Sunday, March 18, 2007

More arguments against the "rational ignorance" approach

Further to criticism of Lemley's Rational Ignorance, Ron Sampson, the secretary of the not-for-profit National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization in Manhattan, Kan., notes "These technologies [of patents] represent an important national asset but the vast majority remain unused and eventually will be permanently abandoned."

One "unused" patent became "used" through the efforts of CATI. Dilip Kotecha received a patent, created by S.C. Johnson, through CATI, the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation. The Racine, WISC incubator acquired the technology from SC Johnson in 2002 and approached Kotecha because it knew he had experience in food manufacturing. CATI provided the patent to Yokit for a 5% equity stake in the company.

Judy McKinney-Cherry, the director of economic development for Delaware, said Delaware acquires patents and offers them to local citizens as a way to energize the economy.

"It's a question of thinking strategically long-term," McKinney-Cherry said. "You only need one or two (businesses) to hit out of 100 and you have a winner."

In 2006 her state received 255 patents from DuPont Co. and five from chemical manufacturer Hercules Inc. Neither company received federal tax benefits, but the state provided capital assistance for facility upgrades.

Delaware officials created a website where entrepreneurs can review and apply for the 105 patents that the state has received from DuPont so far.

[from USAToday, through AP]

Jeff LeRoy of Procter & Gamble noted: "In some cases we have a technology that for whatever reason we decide we're not going to launch, or it needs more development beyond P&G's expertise."

On March 19, 2007, linked to the AP story. The text yahoo used was Groups pressing companies to donate unused patents, which is not entirely accurate as to the underlying story.


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