I despise patent trolls, but reading your linked article, I see where the patent issues here were really only detrimental until the start of WW1. 1906 to 1917 is not "nearly half a century."
Please, when framing arguments against patents or climate deniers, or anything else that is important to you, do not exaggerate or use such hyperbole. It lessens the impact of your argument, however true, significantly.
By half-a-century, I mean half-a-century. Just because the original issues were resolved by around 1917, it takes a lot longer to recover from this damage - Consider this period as the original wound, and later time as healing to understand what I said - A lot of US based aviation decisions through to the end of WW2 and the early 1950's were very poor. This doesn't mean that the US didn't progress quickly, but it imported most of it's technology and ideas, even during WW2 - Often leaning on concepts and ideas that were present much earlier in german and english aircraft. Both the Germans and English had already developed jet engines during this time and it was only well into WW2 that the US began to develop unique and original ideas - eg, Turbosuperchargers.
If you damage an industry for more than 10 years, the impact doesn't just go away because you remove the problem, it continues long after the event - Knowledge and skills that should have been obtained and gained during that period are lost and it takes a long time to recover a position within the international community equivalent to a country's original potential. The US had to import a lot of technology from other countries - There's a reason most aviation terms are French - Sad when you consider that the US invented the aircraft.
Patents, when used as weapons or obstructions, only damage innovation.