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17 Berkeley Technology Law Journal 899 (2002)


In this Article, Professor Janis argues that modem enthusiasm for large-scale legislative reforms in patent law should be received with caution in view of the history of patent law reform. That history suggests that patent law is more resilient--or perhaps more impervious to change-than modem reformers recognize. To explore these propositions, Professor Janis analyzes the history of the mid-Victorian era British patent abolitionism movement. He demonstrates that much of the reform dialogue of that era, from the elucidation of major problems in the patent system, to the formulation of legislative solutions, mirrors quite closely the modem U.S. patent reform debate. He asserts that participants in the modern patent law reform debate should take this history to heart, approaching age-old proposals for large-scale legislative reform with healthy skepticism.