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Minnesotans are innovators. We brought the world Post-it notes, water skis, the pop-up toaster and Spam products, among many other inventions. We consistently rank among the top states in the number of patents issued per capita.

Today, we have an opportunity to protect that legacy for the next generation of Minnesota's inventors by modernizing and reforming our patent laws through two bills currently pending in Congress: the patent eligibility restoration act (PERA) and the promoting and respecting economically vital American innovation leadership act (PREVAIL).

Innovation protected by patent rights is one of the keys to American economic growth, job creation and global competitiveness. Studies from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show that more than $4 trillion of our gross domestic product and more than 28 million jobs arise from utility patent-intensive industries across the country.

Innovation is a challenging endeavor. It requires time and resources, success is uncertain and competition is fierce. However, many of our current patent laws were written long before the advent of cellphones, cutting-edge medical devices, the internet and other technologies for which patent protection can make all the difference between success and failure in turning inventions into products that transform modern life. Patent enforcement also has become more costly, protracted and uncertain for patent holders seeking protection against those seeking to infringe on their hard-earned patent rights. Together, these problems have destabilized the patent system and undermined confidence in the patent rights that inventors need in order to have a chance to obtain a fair return on what is often years of time, effort and money required to create and bring their inventions to the marketplace and our lives.

PERA would protect technologies that face uncertain patent eligibility status today, such as artificial intelligence enabled computing and medical diagnostics technologies, which hold the promise of powering economic growth and improving millions of lives. The PREVAIL Act would require those challenging patents to have proper legal standing, prevent the piling-on of duplicative patent challenges and bar repeated challenges to the same patent.

From the state that gave the world the wearable pacemaker, the Honeycrisp apple and Scotch tape, our Minnesota congressional delegation has the opportunity to strengthen the U.S. patent system and support the most innovative economy the world — and Minnesota — has ever seen. Let's continue Minnesota's long and proud legacy of innovation by supporting PERA and PREVAIL.

Kevin Rhodes is chief legal affairs officer at 3M.