Catholic University Law Review


The United States Government owns one of the largest patent estates in the world, but it rarely brings suit for patent infringement. To understand why that may be, this paper looks critically at the Government as a patent holder. Specifically, the paper reviews the fundamentals of American patents and explores the intricacies unique to the Government as an entity that both grants and holds patent rights. The paper examines the historical progression of how the United States Government positions itself with regard to its patents, tracing this evolution from Constitutional origins to more recent statutory refinements. Finally, the paper looks at the case of United States v. Gilead Sciences, Inc. as a potential landmark case that could result in a paradigm shift towards the Government’s proactive use of patents to achieve policy goals.