Microsoft: Patents Are About Sharing, Not FUD
from the sounds-like-FUD-to-me dept
Anyway, his claim is that patents are fantastic because they let multiple companies share in the wealth. As he says: "We used to define competitive advantage as 'I've got and you don't.' Or 'You've got it, but I got better.' Well, today it's 'You got it and I got it, but I make money when you use it.'" That would be nice, if true, but it ignores reality. The reality is that those patents aren't for unique or novel ideas, but for broad and obvious ones, and when you bundle all of those ideas into a patent thicket it makes any additional innovation prohibitively expensive. It's not, as he says "you got it and I got it, but I make money when you use it," but, rather, "you may have figured out what consumers want, but you still owe me and 17 other patent holders money every time you use it, even if you figured it out entirely outside of our patents -- and now the product is too expensive for any consumers to want to buy anyway." That's not quite as pithy, I'll admit, but it's a lot more accurate.