In the span of a few short decades, the Internet has quickly become the greatest medium for public engagement in the history of the world. The participatory nature of Web 2.0 is a direct product of policy decisions made in the Internet’s infancy to refrain from holding websites legally responsible for the actions and speech of users that they cannot fully control.
While patent trolls remain a problem, in 2017, startups started to see some relief from nefarious patent litigation. The decrease in patent litigation abuse stems largely from meaningful Supreme Court rulings and the continued implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Privacy and security debates continued to unfold in 2017. While we saw the extension of fights from previous years—including efforts to require a warrant to access user data on the Hill and an administration pushing for backdoors into encrypted products and services—policymakers and the courts were forced to grapple with questions raised by new events, court developments, and deadlines.
The debate over immigration policy intensified in 2017 as the new administration issued several executive orders aimed at curbing the flow of immigrants to the United States. Engine led the charge in pushing back against many of these measures, including a letter signed by over 200 startups opposing the Administration’s Executive Order banning citizens from seven countries. Skilled immigrants, especially those admitted under the H-1B program, bolster the country’s capacity for innovation and provide immense benefit to its economy at large. What’s more, foreign talent has fueled America’s thriving culture of entrepreneurialism and played a central role in making our country the leader in technology startups.
In this charged political climate, #StartupsEverywhere is our insurance policy on the innovation and progress of the past decade. Through it, we have created a dialogue with policymakers and voters about the flourishing startup ecosystems around the country that are offering important developments in numerous industries. Our goal has been twofold: to determine the crucial inputs that have enabled startup growth outside of Silicon Valley and New York City, and to highlight the incredible startups and ecosystem builders who often fall in the shadows of those cities on the coasts.