Saturday, December 13, 2008

Patents aren't worth the time and money?

In a step back in time of more than 500 years, Gary Litman of the US Chamber of Commerce opines:

Increasingly, innovators are deciding that patents aren't worth the time and money. And they have an alternative: They can choose to keep their breakthroughs to themselves, as trade secrets.

One might expect this sort of rubbish from Bessen and Meurer, but when the US Chamber of Commerce expounds this, one really begins to wonder... Innovation does not advance when people keep things secret. Separately, maybe Litman needs to review the basic plot element in Dr. Strangelove about inefficient decisions being made in the absence of information.

Also, recall

We have among us men of great genius, apt to invent and discover ingenious devices... if provision were made for the works and devices discovered by such persons, so that others who may see them could not build them and take the inventor's honor away, more men would then apply their genius, would discover, and would build devices of great utility and benefit to our Commonwealth. Venetian Republic Patent Statute (1474), reprinted in PRINCIPLES OF PATENT LAW 10-11 (Donald S. Chisum et al. eds., 2d ed. 2001).


The State of Intellectual Property:

At Design Engine Lab, we are affected everyday by intellectual property. We are actively creating new intellectual property; we have dozens of patents and patents pending as a result of our product development efforts. We must carefully research prior art and avoid infringing other innovators’ existing patents. We circumvent other innovators’ patents whenever we can can by designing different or better solutions. Our ability to circumvent adds value not just to our own IP portfolio but also to our client’s products.


The Bessen/Meurer book explicitly mentions Dennis Crouch/Patently-O at the beginning of Chapter 5:

"...his logic in the quotation above is misleading as a policy statement."

Note also The value of U.S. patents by owner and patent characteristics

Making a success of a failure

The empirical evidence on patents do they work like property?


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