The conclusion is that patents and patent infringement are tricky businesses. Even lawyers don’t always get it right, as evidenced by some poorly written patents that I’ve seen. Also, patent law itself is changing rapidly as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has been redefining patent law in recent years, and the U.S. Supreme Court has been modifying those refinements and in many cases rejecting the lower court rulings, and even significantly changing its own previous rulings. This year, the U.S. Congress is finally preparing to “reform” the patent laws in ways that will have effects on small and large businesses that are still being hotly debated.
So understanding patents is scary, difficult, and very important. Regardless of how patent law changes in the coming years or how the courts interpret it, patents have spurred innovation in this country since its founding and will continue to do so in the future. It’s in your best interest to understand how patents can protect your valuable intellectual property and how you can protect your business from heavy licensing fees or litigation.