Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Journal

William & Mary Law Review

Volume

61

Issue

637

Abstract

A patent consists of only one right: the right to exclude others from practicing the patented invention. However, one class of patents statutorily lacks the right to exclude direct infringers: surgical method patents are not enforceable against medical practitioners or health care facilities, which are the only realistic potential direct infringers of such patents. Despite this, inventors regularly file for (and receive) surgical method patents. Why would anyone incur the expense (more than $20,000 on average) of acquiring a patent on a surgical method if that patent cannot be used to keep people from using the patent?

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