But though various details of the patent system continue to morph pursuant to political pressures and legal trends, the essential aspects of the patent system have not changed at all: The scope of what is patentable has not shrunk appreciably. The term is still about seventeen years. Patents are still enforceable by injunction. The groundless presumption of validity is alive and well.
Patent defendants who win usually pay their own legal fees, as before. Defending patent lawsuits continues to be incredibly expensive. Lobbying goes on as before. Companies continue to need to obtain patents if only for defensive purposes.
Obviousness and novelty remain the standards for patentability — and these standards are still vague, nonobjective, and subject to unpredictable interpretation by an inept and bureaucratic government agency, by state courts, and by technically inept juries. And the patent system is still widely believed to be legitimate and necessary even while it is widely derided as seriously flawed. FULL ARTICLE