The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was created to provide much-needed clarity and consistency to the nation’s patent law. In prior decades, the law had become hopelessly confused and incoherent due to disparate decisions of the regional courts of appeals. Two successive presidential commissions called for rectifying the situation because U.S. industrial competitiveness was lagging, and industries were faltering as a result of the weakness that had compromised the effectiveness of the patent system. For the previous century-and-a-half it had helped transform the country from a poor, agrarian land into the most advanced, powerful and wealthy nation on earth. In the 20th Century, nearly every significant scientific invention was created in America. But that was beginning to fade in the 1970s and beyond. Congress responded in 1982 by creating the Federal Circuit to hear all patent appeals…. These welcome developments increased incentives to invest in expensive research and development and the even more costly process of commercializing new inventions, putting new cures, products and services into the public’s hands and onto store shelves. In just the last few years, those incentives have lagged again due to sudden increases in uncertainty in the patent system, particularly regarding eligibility.
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