As the world bids good riddance to 2020, cursed as it has been by the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant shutdown of major swathes of the globe’s economy, this list of the Top 10 Patents of 2020 hopefully serves as a reminder that—although the world has missed out on concerts and sporting events aplenty—this year has not been a wasted opportunity for inventors. The world of patent law may be steeped in the tradition of legal precedent but the technologies covered by patents themselves are forward-looking, promising days of driverless vehicle commutes, personalized cancer treatments and fewer awkward moments on Zoom calls. This list does not purport to be an authoritative collection of the most economically valuable technologies protected by patents during 2020, but it offers an honest assessment of technologies that may provide an array of social benefits to consumers long after we ring out the current year.

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