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If your car starts to smoke and sputter, you’d take it to an auto repair shop right away. The U.S. patent system — the engine driving the country’s innovation economy for more than 200 years — is sputtering and smoking. Yet its path to the mechanic is being blocked by an inane Supreme Court ruling.

American innovators are no longer promised reliable and effective rights for the fruits of their labors. In 2014, the Supreme Court reinterpreted laws that have been enacted by Congress since 1790 and created a stricter test for receiving patents for innovations in health care and high tech. This test makes it incredibly easy for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to reject applications, or for judges to invalidate patents already granted by the office.

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