Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Patent Oppression: We Don't Know the Half of It

On Liberty & Power Tom Palmer posted an informative comment regarding my anti-patent BlackBerry op-ed:
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.

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.
I'm interested in reading Tom's case for a pharmecutical exception. I'll discuss it at some point.

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