Brad Watts Brad Watts
Vice President, Patents and Innovation Policy, Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce


June 07, 2024


There’s no question that innovation is a matter of national security. From computers, 5G, and artificial intelligence to robotics and renewable energy solutions, innovative technologies have come to define how our world functions and our quality of life.

Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has been the epicenter of technical change. However, new plans from the Biden Administration could dismantle our global innovation leadership position.

Innovation Is America’s Lifeblood: The innovative spirit is rooted in America’s DNA. Our nation has given the world inventions like the light bulb, the airplane, and the internet. Our creators thrive in a society that values freedom, fairness, and the rule of law. American innovation has enabled incredible progress and opportunity for millions of people, making our daily experiences more convenient, secure, and enjoyable.

Public-Private Partnerships Fuel New Technologies: For more than 40 years, a federal law known as the Bayh-Dole Act has fueled government cooperation with the private sector. The Act encourages private sector companies and public sector researchers, like university laboratories, to collaborate in developing emerging technologies that are critical to America’s global leadership.

Killing the Golden Goose: Unfortunately, a new proposal from the Biden Administration would upend the Bayh-Dole Act and allow the federal government to “march in” and seize the private property of businesses. This overreach chills private sector innovation and investment as companies retreat from university partnerships amidst growing unpredictability. The result? A stark decline in the creation of pioneering American technologies, products, and services.

Manipulation by America’s Competitors: Worse still, the Biden Administration’s property confiscation proposal would threaten our national security by allowing anyone, including foreign nationals, foreign companies, and foreign governments, to file a march-in petition. In plain terms, this means that foreign governments aiming to undermine America’s leadership will now have a new tool at their disposal to attack our innovators. A policy allowing foreign competitors to exploit our legal system against us is a flawed and dangerous strategy.

It’s Not Too Late: There’s still a chance to reverse course and avoid any more harm. The Biden Administration can withdraw its plan and, in doing so, send a strong, clear signal to American entrepreneurs that they can continue to partner with the government and innovate for a better future. Failure to do so will not only impact our ability to develop the next generation of critical technologies but will also cause us to forfeit our position as the world’s innovation leader and undermine our national security.

About the authors

Brad Watts

Brad Watts

Brad Watts is the Vice President for Patents and Innovation Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). He works with U.S. Chamber members to foster a political, legal, and economic environment where innovators and creators can invest in the next big thing for the benefit of Americans and the world.

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