Thursday, June 18, 2015

Is Derek Khanna wrong on patent reform?

Within Derek Khanna's The U.S. Patent System is Broken: Derek Khanna on Trolling and Low-Quality Patents, one finds a number of mistakes:

"A patent is a government-granted monopoly" that gives the owner sole right to profit from making or licensing a product, Khanna explains. "So effectively every week the government says, 'These are all the things that American citizens can't do for about the next 20 years.'

Wrong as to "government-granted monopoly" ! !

A patent is a right to exclude others from practicing the claims of the patent.
A monopoly pertains to exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service. In the classic case of diodes and triodes, the patent right to exclude meant that NEITHER patentee had exclusive control of producing triodes. This is a significant conceptual misunderstanding by Khanna.

Wrong as to "can't do" !! A patent right gives the inventor the ability to negotiate. That is "free markets and free competition." And patent owners have discretion. The Wright Brothers never sued any amateur or hobbyist for infringing their patent. They were concerned with those who profited by the invention of the Wright Brothers, as manifested by the patent claims. So, the government is not saying these are the things you can't do; the government is saying we are giving property rights, for a limited time, to the inventor, in return for the knowledge the inventor has made available. If you want to do these things, negotiate with the inventor.

The link at

As to Khanna's background, linkedin indicates

University of Massachusetts, Amherst
BA, Middle Eastern Studies, Political Science, History

Georgetown University Law Center
Juris Doctor, Technology related law


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