Today’s patent system is the product of nearly a decade of reform, thanks to which the quality of U.S.-issued patents has gone up and American innovation is flowering. Now a bill is before Congress — H.R. 6264, the Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act of 2018 — to undo the reforms. It must not happen. The reforms were a response to a crisis in the U.S. patent system, but a crisis that did not hit all inventors equally. For mechanical inventions, chemistries and pharmaceuticals, each application is often for an entire invention, or might be combined with one or a handful of other patents to make a product. In some fields, the expected commercial life of the invention may go well beyond the life of the patent, which means that even if court challenges drag on, the technology will still have value when the case is decide.
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