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August 23, 2005

Re: An inventor's battle for recognition -- and riches [Oregonian]

[Submitted to the Oregonian 8/23/2005; The Oregonian doesn't have the article online (here's their teaser), but it was from AP and here the Boston Globe story: An inventor's battle for recognition -- and riches]

Although I know the Lemelsons, what interested me about your two-part series on Jerome Lemelson was as someone in the high-tech field for 25 years as an entrepreneur, angel investor and venture capitalist with friends holding patents.

If one wants to look for a problem in the patent world that is really depriving consumers of choice, causing economic harm and stifling innovation, there are better places to look than a story of some corporate “Goliaths” exulting in winning a battle against a now-deceased inventor “David”. 

Big pharmaceutical companies impose a vastly greater burden on society by systematically gaming the patent system to prevent other companies from introducing “generic” versions of their drugs after a reasonable period of time.  This artificially inflates costs to consumers, probably on the order of 100s of billions of dollars.  That is a problem needing attention and a solution.

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