My wife once complained about how she couldn't read business magazines any more because they would seemingly totally contradict themselves every few months. The Economist seems to be demonstrating that pretty clearly. Last year, we noted that it published an article about how patents were hindering innovation. But then, a few months ago, it wrote about how we needed more patents approved faster. And now... as a whole bunch of you have been sending me, it's got a rather nice piece about how patents stand in the way of future prosperity. The Economist piece basically ties together a bunch of stories about problems of the patent system. If you read Techdirt, you're familiar with all the stories in the Economist piece, because they all (every one of 'em) were covered here last week. In fact, I would guess that the nameless author (ah, The Economist and your hatred for bylines) is a Techdirt reader, since it even includes a mention of the Mark Lemley paper we wrote about last week, even though that paper actually came out a few months ago. Either way, it's nice to see The Economist, yet again, pointing out the problems of the patent system, just months after it was leaning in the other direction. I'd prefer a generally consistent stance (or at least an acknowledgment of the whipsawing positions), but still it's nice to see more mainstream coverage of the disaster that our patent system represents for innovation today.
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