Apr. 1, 2018

Cato Institute Report: The Patent System at a Crossroads

A looming Supreme Court decision could either continue or reverse the erosion of intellectual property rights.

For approximately four decades starting in the late 1930s, the U.S. patent system was in a state of distress. Courts widely invalidated patents, antitrust risk cast a cloud over licensing arrangements, and antitrust enforcers issued compulsory licensing orders covering some of the country’s largest patent portfolios.

While our current patent system has not yet reached the nadir of that period, it stands at an inflection point at which it is strongly tending in that direction. Over the past decade, virtually every branch of government has taken steps to degrade patent security.