Thursday, February 21, 2008

Suppressing Innovation?

Comments on the IPBiz post An unwitting dupe, duped again? included:

To paraphrase, you say innovations are the changes to behavior while inventions are distinct products/entities. That is an interesting to define innovations, and certainly the case of the most explosive innovation of late, the ipod, fits into your definition of innovation as portable music has been around for awhile. But what about improvements to an existing product (or invention) that significantly changes that product and results in a new invention? In that case, the innovation refers both to new invention and the process of arriving at the new invention. This is splitting hairs perhaps but in line with the conversation of invention vs innovation.

IPBiz didn't say either. On this blog, and in JPTOS, LBE has quoted business people on THEIR definition of innovation. Also, inventions are not "products", although a product may embody an invention. A method may embody an invention, too. An invention has to change the way people live to become an innovation (according to business people) and there is more to innovation than just invention. Ask Chester Carlson, whose invention in 1939 did not become an innovation until 1959.

Thus, --I thought that the word innovation could serve as a surrogate for "Progress of Science and useful Arts." -- is also misguided. Science/useful arts progressed when Carlson's patent issued, but no one benefitted for 20 years.

IPBiz does not agree with --I can't agree with you "that the [purpose of the] patent system is[n't] to reward people who create a commercialized product." I'm going to be real obnoxious and start with the Constitution again: "by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Even in 1789 it was well known that if someone has an exclusive right to something, they can exploit it for commercial success.-- One has to look at the entire context of the grant in the Constitution AND "how" Congress implemented the grant in 1790. Further, a patent is a right to exclude, not an exclusive right. The two are NOT synonyms. Most patents, in 1790 and in 2007, do NOT make money for the inventors. That is not the reason we have a patent system. It's the information, stupid. (paraphrasing Carville).

LaFrance on Jaffe/Lerner on patent reform


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