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Getting a patent is really easy, but starting a business is very hard

Published: Monday, May 5 2014 10:02 p.m. MDT

An Apple store employee works on a wondow display of the iPhone Tuesday night, June 26, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio. Apple will release its new iPhone on Friday. Patents are at the center of the ongoing struggle between Samsung and Apple. But what does that mean for everyday Americans?

Kiichiro Sato, Associated Press

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Apple and Samsung have been caught up in a bitter war over smartphones, style and function.

Or, more specifically, patents.

Both companies are suing each other over using the other’s patents, mostly because smartphones have become identical to each other in recent months, The Associated Press reported. The jury sided with both Samsung and Apple, forcing both companies to repay the other (though, Apple gets the larger sum), the AP reported.

It’s an interesting dilemma, given that it’s easier to get patents now more than ever, especially under the Obama Administration, according to Vox. In fact, Vox found that 92 percent of patent petitions are allowed, much higher than the near 70 percent range between 2008 and 2010. Since Obama has taken office, the numbers have climbed more than 20 percent.

“This means that in 2013, the patent office granted nine patents for every patent application that was rejected and then abandoned by its applicant,” according to Vox's 's Timothy B. Lee. “That 92 percent corrected allowance rate is up from 68 percent in 2009.”

It's not all sunshine and roses for those who want to start a business, though. Entrepreneurial activities have declined in recent years and it's not expected to get much better, according to a new report by the Brookings Institute.

"Dynamism (or, 'the process by which firms continually are born, fail, expand, and contract,' which is typically used as a metric for entrepreneurship) has declined in all 50 states and in all but a handful of the more than 360 U.S. metropolitan areas during the last three decades," Ian Hathaway wrote on Brookings' website.

Though the Brookings Institute says "the reasons explaining this decline are still unknown," other sources have suggests a simple explanation: it’s incredibly hard to be an entrepreneur in today's fast-paced tech-driven world.

Vivek Wadhwa of The Huffingon Post wrote on April 29 about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, and it’s more than just meeting a wealthy investor who loves your product and wants to invest.

“That's the Hollywood version of Silicon Valley,” Wadhwa wrote. “But it is as far from reality as is Disneyland. Entrepreneurship is never that easy and the stereotype of the startup founder is not representative of the technology world. Yes, there are a few, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, who made it big. But they are the outliers — and they too don't fit the stereotype.”

Wadhwa also said most successful entrepreneurs don’t come from families with business backgrounds. Most make their own way in the business world. And not only are most successful entrepreneurs young, male and under 35, but they are often dropouts, Wadhwa wrote. They shouldn’t let education keep them from finding their way in starting up a business.

For people starting businesses, it’s a lot like a high-adrenaline activity, wrote Rhonda Abrams for USA Today.

“For about a third of Americans, the idea of starting their own company is more frightening than skydiving — even as they dream of quitting their jobs and pursuing their passions,” Abrams wrote.

Most Americans don’t want to start a business because of the lack of money, or because they don’t really have a clue what they should do first. And about one out of every five Americans interested in starting a business don’t have the time to invest in their product or the confidence that it’ll succeed.

“Americans think about quitting their jobs twice a week," said David Rusenko, Weebly's 28-year-old chief executive and co-founder. "A lot of people have business ideas. ... They don't recognize that many of the barriers are no longer there."

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @herbscribner

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