Fortune

“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” The old saying, often attributed to Mark Twain, is as applicable today as in his time. And in the intellectual property arena, a “good story” has been going around recounting the death of American innovation at the hands of an outmoded and obstructive patent system. But, again to paraphrase Twain, rumors of innovation’s death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, American innovation is thriving—and not in spite of patents but because of them.

When we look beyond the fairytales and examine the facts concerning the value of the American patent system, the real story is that patents have a demonstrably positive impact on American jobs, the economy and the innovation ecosystem. Opposition to the system is nothing new; the notion of granting exclusivity over ideas strikes some as inherently undemocratic. Yet the founders recognized that the extraordinary knowledge-sharing…

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