The idea of the patent is to protect inventors from copycats who steal their ideas. Patents are crucial to US dominance of the world economy. But the US Patent Office is 700,000 applications behind. It takes so long to get one that, before it's issued, an invention often becomes obsolete. Facing competition with China, the US has revised the patent process with that rarest of legislative enactments, a bipartisan bill, signed into law today by President Obama. But with the America Invents Act, why will patents now go to the "first to file" instead of the "first to invent?" Will the big corporation have an advantage over the backyard genius?