With Millions at Stake, Inventors Fight America’s Patent System

The U.S. patent law system once rewarded inventors for the telephone, the lightbulb, and the airplane. But some inventors now say the same system has turned against them. According to them, the trouble started with the 2011 America Invents Act (AIA). Under that law, it’s cheaper to file lawsuits in a patent court to declare an inventor’s patent invalid than it is to pay the inventor for using their work. If an inventor creates a valuable new product or technology, this law incentivizes companies to steal their idea and bring a lawsuit to the patent office to overturn the patent. Emmy Award-winning inventor Glenn Sanders said, “What it has become is a tool for large businesses to invalidate the patents of smaller companies in order to utilize their inventions without paying them for it.” For inventors who often spend years and tens of thousands of dollars getting a patent, the consequences …

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