"IBM just gave a few hundred of them away while other companies
are greedily gobbling them up. The European Union is heatedly
debating them. Scientists are fretting about them. And some
advocates of their reform are now proudly proclaiming their
membership in a political system that they'd probably hate to live
"Once primarily of interest only to big business and wild-eyed
inventors, patents have suddenly taken a central place in the
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