In recent years, a pressing concern on the minds of most Americans has been when and how the American economy will recover. On September 16, 2011,significant progress was made when President Obama signed the America InventsAct into law and drastically changed the U.S. patent system. Although these changes have received almost no attention from the national media, one change in particular — the addition of a prior user right — marks an important step towards recovery.
Increasing the American manufacturing industry’s domestic presence is vital to an economic turnaround. A prior user right provides a solution to the no-win patent vs. trade secret decision that faces manufacturers each time they develop a non-detectable process; a dilemma that has forced many manufacturers to move their operations overseas. By negating a powerful motivation the industry has for leaving, a prior user right encourages it to remain at home.
Through its expansion of the American manufacturing industry, a prior user right promotes the progress of science and the useful arts in two important ways. First, it directly increases innovation simply by increasing manufacturing operations in America. Second, it indirectly increases innovation by creating more technical jobs, leading to more engineering students, resulting in increased innovation in other technical fields as well.