The individual inventor motif has been part of American patent law since its inception. The question is whether the recent patent troll hunt has damaged the individual inventor's image and, in turn, caused Congress, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and the courts to become less concerned with patent law's impact on the small inventor. This Article explores whether there has been a change in attitude by looking at various sources from legislative, administrative, and judicial actors in the patent system, such as congressional statements and testimony in discussions of the recent proposed patent reform legislation, the USPTO 's two recently proposed sets of patent rules and responses to comments on those rules, and recent Supreme Court patent decisions. These sources indicate that the rhetoric of the motif has remained unchanged, but its substantive impact is essentially nil. The motif has done little to stave off the increasingly antiindividual- inventor changes in substantive patent law. This investigation also provides a broader insight into the various governmental institutions' roles in patent law by illustrating how different institutions have responded-or not responded-to the use of the individual inventor motif in legal and policy arguments.
Christopher A. Cotropia, The Individual Inventor Motif in the Age of the Patent Troll,12 Yale J.L. & Tech. 52 (2009).