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Patent Pointers

A pro answers your most common patent questions.

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This story appears in the April 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Since the first U.S. patent was awarded in 1790, more than 5.4 million patents have been awarded; more than 230,000 patent applications are received by the patent office each year.

With all these people applying for patents, most entrepreneurs with a new idea feel they, too, must join in the rush to the patent office filing window. Before booking a flight to Washington, DC, however, it would be wise to learn some basic facts about patents.

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