Patent Reform Pending

A new bill has small inventors on the defensive

Ronald J. Riley worries that Congress is out to quash him--and he doesn't like it. The Michigan inventor has already taken corporate giants to court to win hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees for his industrial automation patents. Now, he's fighting changes in U.S. patent law that he says will destroy American inventors--and the innovation-fueled U.S. economy. He has even created a Web site,, to work against the reelection of Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), if the senator continues to vote the wrong way. "They don't understand how strongly we feel about this--and they won't until we draw some blood," he says.

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