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Patents were meant to protect the inventor from someone stealing his/her invention. Now they're being used by companies that want to increase their earning without increasing their expenses, they do this by killing the competition by abusing the patent law. What good has ever come from allowing companies to own a patent? They hire inventors, and throw money at building their inventions. Now: In all honesty, contracts could easily be written such that an inventor binds him-/herself to licensing all invented products while working for the company, to the company, for at least a 15 year period per invention, in return for a monthly paycheck. The actual period could be regulated by a maximum defined in law, probably depending on which market it applies to, to prevent the "for the lifetime of the inventor" loophole. IOW, the law could simply prescribe that it is illegal for a company to hold a patent, and let the market sort the rest out as a licensing issue. When only an individual person can own what (s)he invented, all of the problems we're seeing goes away, because individual inventors wants to see their invention used for the general benefit of society as much as they want to make a buck. (As opposed to companies - see second paragraph above.)
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