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The 1980s was a more welcoming time for patents. Two important developments that encourage research and innovation are passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980 and establishment of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC, 1982).


Bayh-Dole allowed universities and research institutions to receive and manage patents to inventions that were developed as a result of government funded research but that often languished on the shelf. This encouraged large numbers of new businesses to be formed or facilitated and jobs created. The CAFC was the first U.S. court to include experienced judges dedicated to hear appeals on patent disputes, confirm injunctions and bring more consistency to IP decisions.

During this time damages for patent infringement were being taken more seriously. In Polaroid v. Kodak Polaroid was awarded just under $1billion ($2.4 billion in today's dollars) following a long court battle. It remained the highest paid patent damages award for 25 years. Diamond v. Chakrabarty became the first gene-related case, allowing inventors to obtain patents for the manufacture or "composition of matter" for living things, such as those used in modern therapies.

In this period IBM entered the PC market, which grew rapidly with the entrance of Dell Computer and others. 

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