chapter  3
12 Pages

Development of Patent Law in the United States

The purpose of the US patent system is to promote work in the sciences and useful arts by providing a reward to inventors as an incentive to disclose information for the benefit of the public. The reward is given in the form of a grant from the federal government of the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention. Prima facie, therefore, the US patent system is akin to the European system. However, as already noted, there are differences resulting in innovators in the US receiving greater protection than their European counterparts. US public policy regards patents as a means for creating new industries and jobs. The US patent system is based on a quid pro quo: strong protection is granted for a limited time in exchange for complete disclosure. By granting an exclusive right to the inventor to manufacture and sell the invention for a period of time, the inventor is offered a financial incentive to invest in the discovery of new innovation. The incentive is particularly important in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields, where meaningful discoveries often require extremely expensive and timeconsuming research.1