Did you know that small businesses in the United States are the cornerstone of the American economy? That’s right, small business! A few factoids about the importance of small business according to the Small Business Administration:
- There are over twenty-six million small businesses in this country, and they generate about 50 percent of our gross domestic product.
- Small businesses create on average 70 million new jobs every year.
- Forty percent of all high-technology workers, e.g., scientists, engineers, computer workers, work for small businesses.
- Forty percent of all U.S. patents come from small businesses.
So with the importance of small businesses to our economy you would think that the government would be doing all that it can to promote the success of small business in America. Right?
Well, unfortunately that’s not the case. More and more the government is competing directly with small businesses to drive them out of business. The government does this by stealing the innovative technologies that small business entrepreneurs create. Then the government turns around and gives it to their own large government contractors to duplicate the technology “in-house” and sell it on their own to make huge profits. In government jargon this is called a work around scheme. Government contractors make billions of dollars each year by stealing intellectual property of small businesses and duplicating it for their own profit.
So what’s wrong with this picture? Lots of things.
First, the government agencies who do this sort of thing know exactly what they are doing. By bringing work “in-house”, government employees get the chance to justify their own existence straight off of the backs of the entrepreneurs who have risked everything to build a better mousetrap. In other words, government employees steal from small businesses to help get more money from Congress to pay for their own salaries.
Second, large contractors for the government like the so-called “non-profit” Battelle Memorial Institute just love the arrangement. You see, they know that if they participate in the theft of a small business’s technology under a government contract they can make huge profits by duplicating the stolen technology “in-house” and then selling it for their own profit.
But the real kicker is that the government gives organizations like Battelle a “get out of jail free card” that allows them to steal without any fear of accountability—it’s called sovereign immunity. Now, to most of us non-attorneys the term “sovereign immunity” sounds complicated. But in reality it’s just a fancy word that means the government and their contractors cannot be sued for stealing from small businesses. In other words, the fox gets to eat all of the chickens he wants without any fear that the farmer is going to do a thing about it.
Third, what small business in their right mind would risk a confrontation with the government—especially if you have any future hope of ever getting a government contract?
One small business became embroiled in a battle with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In a classic case of theft for profit FDA turned to their Battelle Memorial Institute contractor to help them steal, reverse engineer and then duplicate the predictive analytic tools that the little company was trying to sell to the food industry. The FDA then distributed the tools to the food industry for free.
Another small business came up with a revolutionary technology called microwire. Microwire is thinner than a human hair and can be used as a sensor to track packages, identify tampering, monitor gas pressure, and a host of other incredible applications. In this case the Department of Energy and their contractors, including Battelle Memorial Institute, simply took, reverse engineered, and duplicated the technology for their own purposes.
And then there’s the case of the Wesleyan Company. In this case, an engineer came up with a system that allows soldiers in combat to safely drink water in hostile nuclear, chemical, and biological combat environments. But the lifesaving technology was delayed in reaching our soldiers who fought in the Gulf Wars for years. There are thousands of veterans out there suffering from what is now called Gulf War syndrome as the consequence of chemical poisoning. The reason—because it took the Army time to steal, reverse engineer, and then re-direct the technology to their own pet contractors to manufacture, as the Army and their contractors went about their business of war profiteering.
So, what is the least common denominator in these three examples? If you are thinking Battelle Memorial Institute you are right on target.
In the case of our little food company it was Battelle that stole, reverse engineered, and duplicated the predictive analytic technology “in-house” to create millions of dollars of profits for themselves—all off the backs of small business entrepreneurs.
In the case of microwire, it was Battelle, this time under contract to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, that did the dirty work. After they stole the microwire technology from the small company they turned around and applied for grants from the Department of Commerce to develop microwire for tagging textiles for themselves.
In the case of the Army war profiteering scandal, again it was Battelle, this time in their role as a contractor to the Army at Natick Laboratories, that helped to steal Wesleyan Company’s ideas for protecting our soldiers in combat, and then colluded with military and their civilian employees to re-direct the Wesleyan drinking technology to a group of pet Army contractors for manufacture—all in the name of millions of dollars of profit for themselves, while our soldiers were being left in harm’s way.
We have written to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and U.S. Attorneys Vincent Cohen, Rod Rosenstein, Carter Stewart, and Charles Oberly III requesting a complete investigation of Battelle Memorial Institute.