Rumble At The Patent Office

Small inventors say proposed changes would favor Big Business

Patents provide the fuel of interest to the fire of genius, as Abraham Lincoln said. But these days, patent law is providing fuel for something else--a pitched battle over intellectual property. Congress is in the midst of altering U.S. patent law, and depending on whom you ask, the changes will either bolster the U.S. industry's technological edge or kill off innovation. The likely outcome is a compromise that will change the U.S. patent system in a way that helps most companies. The new bills "will create a more efficient patent system," says Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah).

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