Opinions and Editorials

Feb. 8, 2023

Real Clear Policy: Big Companies’ Latest Attack on the Little Guy by Paul Michel

Imagine inventing something, patenting it, building a successful company around it — and then seeing a much larger rival steal your idea.

For too many inventors and entrepreneurs, that’s not a hypothetical. It’s a nightmare they have lived through.

These days, instead of responsibly buying out smaller inventors or licensing their patents, some large companies find it more economical to simply copy the underlying technologies and fend off patent infringement claims in court by expanding and extending costly litigation — a bully tactic designed to overwhelm and outlast less well-funded innovators.

I served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., which hears cases related to patent law. Both on the court and in consulting since retiring in 2010, I’ve seen examples of this “efficient infringement.”

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