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The Surprising Resilience of the Patent System

Article - Volume 95 - Issue 1

Mark Lemley states that the patent system “seems in the midst of truly dramatic change.” Despite this, Lemley finds that “something curious has happened to the fundamental characteristics of the patent ecosystem during this period: very little.” Lemley explores this surprising result, first by reviewing the changes to the patent system in the past thirty-five years, discussing the pendulum swings between perceived overprotection and perceived underprotection and the concerns lawyers have raised in both directions, and presenting evidence of the resilience of the patent system, before offering some possible explanations for this disconnect.

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