Sunday, April 30, 2006

More on patent reform

-->from tmcnet-->

Two modern and promising industries - biotechnology and information technology - have wound up on opposite sides of the [patent] reform argument.

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical businesses, which take years to bring a product to market, are lobbying to keep the rights of patent holders strong. That is necessary, they argue, to encourage new inventors and bolster the economy.

Meanwhile, many large technology companies are calling for a weakening of patent-holder rights. That outcome would promote competing products and the marketplace by introducing more choice, they contend.

"There is a major split between the [information technology] community and the life sciences community as to how to move forward," said Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, a trade organization representing investors.

The debate has spilled beyond courtrooms and boardrooms into the public domain.

Over the past few years, authorities have cracked down on people downloading copyrighted music without paying, handing out stiff fines and leading some colleges to strike deals with music catalogs so students can download music without getting entangled in illegal activity.

Company trademarks have been hijacked and attached to bogus e-mail requesting account information. And of course, there's Research in Motion's wireless BlackBerry.

"There's really sort of a public outcry for this patent reform, because it's starting to affect people's cell phones," said Jeffers, the biotech executive. "Before, no one really cared."


Post a Comment

<< Home