"Remember, America’s Founders quite consciously created the first patent system in the world aimed at the common man, in contrast to the feudal and elitist patent systems prevailing in Britain and Europe at the time. The first patent law passed in April of 1790 set patent fees to a level any ordinary citizen could afford — less than 5 percent of the rate in Britain. It encouraged large numbers of people, the vast majority of whom lacked the wealth to build factories and manufacture products from their patents (now called “non-practicing entities”), to participate in inventive activity. And in a huge break from European patent systems of the day, it facilitated the licensing and sale of patent rights, thereby creating the world’s first market for new technology."
"The low patent fees and ability to license patent rights turned invention into a new income-earning career path for thousands of poor but technically creative citizens. And as a result, within 50 years the U.S. per capita patenting rate reached three times the rate in Britain. U.S. inventors were also far more prolific than their British counterparts, creating five times as many patented inventions as Britain did each year, even though our populations were then roughly equal in size. By 1885, the U.S. per capita patenting rate was quadruple that of Britain."
"If we’re honest with ourselves, we must admit that the patent system today has lost much of its original democratic character. Sure, anyone with a good inventive idea (and at least $20,000 for legal and other fees) can get a patent. But what can you do with that patent? More than likely, you won’t be able to put it to good use unless you have the multi-million-dollar resources required to launch a startup, secure a licensing deal with a big corporation or, if necessary, litigate to stop an infringer. Those are all unlikely pathways."
vía +Alberto Ruiz