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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Contract No. NASW-99037, Task Order 103, between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Center for the Public Domain, Pharmacia Corporation, Merck & Company, Procter & Gamble, and IBM. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

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Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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Companion volume:

Patents in the Knowledge-Based Economy, edited by Wesley M. Cohen and Stephen A. Merrill, studies patent quality, litigation, and patenting and licensing in biotechnology, software, and the business methods.

The cover design incorporates original illustration from the following U.S. patents issued over a nearly 160-year period:

U.S. Patent 6,506,554; Core structure of gp41 from the HIV envelope glycoprotein; Chan, David C. (Brookline, MA); Fass, Deborah (Cambridge, MA); Lu, Min (New York, NY); Berger, James M., (Cambridge, MA); Kim, Peter S. (Lexington, MA); Granted January 14, 2003.

U.S. Patent 6,423,583; Methodology for electrically induced selective breakdown of nanotubes; Avouris, Phaedon (Yorktown Heights, NY); Collins, Philip G. (Ossining, NY); Martel, Richard (Peekskill, NY); Granted July 23, 2003.

U.S. Patent 6,313,562; Microelectromechanical ratcheting apparatus; Barnes, Stephen M. (Albuquerque, NM); Miller, Samuel L. (Albuquerque, NM); Jensen, Brian D. (Albuquerque, NM); Rodgers, M. Steven (Albuquerque, NM); Burg, Michael S., (Albuquerque, NM); Granted November 6, 2001.

U.S. Patent 821,393; Flying machine; Wright, Orville (Dayton, OH) and Wright, Wilbur (Dayton, OH); Granted May 22, 1906.

U.S. Patent 223,898; Electric lamp; Edison, Thomas A. (Menlo Park, NJ); Granted January 27, 1880.

U.S. Patent 4750; Improvement in sewing machines; Howe, Jr., Elias, (Cambridge, MA); Granted September 10, 1846.



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