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What Lies in the Future?

What does the future hold for those who innovate? The road does not look smooth.

Historically, America’s companies and its entrepreneurs depended on a reliable patent system to protect inventions. Today, despite a stream of technological innovation, our patent system has tipped away from protecting inventions to diminishing their value.

With the implementation of AIA, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has become a venue more focused on invalidating patents than encouraging innovation. Well-capitalized companies can infringe at will, waving the cudgel of proceedings at the PTAB at patentees who sue in federal district court for infringement. Supreme Court rulings in Alice and Mayo have made it harder for patentees to survive litigation, and both the district courts’ and the Federal Circuit’s implementation of those cases has been a study in docket control.  Larger technology companies continue to fund media campaigns that paint smaller patent-holders as trolls unworthy of the title of patentee, a characterization that’s neither accurate nor fair.

In short, holding a patent doesn’t mean much any more, unless you have many millions to defend it. Few do. How can innovators thrive in such an environment? What effects will these factors together have on American businesses, which depend on creativity and ingenuity to propel them to the front of global competition?

Hopefully, by fighting the good fight for the right type of innovators, we can correct judicial misinterpretation of patents as well as amend the deleterious actions of Congress, and restore the historical value of patents for innovators. We need to protect innovation and preserve entrepreneurial businesses—large and small.

That’s why I’m writing BusinessDeNovo: to comment on the changing tides of the rules around innovation and how they affect business. Fighting for patent-holders. Fighting for American innovation.

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