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Traditionally, patent law is not the business of the Federal Trade Commission. It’s the job of the Patent and Trademark Office. The FTC focuses its firepower on competition and consumer protection issues. But some smart people are saying that patents have grown so strong that they threaten to stifle the development of new technologies and new industries. That hurts competition. (And those people point to some real-world examples.) So the FTC — and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division — got involved. With the help of the PTO, they held a series of hearings across the country in 2002. Supporters and critics of the current patent system presented their thoughts. Last October the FTC published a 250-page report: “To Promote Innovation: The Proper Balance of Competition and Patent Law and Policy.” In this issue of Legal Times’ IP,we dive into that report with the help of a veritable host of patent lawyers (” A Modest Proposal“). First, Daniel Attridge and Gregory Corbett explain the FTC’s 10 proposals for changing patent law and policy. Then, six of the most controversial are explored in greater depth by Michele Cimbala and John Covert; Robert Matthews Jr.; Blair Jacobs; Stephen Maebius; R. Danny Huntington; and Gerard Messina and Jerrah Edwards. Last but hardly least, FTC Chairman Timothy Muris sums it all up. After the torrent of words, we decided this issue of IPalso needed some pictures. So photo editor Roberto Westbrook headed over to the PTO’s new digs in Alexandria, Va., for an inside look (” Welcome Home,” Page 26). Actually, construction of the 15-acre campus is not done yet. Reporter Christine Hines got the scoop on what’s still to come. Finally, we profiled a law firm (” Strong Brand,” Page 28). How did we choose which one? In the Washington, D.C., area, the colossus of intellectual property “boutiques” is Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner. In an era when specialty IP firms have been struggling, Hines explains why this 300-lawyer firm survives. — Elizabeth Engdahl Managing Editor

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