A hammock-canoe drawing, U.S. Patent No. 299,951, is displayed in a June 1884 publication of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va. Critics of the patent system say it's too easy for people to save a slew of semi-realistic ideas, then sue when a firm separately tries to make something similar. Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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A Google sign at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google is launching a two-week-long patent marketplace next month, where sellers can name their own price. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP hide caption

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How The Supreme Court Could Reshape The Tech Patent Landscape

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Vernon Hugh Bowman, who took his case to the Supreme Court, lives outside the small town of Sandborn, Ind. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Artist's representation of DNA. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Supreme Court Asks: Can Human Genes Be Patented?

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A Novartis office in Mumbai, India. Divyakant Solanki /EPA /LANDOV hide caption

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Patent Ruling In India Could Boost Exports Of Cheap Medicine To Third World

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These Nokia phones unveiled earlier this month are the first smartphones built for Windows 8. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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What Will Apple's Patent Case Mean For Phone Design?

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Eugene Gagliardi, inventor of Steak-Umm Joshua Marston hide caption

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Episode 399: Can You Patent A Steak?

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Eugene Gagliardi Joshua Marston hide caption

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In The Kitchen With The Inventor Of Steak-Umm

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