Last week marked the 224th anniversary of the U.S. patent system, an institution designed to promote progress in the fledgling nation. Despite its value for more than two centuries, that system is under attack. Until the late 18th Century, innovative colonists in the Americas relied on British-based patent laws to obtain colonial patents. In 1790, however, American citizens could obtain a patent under the new U.S. patent system. In his first State of the Union message, George Washington stressed the importance of a patent system.
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