This is merely a public version of what is going on all over the country. I have talked to high-tech execs who cannot speak publicly because they had to sign non-disclosure agreements with these "patent mills" after being shaken down.I'm interested in reading Tom's case for a pharmecutical exception. I'll discuss it at some point.
Even supporters of the patent system have to recognize that something is wrong here. For one thing, the patent examination process is woefully inadequate. To get a patent, you have to show that your invention is not obvious to someone skilled in the art; this one should never have been patented under current patent law in the first place. The result of inadequate patent examination is the issuing of patents that are now being used as innovation bottlenecks; they're bought up (or filed in the first place) by firms that specialize in patents, not in making anything, and that then go on to shake down companies that are actually innovating and producing useful products.
This is clear evidence that, at the least, the current system of patent protection in electronics (I'll set aside pharmaceuticals, which seems to be a different matter for a variety of reasons) is presenting disincentives, rather than incentives, for innovation.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
On Liberty & Power Tom Palmer posted an informative comment regarding my anti-patent BlackBerry op-ed:
Posted by Sheldon Richman at 12:26 PM