Opinion

The Tea Party should stop this bank bailout

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Claudio Ballard
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      Claudio Ballard

      Claudio Ballard is the founder of Data Treasury and the United States Business and Industry Council's "2010 Inventor of the Year."

I am a small inventor who believes deeply in the American dream.

I am an immigrant to this country. My mother was an Italian actress and my father, an American, was a self-taught engineer.

My parents taught me two things: Never lose sight of our dreams and never stop working hard to make them become reality. Their inspiration helped me become a successful inventor and businessman.

America is a great country because it protects its inventors and innovators. Under our Constitution, the inventor and the inventor’s creations are specifically protected, because the Founding Fathers believed deeply that innovation must be protected for our country to advance.

The Tea Party movement rose up in the last election because the people believed that the Congress has gone seriously off-track, favoring big government and big corporations over the aspirations of the normal folks like me who just want a level playing field to succeed.

The Tea Party movement especially rose up because the malfeasance of Wall Street bankers who put their own interests above the interests of the country at large. The Tea Party movement especially hated the big bank bailout that rewarded banks for their illegal and immoral behavior.

Republicans won the last election because of the energy that came from the Tea Party and from those voters who have had enough of the Washington nonsense.

If that is the case, and I think it is, then why have the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee decided to give the banks another bailout that specifically attacks me?

Their patent reform bill contains a provision that is aimed at putting me out of business.

In 1994, I invented a system that enabled check image exchanges to save banks money and make banking more convenient for consumers. I built a prototype, formed a company (now called Data Treasury), applied for patents in 1997 and 1998, and then raised money from investors to help build my company. I offered to license my technology to several big banks around the turn of the century, only to see them steal my intellectual property and build their own check imaging systems using my invention. In 2005, one of the biggest banks, JP Morgan Chase, chose to settle with me, admitting the validity of my patents. But that didn’t stop others from doing the same game.

Eventually, I had to go to court several different times to get these banks to acknowledge their theft of my intellectual property and pay my company back. Most of them have done exactly that, but others have held out, hoping that they could flex their political muscles and buy legislation that would have the Congress step in and bail them out.

Several years ago, the big banks tried to get an amendment into a so-called patent reform bill that gave them immunity from having to pay their licensing fees to me. The author of the amendment, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), acknowledged that it probably wasn’t constitutional, and he decided to withdrawal it.

But the big bankers and their high-priced lobbyists didn’t give up. Indeed, last month, the House Judiciary Committee at the request of the Financial Services Roundtable included in their so-called patent reform bill some obscure language that to the naked eye means nothing. But to me it could mean the end of my business and a devastating loss to all my stockholders.

  • Pingback: Banksters versus Patent Monopolists

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Wille/574607649 Stephen Wille

    wouldn’t mind a list of rhinos supporting this bill.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Ford/100000522232770 Ben Ford

    The bill is improperly named. It should be titled the “America Kills Inventors Act”.

    Just because they call it “reform” doesn’t mean it is. Patent reform is a fraud on America. This bill will not do what they claim it will. What it will do is help large multinational corporations maintain their monopolies by robbing and killing their small entity and startup competitors (so it will do exactly what the large multinationals paid for) and with them the jobs they would have created. According to recent studies by the Kauffman Foundation and economists at the U.S. Census Bureau, “startups aren’t everything when it comes to job growth. They’re the only thing.” This bill is a wholesale slaughter of US jobs. Those wishing to help in the fight to defeat this bill should contact us as below.

    Small entities and inventors have been given far too little voice on this bill when one considers that they rely far more heavily on the patent system than do large firms who can control their markets by their size alone. The smaller the firm, the more they rely on patents -especially startups and individual inventors. Yet small entities create the lion’s share of new jobs.

    Please see http://truereform.piausa.org/ for a different/opposing view on patent reform.
    http://docs.piausa.org/

  • samac

    Good luck!

    I hope the Republicans would stop pretending that the big banks are free market institutions like other businesses.

    The bubble banks’ earnings come from gaming the political system, by socializing their losses and privatizing their profits.

    And apparently ripping off real entrepreneus’ IP where they think they can get away with it.