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Why An Antitrust Lawyer Cares About Patent Reform

Since the advent of antitrust enforcement in the United States through the Sherman Act in 1890, antitrust law and patent law have endured an uneasy relationship.  Initial cases treated patents as superior to competition.  Patentees once were “the owner of a monopoly recognized by the Constitution and by the statutes of Congress.”  Gradually throughout the years our understanding of the intersection of intellectual property law and antitrust has evolved.  We evolved to recognize that the scope of the patentee’s power is limited, and “as long as the inventors kept within their statutory exclusive rights” they could placate the Sherman Act.  Regulatory agencies now recognize pate [...]

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