Patent Quality Relies on a Fictitious Narrative

By Neal Solomon
July 27, 2017

EDITORIAL NOTE: This part 2 of a multi-part series by Neal Solomon. To start reading from the beginning please see The Myth of Patent Quality.

The main tenets of patent critics have been that patents are poor quality, that patents hold up manufacturers and that patent “trolls” have unfairly abused the courts to extort settlements from infringers. In order to solve these conjectures of bad patents, patent holdup and patent “trolls,” a big tech cartel narrative has influenced the courts to narrow enforcement remedies mainly for non-manufacturers and influenced Congress to institute radical changes that include a second window of patent review in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The effects of these dramatic changes include a profound decline of investment in innovation beyond the big tech cartel, the broad-based decline of productivity growth and the decline of small technology companies, alongside the historical increase in patent infringement and growth in market capitalization and profits of big tech companies.

The patent system has been radically transformed on the premise that patents are “bad.” If the complaint of patent quality is wrong, the dramatic changes to the patent system are misplaced.

According to the narrative of patent critics, a key problem with the patent system involves patent “quality,” the cure for which is the “gold-plated patent” (golden patent) [See Lemley, M., D. Lichtman and B. Sampat, “What to do About Bad Patents,” Regulation, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 10-13 (2005), for a first suggestion of a second window for review in the PTO] or one in which the PTO has extraordinary resources to vet each patent application. This notion was a thought experiment by defense attorneys until Obama instituted the idea with neither review nor debate. This solution for the problem of allegedly bad patents was the America Invents Act proposal to institute after-grant reviews (such as an Inter-Partes Review (IPR)) in order to properly vet bad quality patents. [See the critiques of this view in Solomon, N., “A Review of Patent Validity Jurisprudence,” SSRN (2010) and Kieff, F. S., “The Case for Preferring Patent-Validity Litigation Over Second-Window Review and Gold-Plated Patents: When One Size Doesn’t Fit All, How Could Two Do the Trick?,” 157 U. PA. L. Rev. 1937 (2009).]  However, if the presupposition that patents are bad is false, the solution of IPRs is wrong too. Proving that the AIA and IPRs rely on a mistaken presupposition of bad patents would expose the big tech narrative that attacks patents as bad to be wrong. If patents are shown not to be bad after all, the fallacy of the big tech narrative would be exposed and the burdensome solutions would be seen as self-serving to the infringer lobby. The assertion that patents are bad is unwarranted by the facts. In actuality, attacking patents in IPRs raises barriers to competition, perversely incentivizes infringement and promotes a free ride for infringers.

The facts are that the quest for the golden patent is misplaced. The real problem has been the shifting and artificial criteria of patentability, inventiveness and “obviousness.” In effect, the changing law on patent validity standards has essentially shifted the goal posts. The idea of a golden patent was originally rebutted because it is cumbersome, expensive and unworkable, with all of the burdens placed on the inventor as a sort of huge regressive tax.

Patents have become politicized in recent years according to which allegations of poor patent quality and patent trolls have become the core tenets of the big tech narrative attacking the patent system. In reality, this narrative has justified wholesale changes to the patent system that support the model of efficient infringement by the big tech cartel in order to support their Brobdingnagian profits. The big tech cartel – the modern equivalent of robber barons – is applying game theory to increase entry barriers by a factor of 100, with the effect to reduce competition. This self-serving and false narrative on patent quality, then, drives the debate on the need to reform the patent system. By so dramatically raising the bar for inclusion into the patent system, a democratized U.S. system for the first time in two centuries transitions to an aristocratic system controlled by capital flows rather than creative labor.

The constant complaint by big tech companies about “bad” patents and poor patent quality has led to “ongoing efforts to improve patent quality” by the PTO. The term “patent quality” is in reality a term used by large technology companies that systematically infringe patents to attack the patent system. By attacking patent quality, they seek a free ride to steal others’ technology.

It may seem interesting that neither the courts nor the PTO has defined patent quality. The main for reason for this omission is that there is no such thing as patent quality, any more than one can look at a work of art and say that it is great or poor. The notion of patent quality is highly subjective and impossible to justify or rebut.

Rather, the issue is mainly one of patent validity or patent valuation. Patent validity is closely related to issues of patentability and inventiveness, while patent valuation is typically driven by market forces of supply and demand. Not surprisingly, both patent validity and patent valuation are complex matters that require analysis and interpretation.

Naturally, the big tech cartel has expended virtually unlimited resources to hire academics and consultants to argue their case in public fora to justify the narrative of bad patents when the real motive is the justification for efficient infringement, suppression of entrants and promotion of monopoly profits. In recent years, the PTO and the courts have been unwitting and unreflective co-conspirators of the big tech narrative.

Patent critics attack the patent system on three fronts. First, they claim that patents hold up infringers when patent holders enforce their patent rights. However, in recent years, there has been limited hold up in the absence of injunctive relief, a remedy that has been eroded by the courts. Second, patent critics attack non-practicing entities as not worthy of patent rights since they claim that only manufacturers are legitimate patent holders. Nevertheless, big tech incumbents have moved nearly all of their manufacturing off shore, effectively eviscerating U.S. manufacturing employment. Finally, patent critics claim that the presumption that patents are of poor quality justifies a second window of patent examination that is implemented without either an even playing field or due process. All three of these presumptions of patent critics are false.

Instead of a substantive argument, patent critics have politicized patents, which have led to adverse anticompetitive effects. The ultimate aim of the big tech cartel is to drive down input prices of technology from and to free ride on small tech companies that invent original technology. The agenda of big tech incumbents is not neutral, but rather is self-serving, viz., to constrain market entrants by raising the bar to competition. It is not in the interest of the patent system – a carefully designed balance of rights structured to support a healthy innovation ecosystem – for infringers to judge patents as good or bad. In fact, it is natural for infringers to attack patents as bad, a phenomenon that has occurred for hundreds of years. Ultimately, the revelation that others’ patents are bad, while big tech company patents are good, reveals a blatantly hypocritical and self-serving position that undermines the patent system and the economy.

Nonetheless, the issue of patent quality is the key dividing line in the debate that polarizes the patent bar. Policy makers accepted the big tech narrative with neither factual support nor analysis, but rather only anecdotal information and outlier data.

While it is true that some claims in patent reviews are found to be ultimately invalid, the source of the problem is lack of due process, lack of efficient after-grant amendment practice, too loose review of combining prior art, too strict analysis of patent eligibility and a constant moving of the goalposts that cabin the patent system into a very narrow path for patentability and patent validity. The combination of changes to U.S. patent law in recent years by Congress and the courts have severely restricted patents mainly to large portfolios in companies with very deep pockets, thereby essentially eliminating small entities from the market, with tragic long-term economic effects.

Much of the attention focused on patent holders has been on diminishing the rights of all because of a few nuisance lawsuits intended to use high transaction costs to force settlements against weak targets. But burning down the house to solve a termite problem is probably not the best solution for the patent system. Yet, this approach is completely logical from a game-theoretic viewpoint in which a relatively small amount of capital is expended to support a flawed narrative of bad patents to justify erection of an onerous mechanism to attack patents the consequences of which are to dramatically raise the bar to competition and thereby preserve big tech monopoly profits.

Consequently, the narrative of the big tech companies in attacking patent quality is generally anti-competitive, hypocritical and self-serving. This narrative also suggests a concerted effort to organize an attack on the patent system emanating from a strong antitrust component that requires careful examination.

UP NEXT… a discussion about the problems created when the patentability inquiry is reduced to a question of novelty.

The Author

Neal Solomon

Neal Solomon is CEO of Advanced System Technologies Inc. A prolific inventor of technologies involving semiconductors, communications, data management, imaging, robotics and healthcare, he holds degrees from Reed College and the University of Chicago.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 26 Comments comments.

  1. Anon July 27, 2017 1:25 pm

    A comment on your Part 1 post, repeated here for convenience:

    Here’s a thought for patent quality:

    Have the US government provide a free service of confidential – and as rigorous as those bring IPR challenges, maybe even more so – prior art searching as a pre-submission service.

    Basically turn the first step of examination (and something the Europeans have typically done far better) into a starting point, or at least one of an input into the writing of a patent.

    Would this not be a better “bang for the buck” than ANY type of post-grant effort (which does not – and cannot – put any quality into a patent)?

    If the USPTO leadership wanted to sink their teeth into an imrovement, they would be looking at the process, the inputs to that process, and ways to, you know, improve the product.

    We have seen the dangers of a “just say no” mindset. I will be among the first (and have been) to warn of dangers of a “just say yes” mindset; but the Patent Office is responsible for not only examining and saying “no,” but supposedly is THE agency that is supposed to be about PROMOTING innovation.

  2. Tesia Thomas July 27, 2017 4:23 pm

    @Anon,

    I like your suggestion.
    I want the best examination that my patent can get but *before* issuance.
    After issuance, I want it to be done.

    I search for prior art every day. Too bad, searching for prior art is like finding needles in a haystack!
    How many needles?
    Well…you have to find them and count.

    Urrgh. haha

  3. 32f3ffff July 27, 2017 5:58 pm

    What Anon basically said:
    “Here’s an idea. Have the US government provide, for free, a service that is equivalent in rigor to work done by attorneys being paid $>600/hour. This would give you more ‘bang for your buck.'”

    Anon, you are welcome to pay attorneys– the same ones that specialize in finding prior art for IPRs– to do an extremely thorough prior art search similar to what they would do for an IPR. But why exactly would the US government provide that service ‘for free’??

  4. Anon July 27, 2017 7:07 pm

    32f3ffff,

    600 an hour for prior art searching?

    On which planet?

  5. Anon July 27, 2017 7:14 pm

    …and maybe you haven’t been paying attention to the focal point and bally-ho about what key feature is a driver of “poor quality.”

    What better way to deal with the supposed poor quality than by providing such information – at the start as an input into what will become patents?

    Further, let me add that such reporting can be directly tied to one of the Office mandates: spreading the word of innovation. Since such reports will likely focus (albeit certainly not exclusively) on patents and patent applications, the Office would be fulfilling its role in spreading that information.

    You seem to have some rather strong emotional reactions to this, and not to read too much into that, but what about the idea of having better inputs threatens you so much?

  6. Tesia Thomas July 27, 2017 7:28 pm

    @Anon,

    Oh no. I’ve seen prior art searches which are that expensive. I paid for one.

    And, I agree. I want PTAB as part of the examination process. It’s not fair for me to pay for the supposedly poor examination, and pay and pay and pay some more for issuance fees, attorney fees, etc and then pay more in PTAB.

    I want to pay for amazing examination BEFORE issuance. And, then I want my property right to be very hard to question after that great exam.

  7. Anon July 27, 2017 8:04 pm

    Thanks Tesia, maybe our friend is threatened because he is one that is paid at that (IMHO, unreasonable) rate.

  8. Mr. Patent Agent July 27, 2017 8:07 pm

    “The main for reason for this omission is that there is no such thing as patent quality, any more than one can look at a work of art and say that it is great or poor. The notion of patent quality is highly subjective and impossible to justify or rebut.”.

    Well….you have overly broad patents that slip through the cracks that shouldn’t have been issued in the first place, and you also have patents with claims that are full of indefinite language. If you get an examiner that is in a hurry or doesn’t care and issues claims that should not have been allowed, it’s fair to say the patent is of “poor quality”. So I think there IS such a thing as “patent quality” (great or poor) after enough basic boxes are checked, but after that perhaps it’s subjective.

  9. Curious July 27, 2017 8:12 pm

    You want to have better patent quality. I’ll give you four things you need to do:

    1) Find the best prior art;
    2) Find the best prior art;
    3) Find the best prior art; and
    4) Apply the best prior art against the claims using bright-line tests that don’t give Examiners (and Courts) a lot of leeway to determine (upfront or after patent issuance) that what was patentable one day is no longer patentable the next day.

    Declaring an issued patent as being improperly issued (and hence invalid) is acceptable if it is based upon newly-discovered prior art. However, if all you are doing is recycling old art with the new arguments, then it is too late. Finding the best prior art weeds out “overly broad” patents and ensures that issued patents are much more likely to survive challenge post-issuance.

    Finding the best prior art should be the USPTO’s job #1 or job #1A. If an Examiner finds (and applies) the best prior art and still subsequently issues the patent, then there should be not post-issuance question of whether the patent is “quality” or not. If the patent survived the best prior art, then it is a quality patent — end of story.

    However, what we have is a system that allows infringers to have as many bites of the apple until they can find a sympathetic ear to their plight (i.e., having to pay for technology that they stole from somebody else). With the Supreme Court eschewing bright-line tests, we have this huge gray area where a patent can be valid (or invalid) based upon the subjective reasoning of the Courts/Examiner/PTAB.

    People say that patents are “low quality” because the USPTO issues patents that are subsequently invalidated. However, this is not because examination is necessarily bad but because the standards/requirements are so loose that two tribunals can come out differently on the same set of facts. This is easily seen when it comes to sections 101 and 103.

    It does nobody any good to have loose requirements for evaluating patents under 101 and 103. The only harm of a bright-line test is that is prevents judges from using their discretion to pre-determine the winner/loser of a dispute regardless of the law and the facts.

    I want PTAB as part of the examination process. It’s not fair for me to pay for the supposedly poor examination, and pay and pay and pay some more for issuance fees, attorney fees, etc and then pay more in PTAB.
    For reasons I discussed above, this won’t help. In today’s environment, you can go back to the PTAB after issuance and with a different panel of APJs, you can get a different result.

    Uncertainty in the outcome is a direct result of the uncertainty in the law. Ask any sophisticated investor: uncertainty in outcome (at any level) = lower valuation. Whether they appreciate it or not, the Supreme Court’s love of flexible tests is killing patent valuation, and killing patent valuation does NOT promote the progress of science and useful arts.

  10. Paul Cole July 28, 2017 2:10 am

    There is a key phrase which deserves to be picked up and acted on – poor and ineffective post-grant amendment practice.

    The possibilities in the US should be compared with post-grant amendment at the EPO in opposition proceedings and in the limitation procedure.

    If there is a valid invention, the common outcome in Europe is that the patent is maintained but with a narrowed claim. European opposition is time-consuming because of administrative delays, but compared to the US is inexpensive and effective. I have in various writings commented on “the dog that did not bark in the night-time” – in this case the almost complete absence of any public suggestion that the EPO opposition procedure is unfair to patentees or leads to injustice. If anybody thinks differently, I would be glad to hear of it.

    If a patentee is contemplating litigation in the US, she or her attorneys will normally conduct a pre-litigation review of the case. The patentee will be only too well aware of weaknesses, but is prevented by the delays and administrative inconvenience from amending the claims to put the patent into better shape. It is in the public interest that this option should be available, because issues then become narrowed and unnecessary expenditure and waste of resources is avoided. The whole procedure should be inexpensive and should take no more than 3 months. And there should be an option for second and subsequent amendments if needed.

    If you want patent quality, a new and simplified procedure for post-grant amendment would be a major step forward.

    The EPO regularly sends senior staff to events such as the AIPLA annual meeting. It would be a benefit for senior members of the USPTO to take the opportunity to talk to them about this.

  11. Tesia Thomas July 28, 2017 8:54 am

    @Curious,

    Darn it! Well I hope SCOTUS straightens out the laws.
    I’m going to libraries, searching through books, scouring the internet, etc.
    If one of the prior art that I find comes back to ‘bite me’, I’m going to be livid.

    @Paul Cole,

    That’s a better suggestion.
    Why should inventors be paying more to handle one IPR than they paid for their entire portfolio?

    We end up paying more to defend the patent than we paid to get it!
    I’m glad we all see how this is nonsense.

  12. Tesia Thomas July 28, 2017 9:46 am

    The thing is that with first to file especially, you’re ‘forced’ to file a patent before you can do an amazing prior art search.
    It’s a feeling of being rushed.

    With IPR, you have 9 months or a year.

    You could say file a provisional but no. If you wait long to get a provisional then you set back the priority date.

  13. Chris Gallagher July 28, 2017 10:49 am

    Sorry to interrupt the debate but please allow me just interject briefly and say that Neal Solomon’s diagnosis of today’s patent landscape is articulate, well-structured and correct. Thanks Neal for Part 1 I am looking forward to Part 2.

  14. Paul F. Morgan July 28, 2017 11:17 am

    Actually, the real problem with the “golden patents” idea is that in most cases it is very difficult to predict at the time of application filing what few patents might ever be infringed. [Obviously, if someone else was already publicly using the invention at that time it would rarely be patentable.] Note the high percentage of patents that are only sued on for the first time long after their issuance.
    Thus, few applicants will pay for the really thorough prior art search and extensive application and multiple claims preparation and prosecution and continuations needed to actually make a patent “golden.’

  15. Anon July 28, 2017 11:41 am

    Mr. Morgan,

    Your point is highly pertinent.

    Thank you.

  16. staff July 28, 2017 12:00 pm

    ‘tenets of patent critics have been that patents are poor quality, that patents hold up manufacturers and that patent “trolls” have unfairly abused the courts to extort settlements from infringers’

    Let’s be clear, these are not the ‘tenets’ of critics, but rather of thieves. If you lift the rock you will find the world’s biggest infringers (thieves) hiding in the shadows. As Mark Twain said, ‘truth is not hard to kill, and (that) a lie well told is immortal’. Those who use the amorphous phrase ‘patent troll’ expose themselves as thieves, duped, or doped and perpetuate the lie.

    For our position and the changes we advocate (the rest of the truth) to truly reform the patent system, or to join our effort, please visit us at https://aminventorsforjustice.wordpress.com/category/our-position/
    or, contact us at aifj@mail.com

  17. Gene Quinn July 28, 2017 1:00 pm

    Paul Morgan @ 14

    You have identified the real problem. Somewhere between 90 to 98 percent of all patents are going to wind up being unused.

    If we had an examination process that recognized that and was a quick review for obvious errors, mistakes, overreach then having a back-end system that carefully reviews patents at the time they are to be enforced would make a lot more sense. Unfortunately, we have a system where it can (and does) take 5 to 10 years (sometimes longer) and many tens of thousands of dollars (sometimes over a hundred thousand dollars) to obtain a single patent. We cannot have an onerous examination system that finds it acceptable to make mistakes by not allowing enough as long as they don’t make mistakes and takes so many years and so much money only to have those patents that are commercially viable wind up invited to review by the patent death squad at a cost of $500,000 to $1 million per patent.

    If the U.S. wants to keep the death squad then we have to move much closer to a registration system.

  18. Paul F. Morgan July 28, 2017 2:33 pm

    Thanks Gene. If the PTO had better docket control system patent applications pending such a long time since their original filling date would require fast first priority treatment instead of those inexcusable prosecution delays. This would not require any legislation and should be strongly pushed.
    Another issue is that patents by private inventors used to be primarily used for trying to talk a company into making that new product for the first time and paying a license royalty to to the inventor. That was always a hard sell, given all the business and marketing risks of new products. But it rarely caused the company being offered a license to react by attacking the patent with a D.J., reexamination or otherwise, because they were not infringing. That is unlike all the patents nowadays being acquire by PAEs for infringement suits against existing commercial products.

  19. Anon July 28, 2017 2:40 pm

    One aspect Gene that I have pointed out that the current system supports a USPTO budget in the Billions of dollars annually (yes, that’s a “B”) – entirely by those innovators seeking patents.

    An actual registration system – even one with cursory “examination” (i.e., cross-referencing) could be had for a small fraction of a penny on the dollar.

    This would free up billions of “innovation tax” that feeds a system of “such poor quality,” and return that money (or nearly most all of it) back to the innovators directly.

    Of course, I have also noted that there would most likely need to be trade-offs with going to a registration system.

    I have discussed that such a trade-off would likely come with the level of the presumption of validity that today’s granted patent enjoys (somewhat – or perhaps rather, should enjoy more). After all, the level of presumption arises because “an expert agency” has vetted the application and pronounced that it is in accord with the laws.

    Of course, there would be downsides to going with a registration system. The notion of such a diminished bundle of property rights may prove problematic, and for example, a certificate of registration would not be worth much to the investment community, who may totally disregard ALL such “patents.”

    You may be left with a degree of uncertainty of your property that would still take some large degree of expenditure (such as a “proving” in a court of law) that what has been merely registered is in fact in accord with the patent laws.

    We might take one step forward and two steps back with a registration system.

    Me? I would prefer to actually fix what so many like to complain about (and by fix, I do not mean attempts of applying post-grant Band-Aids – sorry, but earlier career in industry make me shudder at the thought of considering any such actions “improvements in quality”).

  20. Anon July 28, 2017 3:20 pm

    That is unlike all the patents nowadays being acquire by PAEs for infringement suits against existing commercial products.

    That’s a bit of a misdirected statement, Mr. Morgan.

    You are having a bit of a horse and cart problem as – typically – PAEs and the patents being acquired do not support a notion that “poor quality patents” are being granted. Acquiring after grant (since most typical PAE’s tarnished with the “Tr011” label) is disassociated with the inventive entities pursing patents in the first place. Further, the Big Corp treatment of individual inventors exacerbates the condition you reverse because the PAE aggregators exist in no small part because their business model provides some (small) immediate reward to those whom patents are being aggregated, and only then is the entity created to a size with which the Big Corp’s are forced to deal with.

    In other words, Big Corps themselves birthed and nurtured the so-called mega-aggregating “Tr011s” and it is more than just a bit disingenuous to attempt to reverse the situation and have Big Corp play the “victim” card for some type of pre-emptive DJ state of the law.

    Methinks that is your infringer’s rights side coming out….

  21. Paul F. Morgan July 28, 2017 4:02 pm

    Anon, your frequent attacks on things folks never actually said is what is “miss-directed.”
    Of course most of the patents acquired by PAEs are from present or former corporations, not individual inventors, and thus the source of most of their revenue and their business model encouragement. PAEs are not interested in acquiring or licensing patents for new products not already on the market.

  22. Anon July 28, 2017 4:28 pm

    You have managed only to “grab the headline” without recognizing the explanation of that headline, Mr. Morgan.

    Maybe instead of claiming “frequent attack,” you try to read again what I DID say.

    Your comment at 18 was clearly intended to shift the focus, and in a subtle manner, seek to excuse actions of those who make “existing commercial products.” Your “issue” is at best a misdirection.

    This emphasis on the “positive” action of making contrasting as it is with the actual “negative” right of what a patent really is, is a well-recognized tactic of the Infringers’ Rights groups to attempt to paint the “Tr011” as “attacking” those that – by the mere fact that they are making existing commercial products, are, or in some sense should be, excused from patent infringement – almost as if patents only exist legitimately for those making something – and that cross-licensing between those making something is “noble” while any other model is suspect.

    This is the very notion I have long noted (and recently on another thread) that patents are negative rights and not some right to positively make something.

    Having an interest then (or not) in “new products not already on the market” is a meaningless smokescreen.

    You seek to denigrate PAEs as if the lack of interest in what you subtly put out as “proper” is itself a meaningful position when clearly, with an understanding of what a patent right is, such is NOT a meaningful position.

  23. Night Writer July 29, 2017 6:10 pm

    The golden patent idea is horrendous. It is a way to give special favors to those with lots of money. It makes it so they don’t have to worry about the 95% of the others. I cannot express how vile this plan is. And of course it comes from Lemley the unethical (anytime boy you want to go one on one with me, I am available.) Bet I score higher on standardized tests than you.

  24. Anon July 30, 2017 9:27 am

    The golden patent idea is horrendous. It is a way to give special favors to those with lots of money

    There is no mistake that so much of the rhetoric is being geared to solutions that drive up the cost of using the system. Such is just another part of the Efficient Infringer script.

  25. Anon July 30, 2017 9:30 am

    (hit submit too quickly….)

    It would be beneficial to reflect on the point shared on the Marshall Phelps thread that the US patent system explicitly went away from the English system in a very critical manner:

    But the founding fathers certainly did. That’s why they very consciously set out to construct the world’s first DEMOCRATIZED patent system that would do what no other patent system in the world had done before; stimulate the inventive genius of the common man.
    They did this by enshrining for the first time anywhere in a nation’s fundamental law-in our case Article One of the Constitution-the obligation of government to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts,” by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. Until then, patents had always been a “favor” granted by the state or the monarch. Now they were a mandate!
    But the real genius of the founders in creating the conditions for future American greatness lay in the way they enabled this right to manifest itself in the everyday life of ordinary citizens. Their deeply felt democratic ideas (hard to imagine in our cynical age) led them to consciously reject the elitism of the British patent system, which charged exorbitant fees equal to 10 times the annual per capita income of its citizens. Instead, they reduced U.S. patent fees to a level even ordinary workers and farmers could afford. They also greatly simplified administrative procedures for applying for a patent. And by other means as well, including allowing patent applicants to apply for their patent postage free-a big deal when you consider saddlebags and horseback. Ultimately, they created a patent system that encouraged innovation on a truly mass scale.

  26. Paul F. Morgan July 30, 2017 10:45 am

    BTW there are some PAEs that will buy and sue on, at their own expense, some patents of some individual inventors – if they are actually being infringed, and after doing their own validity checks. E.g.,:
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/07/28/boston-firm-labeled-patent-troll-some-says-actually-performing-service/PX6qfXxRqrb42kUZxJ9qkM/story.html