One Judge’s Historical View of a Changing Patent World

Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today at this conference on patent law. Your invitation stated that I might speak on any relevant topics of my choosing, such as recent trends or developments in case law. But what I choose to speak on are not trends or developments in case law, but all the changes that have occurred in the patent world during my career as a patent attorney and judge. I will interpret the recent trends language loosely and translate “recent” to mean the entire period of time I have been in the patent profession, which has been fifty-four years. After all, the patent system began in this country in 1790, not counting state patent laws, so fifty-four years in the life of the patent system can be viewed as “recent.” What is striking to me as I look back on that period of time is how much has changed.

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Alan D. Lourie

Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

These remarks were presented at the Georgetown-Berkeley Tenth Annual Conference on Patent Law & Policy on November 16, 2018.