Intellectual Property

Protecting American innovation and intellectual property

America is the most innovative country on the planet, but patent infringers, trade secret theft and copyright violators sap our economic vitality. Protecting American innovation means protecting American jobs. Offline and online, protecting American intellectual property is an economic security imperative.

The theft of intellectual property affects tens of thousands of local jobs in Delaware, where leaders of businesses large and small have made it clear that foreign criminals pirating their products, designs and ideas are a serious threat to their ability to grow and create jobs.

Senator Coons’ Intellectual Property priorities include:

  • Provide a federal forum for victims of trade secret theft. Trade secret theft is a huge and growing threat to U.S. businesses. Increasingly, foreign governments and businesses are sponsoring trade secret theft for export abroad. And yet, a victim U.S. company cannot sue for trade secret theft under federal law. Senator Coons support providing for a federal right of action for trade secret theft, putting trade secrets on an even footing with other intellectual property rights, such as patents and copyrights. His bill, the Defend Trade Secrets Act was unanimously supported in the Judiciary Committee and enjoys widespread bipartisan support.

  • Modernizing U.S. patent law. For many years, U.S. innovators have suffered from an inefficient patent and trademark office, severe backlogs, and poor quality patents. Senator Coons introduced the bipartisan Support Technology and Research for Our Nation’s Growth (STRONG) Patents Act to ensure that our patent system protects this essential property right. The bill focuses on achieving five things:

    • Crack down on abusive demand letters by empowering the Federal Trade Commission to target firms that abuse startups rather than invent anything.

    • Ensure that pleading standards for patent-infringement cases match the standards used for all other forms of civil actions, creating a significant barrier to frivolous lawsuits before any funds are spent on discovery.

    • Eliminate fee diversion from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office so we can ensure that those who examine patents have adequate training and dependable funding.

    • Ensure balance in post-grant proceedings at the PTO, so that this expedited form of patent litigation is both fast and fair.

    • Analyze the impact that our patent system has on small businesses, both from the perspective of startups reliant on patents and those small businesses facing allegations of infringement.

  • Protecting U.S. consumers from counterfeit goods. U.S. consumers rely on trademarks to ensure that medicines are safe and effective and that branded goods are of the quality that consumers expect. Senator Coons helped provide increased authority for customs agents to share information about suspected infringing shipments and seize articles that are not genuine.

  • Promote global protection of IP rights. Fighting global IP piracy depends on reaching global agreement about how IP should be protected. That’s why Senator Coons supports strong IP protections as a part of any new free trade agreement, including the Trans Pacific Partnership currently under negotiation.