David Plouffe Gives Preliminary Response Concerning Obstacles To Innovation

from the did-they-really-listen dept

Tony was the first of a bunch of you to send over the news that President Obama's top advisor, David Plouffe, has put up a blog post providing a preliminary overview of what he "heard" via the Ask the Advisor question, which we wrote about last week, concerning "obstacles to innovation." The only indication that responses like mine were read was a brief mention about how some people complained about how the government, and particularly patent policy, got in the way of innovation:
Many respondents felt that too much government regulation stifled businesses and innovators and that the patent process and intellectual property laws are broken.
Unfortunately, rather than listening to why today's patent system is a real and significant problem, it appears that Plouffe is using this to score political points for his boss:
In his State of the Union Address, the President called for a government-wide review of regulations to find and fix those regulations that place unnecessary burdens on businesses. Indeed, in his Budget, the President put forward a set of common sense reforms to our patent system that will make it easier for innovators to move ideas to market and foster growth.
The problem is that his suggestions for patent reform do not fix the system, and in some cases make it much worse. In fact, I pointed to numerous studies and research in my response that explained this.

Plouffe claims he'll have much more on this topic of encouraging innovation, so we'll wait and hope that perhaps the administration will really listen this time, and not just paper over the real problems of the patent system with reform policies that won't help (and might actually make the system worse).


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 8:38pm

    I think that no matter how much you insist and how much you have convinced yourself on the subject, the reality is that most people just don't see things your way.

    There is a balance between innovation with less patents (or none at all) versus the innovation and big time investments that come in a world with patents.

    The government isn't going to get up and suddenly toss out patents just to "give it a try".

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 8:39pm

    Then they wonder why America is one of the least innovative countries around. When everything is patented and everyone is sue happy, innovation takes a back seat.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 8:41pm

    If you liked this...

    David is also hosting a "Alchemy For Beginners" class next week. Stop by and learn how to turn lead into shiny lead.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 8:42pm

    Re:

    "I think that no matter how much you insist and how much you have convinced yourself on the subject, the reality is that most people just don't see things your way."

    [citation needed]

    If anything, the most populated countries (and their citizens, which constitutes most people) are against things like patents and their innovation doesn't seem to be hindered. Even Jefferson noted how countries without patents were just as innovative as those with them.

    "The government isn't going to get up and suddenly toss out patents just to "give it a try"."

    No, they should do it to stimulate innovation. Instead, they allow patents to exist just to serve corporations that contribute to their campaigns.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 8:48pm

    Re: Re:

    [citation needed]: See Mike's post above.


    If anything, the most populated countries (and their citizens, which constitutes most people) are against things like patents and their innovation doesn't seem to be hindered.


    You would mean places like China and India, where people's average yearly salary is about the same as a US auto worker's daily take home pay? Yeah, I can see where they don't see the value of patents, there isn't anything in it for them.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 8:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow! Americans are receiving 4000 K a day?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 9:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Patents is to keep the sheep out, that is there is to it, you have a minority that control everything and all the rest of the population must conform to that, and the funny part is that it only happens when you have big companies devouring their competitors through mergers or good old fashion competition, once that point is reached they stop innovating and try hard to keep the weed(small competitors) from growing, then they get all surprised that other countries that have no barriers can outdo and out-compete them, them when they get trashed they think more control over IP will give them some leverage when they don't produce any new ideas because they don't produce things people are buying and get excluded by the patents of others who in fact know what people want and are actually producing those things and having to solve all those problems that comes with production which leads to discoveries and more patents that are used to exclude the idiots that thought it was a good idea to protect the incompetent.

    That minority, put millions out of a job in America, increased their expenses and are sucking the country dry.

    Look at the software market place it was bumming without patents suddenly they got stuck there and are doing nothing new it took competition to make them start again and that competition came in the way of open source software, now it is time to do the same thing for hardware and other things, including the idiots from the entertainment industry that are being used as a shock absorber to take the brunt of the anger out of the real people behind it.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 9:09pm

    Re:

    It would be interesting to see your list of innovative countries where the United States ranks low on the list.

    In terms of basic and applied research I would be surprised if the US was not at the top of the list in most high-tech fields.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 9:20pm

    Shocking!

    Mike hates patents. News at 11:00.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 9:22pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "[citation needed]: See Mike's post above."

    Your dishonesty makes it hard to take anything you say seriously.

    The citation need refers to the part where you said

    "the reality is that most people just don't see things your way."

    "You would mean places like China and India, where people's average yearly salary is about the same as a US auto worker's daily take home pay?"

    So only the opinions of the rich count? How condescending.

    "Yeah, I can see where they don't see the value of patents, there isn't anything in it for them."

    So are you suggesting that patents only benefit the rich? Well, duh. They don't help innovation and they don't help the generla public, it's all about what's in it for the rich.

    Seriously, your arrogant attitude reveals your true motives.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 9:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    general *

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 9:24pm

    Re: Re:

    and how much of that research is tax funded?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 9:30pm

    Re: Re:

    Also, many of those indexes rely on patents as an innovative measure. But if the question is whether or not patents promote innovation then patents are a bad metric to use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    AW, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 9:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ah yes cost of living isn't any cheaper either I assume... Nice strawman you put up there, also you forget to casually point out China is the largest amount of our foreign debt and has constantly maintained a program of monetary policy to lower the value of their money versus the US dollar. Essentially for far less they can get far more, and they constantly look the other way on patent infringement.

    Please do continue to use examples that prove Mike's point that patents stifle innovation though as you so kindly stated those 2 places without strict patent laws are 2 of the fastest growing countries in the world.

    Have you ever even thought about the sheer logic of your position supporting patents? Patents are an artificial monopoly that removes competition. Since economic models of supply versus demand elude you lets take a look at evolution. The strong survive, the weak perish. Each species fills a niche for its ecosystem. If that species leaves or dies off something springs up to fill the ecosystem. In every place we've tried to implement a control, such as kudzu for ground cover in the southern states, invasive tree species through most of the US and a myriad other such occurrences the local ecosystem has often been decimated and a new species has held monopoly. You support killing variation of species by introducing something without competition. Nothing gets better or stronger, just more pervasive and it affects everything it comes into contact with.

    American industry is a shadow of what it was, businesses prosper, people suffer. The government is a body of people meant to protect citizens, not corporations. The people are the consumers, businesses are the pushers. Government is meant to protect the consumers, businesses are already protected far more than they need. Corporate welfare, bank bailouts, tax breaks for the rich that the poor eat. Give me a break...if you cared anything for protecting business you'd be against patents, no one who creates needs them. If they did there wouldn't be such a thing as open source and freeware.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 9:59pm

    Re: Shocking!

    Big corporations love patents. News at 12:00

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 11:01pm

    Food for thought.

    Quote:
    Abstract: Attempts by Members of Congress to save U.S. manufacturing jobs by restricting international trade, particularly with China, are misguided and futile. Technological improvements, not international trade, are reducing U.S. manufacturing employment by automating many rote tasks. During the past decade, manufacturing employment has fallen by one-third while manufacturing output has remained roughly constant. Congress can best help the manufacturing sector and the rest of the economy by improving U.S. competitiveness and by creating a better business environment in the U.S.


    Quote:
    Improve Competitiveness

    Congress could restore only manufacturing employment to pre-2000 levels by prohibiting the use of modern technology, but this would severely hurt the economy. Banning the use of laborsaving technology in manufacturing makes no more economic sense than prohibiting backhoes from moving dirt on construction sites.

    Congress should instead look for ways to improve U.S. competitiveness and to create a better business climate. This would encourage both manufacturing and non-manufacturing companies to expand. Specifically, Congress could:

    * Freeze individual and business tax rates at current levels;
    * Deal with the budget deficit through spending reductions;
    * Adopt tort reforms to limit frivolous lawsuits, including clear statutes of limitations, limits on punitive damages, and sanctions for frivolous claims; and
    * Streamline or eliminate federal regulations that fail a cost-benefit test. For example, Section 404 of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act imposes large accounting costs on publicly traded firms while providing little benefit to shareholders.

    Adopting these measures would create a better business climate and lead businesses to hire. Restricting foreign trade will not.


    Source:
    The Heritage Foundation: Technology Explains Drop in Manufacturing Jobs
    Published on October 12, 2010 by James Sherk

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 12:21am

    Re: Food for thought.

    I don't necessarily disagree with much of what you're saying. One thing we also need to do is to reduce patents because they create a huge liability for companies that want to innovate and not get sued for frivolous patents.

    "Sarbanes–Oxley Act imposes large accounting costs on publicly traded firms while providing little benefit to shareholders."

    One problem with many of these anti trust acts is that they're selectively enforced against companies that the government and many big corporations don't like, like Google, but companies that are much more deserving of being prosecuted (like the RIAA/MPAA, like patent trolls, like cable companies, like taxi cab monopolies, etc...) are mostly ignored. The selective enforcement of laws effectively makes those laws only apply to those that the government selectively enforces them against.

     

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  18.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re: Food for thought.

    ... your last sentence seems kinda... redundant?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:55am

    "In his State of the Union Address, the President called for a government-wide review of regulations to find and fix those regulations that place unnecessary burdens on businesses."

    Will probably be similar to the new open, transparent Government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:59am

    Re:

    I think that no matter how much you insist and how much you have convinced yourself on the subject, the reality is that most people just don't see things your way.

    Most of the general population haven't really thought about it - and tend to swallow the pro-IP line uncritically. Those who have thought about it a bit tend to be anti-IP unless they believe that they personally benefit from it.

    Those who have thought about it more tend to be more anti-IP than the general population and those who have done proper, independent, research even more so.

    The mission of this blog is to educate - and so as this is successful the anti-IP view will prevail more generally.
    Government tends to be somewhat short term and pragmatic about these things so in times of plenty they tend to go along with the pro-IP lobby. However in a real emergency I guarantee that the government will pretty much toss out IP compeletely (with a vague promise of future compensation). This happened in the UK in WW2 when the state was really threatened and it would happen again if the circumstances recurred.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Food for thought.

    Like Personal Identification PIN Number?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    staff, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:40am

    jobs

    "reform policies that won't help (and might actually make the system worse)"

    Small entities create the lion's share of new jobs. According to recent studies by the Kauffman Foundation and economists at the U.S. Census Bureau, “startups aren’t everything when it comes to job growth. They’re the only thing.” Yet, thus far all efforts by Congress and the executive branch have nearly ignored small entity needs and input. Any policy that does not include them will jeopardize the country's future job creation and innovative potential. What we need is a federal government who is less of a rubber stamp for campaign contribution paying large corporate infringers who ship jobs overseas and more in tune to small entity needs.

    Just because they call it “reform” doesn’t mean it is. Patent reform is a fraud on America.

    Please see http://truereform.piausa.org/ for a different/opposing view on patent reform.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    by the way 4000 k is 4 million dollars a day. Learn to do math or go join a union

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Aerilus, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    Use it or loss it, now that's a common sense regulation that should be added to the patent process

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    teka (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Food for thought.

    Tort reform will never get much traction because the modern statesman (stateswoman.. statesperson?) is too often a lawyer or from a direct law background.

    And lawyers never want to see other lawyers who are unable to afford that second Porsche.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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