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INTRODUCTION: THE EDISON PROPHECY > WHY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IS IMPORTANT

WHY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IS IMPORTANT

IPM guidance is particularly valuable in the current era. Coming up with the “million-dollar idea” seems to be a global pastime these days. We have watched as companies from the new and old economies alike—Dow Chemical and IBM, to name just a couple—have made hundreds of millions of dollars on the basis of their ideas. Now is the time to join them—and our book is here to help.

We feel privileged to have worked in the field of patents over the past 10 years, during the greatest patent boom in U.S. history. We call it a “boom” because in the past full decade (1990–1999), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued more than 1 million patents—or about 100,000 per year. This rate of patent issuance is nearly triple the overall historical rate of patent issuance (36,000 per year on average since 1836). This does not count reissues, which have also grown in number (now numbering some 40,000 in total). In late 1999, the USPTO issued its 6 millionth patent.2


  

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