While we believe strongly that the patent system often goes against its original purpose of encouraging innovation, we still get pretty nervous whenever politicians start talking about patent reform -- because it often seems like their reforms would only make the system worse. That's not to say it's not well-intentioned, but the unintended consequences will often create the opposite result than the politicians expect. There is one tiny bit of good news, however. When the House Subcommittee on intellectual property issues held hearings yesterday about patent reform, they heard from a group of folks who mostly have an excellent grasp of the problems the system faces. The folks in the room at least heard more accurate descriptions of many of the problems with the system than what you hear normally. The panel included economist Adam Jaffe, who literally wrote a book about the problems of the patent system and the unintended consequences of certain changes to the system in the past. I don't agree with some of Jaffe's suggestions on how to repair the system -- but it's good new to hear that his description of the problems of the system is being heard.
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