A bedrock principle of the U.S. patent system is the statutory presumption of the validity enjoyed by every issued U.S. patent. An inventor’s decision to take the long and costly journey to reveal the details of his or her invention to the public is done in exchange for the promise that the invention can be enforced against infringers for the life of the patent. Thomas Jefferson, who was instrumental in establishing the U.S. Patent Office and a significant inventor himself, saw this grant of protection to the inventor as a way to stimulate both the process of invention and the American economy by providing an equitable means for inventors to learn and build from what others had accomplished previously. When patent disputes arise, the issued patent’s validity is typically challenged. Heretofore, those challenges were almost exclusively decided in U.S. district courts which has become another long and costly journey for both the inventor—as well as for the party claiming patent invalidity.
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