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Patents represent a long-term investment regime, systematically pitted against short-term exigencies like access to medicine and consumer choice. Simply put, the U.S. patent system is like a retirement savings plan — a giant national 401(k) through which we have historically agreed as a country to pay a little more now for today’s innovations in exchange for having more great innovations available in the future. Fidelity to the patent system poses a classic question: Is it wiser to use resources now or save for the next generation? Naturally and understandably, there is a public desire to capitalize on advances in technology immediately. And the IP system is affirmatively designed to get in the way of that. It is no wonder that conflict follows.

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