Monday, July 18, 2011

On the "myth of the solo inventor"

Comment to writtendescription blog by LBE:

@ Michael F. Martin

I'm not sure what you mean Michael. Lemley's conclusion began:

The history of significant innovation in this country is, contrary to popular myth, a history of incremental improvements generally made by a number of different inventors at roughly the same time. Our patent system, by contrast, is designed for a world in which one inventor of extraordinary skill does something no one else could have done.

We all seem to agree that Chester Carlson's xerography was not an incremental improvement. Nor was the transistor. Nor was the Wrights' wing warping. Edison's work didn't follow from Sawyer and Mann. Seems like Lemley's first "conclusion" is factually wrong. Our patent system does not require an inventor be of extraordinary skill. It does require inventions that are novel and not obvious.


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