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There has been a lot of talk about patent reform, litigation, and patent trolls in the media and in Washington of late. Given the endless patent wars between Apple (AAPL) and Samsung, the multi-billion dollar patent portfolio purchases from firms like Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG), and the generally increasing time and expense of getting even a single patent, it's easy to get the feeling that the patent process in this country is largely broken. While Washington politics and lobbying from special interest groups are likely to prevent patent reform for the time being, eventually it is a near certainty that the US will have to reform its patent system.

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