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Technology industry officials grilled on outsourcing

Representatives from General Electric and Intel got an earful Friday while testifying about patent reform at a House subcommittee meeting.

Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., used the hearing to grill the industry officials about outsourcing jobs overseas.

While the officials were on hand to testify about the economic benefits of reforming the U.S. patent system, the congresswomen objected to providing the companies with government help, only to see them send more money to foreign workers.

"We keep giving companies gifts but not getting anything in return," Jackson Lee said.

While both company representatives admitted that up to half their workforces are outside the United States, they disputed the assertion that reforming the patent system wouldn't lead to more American jobs.

Protecting American patents will result in more high-tech products, which need a highly trained workforce to produce - a workforce only found in the U.S., argued Carl Horton, chief intellectual property counsel for GE.

"IP protections level the playing field for American workers," he told Tech Daily Dose. "With more high-tech products, companies will need more workers here in the U.S. Companies will always pay for work where it's cheapest, but if you have a product that needs high quality workers, then the U.S. has the edge."

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// April 19