Intellectual property laws which were designed to protect inventors are actually stifling innovation, according to a leading US law academic. Michael Heller, an academic at Columbia University in New York, told technology law podcast OUT-LAW Radio that intellectual property laws are being used to stop new products and services …
Isn't this that also killed off the Roman empire?
..or was it the lead pipes they used to reticulate water? I can't remember for sure from my school days.
This is for sure, though: School children in far future generations will learn that IP Gridlock is what killed off the short-lived Renaissance of the 20th and the first bit of the 21st century: This era was followed by the Dark Ages where people had forgotten how to be creative or simply too scared to be creative in case they committed heresy against the Church of Greedy Corporations and got burned at the stake. Or dunked in the village pond.
It's the old Soviet Union. Each factory protected so that only it can make particular types of widgets and no other factory can. It's the same protectionism whether it's a document from the Kremlin or a document from the Patent Office.
Documents giving exclusive rights to make widgets, where the widgets are not new, obvious or none inventive, or even not made at all, the little piece of paper giving exclusive permission to make it is often all there is.
And the Patent Office thinks it's creating value not destroying it.
How did that Soviet Union thing work out then?
Not to mention...
...the fact that there are increasing numbers of patents out there that either should never have been granted in the first place, or should be knocked down in short order. I don't know whether this is due to Patent Offices no longer being sufficiently diligent in their examination of claims or their being overwhelmed by the volume of work caused by people trying to patent every little thing that they think might be a patentable invention (and often isn't, but then makes it through the system anyway).
It seems to be happening in most industries too. And don't even get me started on the subject of reprehensible slimy little patent trolls (we all know who they are).
I reckon that if someone submits a patent and it is either obviously a complete crock, or it is subsequently easily shown to be inadmissible, the person submitting the original claim should potentially have to pay significant monetary damages to the patent office to compensate them for the time and hassle. The only exception to this should be if the original submission was, on examination, found to have been made entirely in good faith and the reasons for its inadmissibility honestly not knowable beforehand. Something like that anyway. There's got to be some way to put a brake on the increasing number of junk patents. Some kind of formal requirement either to progress a successful patent into a marketable product within a certain time, or at least actively license the patent to someone else who is willing to do so, should also probably be considered in order to stop the slimeballs who just sit on a patent portfolio and wait for someone to sue. Sort of a "use it or lose it" clause.
Oh, and any damages paid to patent offices by junk applicants should be ring-fenced to improve the number (or quality) of patent officers and/or the systems that they use in their work. That way, the junk patents will finally do some good by helping to improve the operation of the patent office itself.
(And no, I don't actually work for a patent office, so I'm not just asking for jam on it on my own behalf...)
Well blow me down!
Gosh! Shock! Horror! No one could have predicted that now could they?!
And in other breaking news
* Boffins have determined that oxygen is essential for human survival.
* "Fire is hot!" says esteemed expert.
* A recent medical study has concluded that if you drink 20 pints of lager in one evening you might feel a little unwell the next day.
This segment of Faux News was brought to you by the Foundation for the Bleedin' Obvious.
Ditch all patents
ideas are two a penny, it is about implementation.
If you do have a great idea, then it is worth nothing until it hits the market, at which point you should have positioned elements around the idea for you to profit from.
NDAs whilst I am not a big fan of NDA trolls they have their place, and of copyright is still there to stop people just grabbing all the research. Ideas which are what patents erroneously protect, are just not required, secrecy and privacy works.
The NDA process does need to change, a few people will be on the end of those in the coming months in the IT, NDA trolls like to pop up in a recession.
- Product round-up Coming clean: Ten cordless vacuum cleaners
- Something for the Weekend, Sir? I need a password to BRAKE? What? No! STOP! Aaaargh!
- Episode 13 BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
- Vulture at the Wheel Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
- Worstall @ the Weekend BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity