5. Abolish software patents. Legal battles over patents dominate the tech industry headlines. It’s not only Apple-versus-Samsung — smaller technology companies are frequently being trampled by patent trolls. As I’ve explained before, because of flaws in the patent system and government leaders’ misunderstandings, there is an arms race of sorts happening in the tech industry, which is sapping billions out of the economy and crushing technology startups. The larger technology companies have invested fortunes in their patent portfolios. But senior executives have said to me privately that they would rather disarm than waste the time and money they presently do on patent wars.
6.Fund basic research and improve research commercialization. Some of the greatest innovations of our time, such as the Internet have their roots in academic research. We need to not only invest in this research, but to strengthen the pipeline for commercializing it.
Vivek Wadhwa is Vice President of Innovation and Research at Singularity University and Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University. His other academic appointments include Harvard, Duke and Emory Universities as well as the University of California Berkeley.
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7.Rewards for investments in innovative startups. The current capital gains system rewards relatively short-term investments. In fields such as biotech, it sometimes takes a decade for investments to bear fruit. Calcanis, a noted Web entrepreneur, wants capital gains rates to drop to zero after a certain number of years. Malik, meanwhile, suggests an “innovation incentive,” so that for every new product invented by a company that creates, let’s say, 100 jobs, the company gets a tax break.
All told, the Valley’s academics and entrepreneurs want what the rest of the nation wants: thoughtful economic policy. Stanford Law’s Grundfest asks for “a sensible balance between revenue enhancement and entitlement reduction that puts the nation on responsible glide path to a manageable level of federal and state debt.” Roizen, a venture capitalist, says “it really is all about the economy. Our entrepreneurial engine can only fuel recovery if it is built on a firm base of rational fiscal policy.”
Congratulations, Mr. President, and good luck.
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