Disheartening article on patent reform in Fortune
A commenter got to some of the problems in the Roberts article:
It's disheartening to read articles on Fortune and The Economist about eliminating/weakening patents without acknowledging the potential turmoil that an economy based on trade secrets would yield. Eliminating/weakening patents would discourage published papers, speaking engagements, and technical standards as companies would seal their R&D employees' mouths with NDAs and threats of litigation. To think tech will become open-source is naive.
Reform should target abuse of the patent system with measured changes. To start a conversation about economic and societal progress with a proposal that would inevitably halt collaborative innovation lacks foresight.
The benefit to the public of the patent system is disclosure of inventions which are useful, novel, and nonobvious. Of the remark:
“Today’s patent regime operates in the name of progress. Instead, it sets innovation back. Time to fix it.”
Disclosure of information to the public does promote the progress. Some patented inventions will be innovations that change the way we live. Most patented inventions are not innovations, but may set up innovations by others, by virtue of being disclosed to the public.