The US patent system is a foundation of the economy, encouraging innovation and growth. Patents are essential to important economic sectors, including life sciences such as the pharmaceutical industry. Innovation in these sectors would decrease without the property rights of a strong patent system. And the US government and industry are rightly concerned about whether these property rights are protected adequately outside the United States. Yet, the patent system is hardly perfect. The economy is awash in low-quality patents, particularly in the crucial high-technology world of Silicon Valley. There, the cumulative and complementary nature of innovation can cause a patent “thicket” that impedes innovation rather than creating property rights that protect true innovation.
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