Of the approximate 1.5 million American Indians living in the United States only 403,714 were employed in 2001 and nearly one-third of them lived below the poverty line. This article explains that one possible solution to American Indian poverty is the creation of sovereign chartered research groups that would be shielded by tribal sovereign immunity. In patent law there are exceptions to a patent owner's ability to bring a successful suit against patent infringers. One of these exceptions is when a sovereign, such as an American Indian tribe, infringes on a patent owner's patent. Tribal sovereign immunity means that American Indian tribes have an inherent sovereign immunity from suits against them. American Indian tribes can use their tribal sovereign immunity to shield research groups from patent infringement claims. These research groups will not only advance American Indian tribes educationally, but also will drive additional funding into the tribes to help stifle poverty among American Indians.
Jeremiah A. Bryar,
What Goes Around, Comes Around: How Indian Tribes Can Profit in the Aftermath of Seminole Tribe and Florida Prepaid,
13 Marq. Intellectual Property L. Rev. 229
Available at: http://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/iplr/vol13/iss1/5