For all the talk about protecting innovation, we've often pointed out that the patent system seems to do the exact opposite -- making it more difficult for those who are actually innovating, while giving money to those who haven't done anything at all. Last year, Michael Schrage wrote an interesting piece pointing out the very important differences between invention and innovation, where he noted that innovation is more important -- but the patent system is more about protecting invention. Basically, plenty of people or companies who "invented" an idea were never able to capitalize on the idea at all. It took others who actually innovated and built off that idea to make a product that actually had an impact on the world. Helping to prove that point are a bunch of example cases where the initial inventor of something wasn't the one to make it valuable. In a market driven economy, the real winner is the company that can make something valuable through innovation -- not the inventor who happens to come up with something that the market may or may not want.
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