Michael Rosen: A Tech Manifesto for the 2016 GOP Field
In a typically excellent commentary, AEI’s Michael Rosen suggests how Republicans can begin to correct their costly lag in attracting “votes and dollars from the high-tech industry,” and to “forge a technology policy rooted in free-market policy and updated to reflect and respond to 21st-century concerns.”
Mr. Rosen provides illustrations of the nature and depth of the problem, but also identifies recent progress made by various Republicans. Helpfully, he proceeds to identify three key components of a much-needed “technology manifesto”: (1) Address the needs and wants of the tech community without pandering to it; (2) Adhere to free-market values, but apply them intelligently to new technological challenges; and (3) Avoid soundbites – articulate sound explanations. He then cites AirBNB, Uber and other tech upstarts to apply his points.
Finally, Mr. Rosen smartly addresses the ongoing patent reform and patent “troll” debate that’s likely to reappear in the new Congress. Among other points, he highlights how litigation reform to curb trial lawyer abuses, as opposed to altering patents or intellectual property rights more generally, offers the primary corrective to the underlying problem:
Republican candidates must promote real innovation and reduce deadweight loss without succumbing to the temptation to demonize patent holders. The patent ‘troll’ reform debate contains multitudes, but the specific issue of attorney fees nicely encapsulates the tensions and the opportunities for GOP candidates… GOP candidates hoping to garner support in the tech community should resist their inclination to uproot centuries of American legal and intellectual property tradition simply to settle old scores, both in general and in the particular area of attorney fees. Rather than undo our longstanding ‘day in court’ practice by presumptively awarding fees to winning parties, as many Congressional Republicans seek to do, discerning free marketeers should push to modestly trim, not flip, the burden. This approach may not fully satisfy the rabidly anti-trial-lawyer conservative donor base, or, for that matter, large Silicon Valley companies pushing for significant changes to the patent system. But it will certainly find favor with small and large companies whose bottom lines – if not whose very existences – depend heavily on their IP assets. Such a nuanced position promotes innovation and comports with historical notions of American justice – two key themes Republicans looking to score points in the Valley must hammer home consistently.”
Excellent points with which CFIF has consistently agreed, apart from my need to assure him that at least this “anti-trial-lawyer conservative” tested negative for rabies.