Essay: Studying Patent Law in 2016
3 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2016
Date Written: July 21, 2016
This is an exciting time to study patent law. One of its wonderful, if sometimes maddening, features is an almost constant and rapid rate of change. Patent law is never stagnant. Its evolution is driven by many factors: scientific and technological progress, public policy debate over the proper role of patents in our free market economy, the burgeoning marketplace for patents as a new class of capital asset, the rise of patent enforcement by non-practicing entities (sometimes pejoratively called “patent trolls”), recent implementation of the most significant changes to the U.S. Patent Act since its 1952 codification, a steady stream of precedential decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (having nationwide jurisdiction over patent-related appeals), and increasingly frequent course corrections imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court. This brief essay highlights the challenges and opportunities awaiting students of patent law in 2016.
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