The United States Patent System in the Media Mirror
67 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2008
The last several years have witnessed a flurry of transformative patent reform activity. The Supreme Court has issued key rulings affecting the availability of injunctive and declaratory relief, revised the law of obviousness, and limited the extraterritorial reach of the patent act. Now Congress stands poised to ratify the most significant and far-reaching overhaul of the patent system in at least 45 years.
In this study, we analyzed major newspaper coverage of the patent system from January 1, 2005 through June 30, 2007 to systematically assess how the press portrayed the U.S. patent system. Our examination revealed a negative overall depiction of the patent system, with some noticeable differences - as well as some considerable similarities - in the coverage it received among the five major newspapers we studied. In particular, the media presented a patent system that is broken but undergoing repair; a system beset by poor quality patents and abused by patent trolls.
Given the media's well-recognized power to influence public attitudes, it is important for patent system participants, interest groups, and policy-makers to understand the picture presented by the media. Regardless of whether the media aptly describes or distorts the patent system, its influential role in the current policy debates should not be ignored.
Keywords: patent, media, newspaper
JEL Classification: K11, O34, L82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation