Joan Maginnis

is an attorney and author of Bright Ideas at Risk; she served formerly in the U.S. Department of Commerce as Assistant General Counsel for Litigation and Finance.

Recent Articles by Raid on Gibraltar: How the U.S. Patent System was Rigged Against Independent Inventors

Raid on Gibraltar: How the U.S. Patent System was Rigged Against Independent Inventors

The numbers are stark. As recently as 1990, individual inventors were granted 17 percent of all patents. By 2000, they received 12 percent and only 6.8 percent in 2010. In 2015, individual inventors were granted only 5.8 percent of all patents. In sum, if there is any example of a nation squandering its technological seed corn, this systematic weakening of U.S. patent protections for some “guy in the garage” is it. The great irony is that most of the people behind the screen in all this got their start in that same “garage.” They know this all too well, which is why they’re relieved to see the garage all but Closed for Business.