Patent Problem

The Economist: Monopolies of the mind

Patents, said Thomas Jefferson, should draw “a line between the things which are worth to the public the embarrassment of an exclusive patent, and those which are not.” As the value that society places on intellectual property has increased, that line has become murkier—and the cause of some embarrassment, too. Around the world, patent offices are being inundated with applications. In many cases, this represents the extraordinary inventiveness that is occurring in new fields such as the internet, genomics and nanotechnology. But another, less-acceptable reason for the flood is that patent offices have been too lax in granting patents, encouraging many firms to rush to patent as many, often dubious, ideas as possible in an effort to erect legal obstacles to competitors. The result has been a series of messy and expensive court battles, and growing doubts about the effectiveness of patent systems as a spur to innovation, just as their importance should be getting bigger

One Comment

  1. software patent armageddon

    After reading rms’s guardian article on software patents, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re doomed. With so many respected people speaking out regarding patents (domestic and world-wide), you would think that someone would listen. Industry seems …

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