A Call for the 113th Congress to Support an Innovation Agenda


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greater American innovation or dampen development. Agencies should do more to regularly interact with the startup community and regional innovation organizations because their rich supply of talent can help educate federal agencies on the needs of startups. Congress should also require “Innovation Impact Statements” for all federal regulatory rulemakings.

Protect and extend America’s global edge in medical technology innovation by fully repealing the Medical Device Tax. Congress should fully repeal Obamacare’s misguided medical device tax, which taxes revenues—not profit—and is already hurting job creation and business expansion. The med-tech sector has been a consistent bright spot throughout the course of the weak economy. Med-tech innovation is critical to accomplishing the goals of healthcare reform—improving patient care while decreasing healthcare costs.

Foster improved STEM education, including workforce development partnerships. Congress should explore how best to unleash all 50 states to become laboratories of STEM improvement without excessive fear of running afoul of federal regulations.

Promote energy innovation to foster an environment to further propel clean tech advancements. Congress should advance innovative polices that create incentives for the clean energy sector, so startups and emerging companies are allowed to inject disruptive technologies into the marketplace in order to meet differing regional energy needs.

Strengthen intellectual property protections while fully funding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by providing full access to user fees. Congress and the Administration should continue their aggressive focus on strong U.S. intellectual property and trade secret protection; monitor the success and funding level of the USPTO. Past performance has shown that when USPTO has full access to its user fees, the patent application backlog decreases, and patent quality increases; and carefully monitor USPTO’s regulatory implementation of the America Invents Act paying particular attention to the new First to File regulations and the American Grace Period.

Various studies have indicated that tech startups are critical to driving job creation, economic growth, and U.S. competitiveness. These tech startups will migrate to wherever the business climate is best suited to foster their growth. The U.S. still holds many advantages over other countries for startup creation, but startup success is becoming increasingly difficult on a host of fronts. Plus, foreign competitors are passing laws to attract talent, R&D, and capital to their shores. Washington must quickly find solutions to these challenges so America will stay the home of startups and the land of opportunity.

The full innovation agenda is available online here.


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Duane J. Roth was Chief Executive Officer and board member of CONNECT, the San Diego nonprofit organization that fosters entrepreneurship by catalyzing, accelerating, and supporting technology and life sciences innovation. He founded Alliance Pharmaceutical, and was a longtime life sciences industry executive. Follow @

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One response to “A Call for the 113th Congress to Support an Innovation Agenda”

  1. Angela Cummings says:

    Thank you Duane–great piece! I agree and feel strongly about the need for Innovation Impact Statements and the overall reciprocal interaction between start-ups and government entities.