Patent law in the United States was born when the Constitution was ratified and the fundamental laws of the nation were established.
President George Washington and the first U.S. Congress passed the Great Patent Act of 1790, ensuring inventors the right to reap the rewards of their ideas.
When the patent celebrated its centennial anniversary in 1890, Connecticut Senator O. H. Platt said, There never yet was a true invention from which the public did not reap infinitely greater pecuniary reward than the inventor.
Patents and Intellectual Property defined.
Patents encourage inventors to advance the state of technology by awarding them special rights to benefit from their inventions. They are the tangible representation of intellectual property.
Intellectual property, of which patent law is one branch, includes trademark and copyright law. IP also represents methods of doing business, ideas and know-how.
The value of the patent.
The patent represents the collaboration of the law with technology and serves as a catalyst for economic achievement.
Patents and intellectual property have become tangible assets worth billions of dollars to their holders.
IP accounts for approximately 70 percent of the market cap value of the largest 500 companies in the United States.
Licensing revenues in this decade are projected to be in excess of $500 billion.
In 2001, approximately twice as many patents were issued than a decade ago.