Erik Sherman has the story at CBS News MoneyWatch in Google out patents Apple in 2012 . THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of patents -- each and every year.
According to U.S. law, to obtain a patent in the USA at the USPTO, an invention or a discovery can not be "obvious" to someone versed in the state of the art and it can not be anticipated by prior art.
We continue to be amazed how many allegedly "non-obvious" inventions allegedly not anticipated by prior art continue to pour out of the laboratories of the tech giants. Must be a lot of geniuses out there, right? Or we have a broken patent system, right?
How many of these inventions actually emanate logically from the STATE of the ART. Well, as good as all of them. 99% of all patent applications probably should not be granted if laws were properly applied.
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