rescue two wounded Afghan children. It was Khadr, born and bred an Islamic jihadist by his terrorist father, who lobbed the fatal grenade in the war zone. Another American soldier, SFC Layne Morris, survived the attack, but was blinded in one eye for life.

In a sealed plea deal at Guantanamo Bay, Khadr admitted to throwing the grenade. He admitted to attempted murder, conspiracy, spying, and providing material support to terrorism. He signed a 50-paragraph stipulation that classified him as an “enemy belligerent because he has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States and its coalition partners” and documented his family’s intimate association and friendship with al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Muhammad Atef.

Don’t believe the international human rights bleeding hearts. The Khadr family is rightfully known as Canada’s First Family of Terror. This so-called “child soldier” and “good kid” was a full-blown Muslim soldier of jihad; he trained one-on-one in weaponry, explosives, and Jew hatred. A then-teenage Khadr bragged to a U.S. official “that the proudest moment of his life was constructing and planting IEDs” to “kill U.S. forces.”

Gloating over the Alberta judge’s decision to let Khadr loose, his radical leftwing lawyer railed against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a “bigot.” His fan club thinks he deserves a medal. No, really. A Toronto Sun columnist argued last week that the jihadist “deserves some kind of recognition” along the lines of the country’s “Order of Canada” for “the dignity and stoicism with which he’s borne the mingy behaviour of Canada’s governments.”

Disgusting. This deification of an al-Qaida-trained murderer is a slap in the face to every American soldier and every military family that has sacrificed to combat Islamic jihad.

But don’t look for our government to raise its voice in protest. It is because of jihad-coddler Barack Obama, working quietly to empty Gitmo, that Khadr found his way back to Canada in the first place. The White House surreptitiously released the killer and flew him home as American citizens were distracted by the 2012 midterm elections. Now, despite opposition from Canada’s conservative government, Khadr’s out on bail while appealing his U.S. war-crimes convictions.

The “progressive” Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City has been at the forefront of pressing for Khadr’s release. CCR also crusaded successfully for the release of Gitmo jihadist Abu Sufian bin Qumu — now the lead suspect in the bloody attack on our consulate in Benghazi — whom the Obama administration has yet to bring to justice.

Retired Sgt. Morris, the blinded survivor of Khadr’s grenade attack, sees more clearly than feckless apologists for Gitmo killers and recidivists. The cheerleaders for Muslim vigilantes “ignore the facts of Omar Khadr’s life, his history and the terrible choices Omar Khadr made to get him to the spot he is in now,” Morris told The National Post last week. “The Obama administration, in its zeal to shut down Guantanamo, is willing to make any sacrifice to empty that prison. Omar Khadr is simply the fortunate beneficiary of that tactic.”

After 13 years in custody, Khadr will be breathing fresh air, walking the streets, and maintaining his unrepentant pose of victimhood.

After 13 years, the real victims and the real children in this case — the daughter and son of the real hero, SFC Speer, Taryn and Tanner — will still be without a father.

Thanks, Obama.

COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth