Editor’s note: Abraham Lincoln was the only U.S. president to receive a patent – and was assassinated 150 years ago today, the same date as today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), a bill that proposes changing the rules and regulations surrounding patent infringement lawsuits. What follows is the public testimony of Jon B. Fisher, one of Silicon Valley’s well-known serial entrepreneurs, holder of many patents, and long-time contributor to SandHill.com.
Jon submitted the following testimony April 14, 2015 in writing to the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Innovation Act.
My name is Jon Fisher. I am co-founding CEO of four software companies. My companies have yielded 45 patents and two strategic acquisitions, including one by Oracle Corporation.
I’m here to express my strong concerns that the Innovation Act will weaken the existing patent system. I believe the Act, as written, hurts entrepreneurs and small businesses.
- Patents, or the threat thereof, are the only defensible advantage 99 percent of software entrepreneurs have against whole company theft.
- There is no difference between combining lines of code in a different way and combining parts of a physical machine in a different way. Software is an order of magnitude more complex than machinery. This is one reason the largest software maker worldwide is an order of magnitude larger than the largest machinery manufacturer.
- Owning a home, like receiving a patent, should be difficult. Make home ownership available to everyone and you get the worldwide financial crisis. Weaken patents and there will be no incentive or protection to innovate and collaborate except by first building a very large company that can inherently defend itself.
Jon Fisher is CEO and co-founder of CrowdOptic, a founding Google Glass partner and is managing director of Teahupoo LLC: Prior to CrowdOptic, Jon served as CEO of Bharosa (Oracle NASDAQ: ORCL), NetClerk (BidClerk) and AutoReach (AutoNation NYSE: AN). Jon is a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year Award (Emerging Category, 2007) and is a prolific inventor, named on 45 patents globally. Contact Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about Jon is available at Wikipedia.