Economist Explains How Much Innovation Is Being Held Back: Says We Need To Fix The Patent System

from the some-metrics dept

On a recent episode of Jerry Brito's Surprisingly Free podcast, he had on economist Alex Tabarrok who recently released a Kindle short, called Launching the Innovation Renaissance: A New Path to Bring Smart Ideas to Market Fast. Part of the key argument in the book is that through bad policy, we've really held back the pace of innovation. This is something we've pointed out before, but Tabarrok has some data to back it up. One of the most frustrating things for us has been how many reports use patents as a proxy for innovation, even as many studies have shown no correlation between patents and actual innovation. In this book, Tabarrok, smartly, looks at the growth rate in Total Factor Productivity -- which is a measure of output that comes from "non-traditional" inputs -- i.e., output created directly from land or capital. This is a reasonable way of measuring the impact of technological improvement.

It's important to understand this, so let's take a step back to explain it a little more clearly. Economic growth comes from the ability to get more out of the same amount (or even better, getting more from less). Straight output increases can come just from increasing capital or increasing labor, but you're not expanding the overall pie. Actually creating economic growth -- providing more than was possible before -- comes from knowledge and ideas being applied to various problems. Knowledge and ideas can effectively create something from nothing, or create something more from something less. Greater and greater efficiency can be driven by smart ideas over time (mass production, automation, computerization, etc.), allowing for economic growth and the ability to create some amazing new things and expand the economy.

Total Factor Productivity is effectively measuring this point: how much are we getting from the factors of production. Over time, Total Factor Productivity should continue to rise, as we improve efficiency and create new things and generally grow the overall pie. But it's the rate of growth that is most important in determining if we're growing at an optimal pace. If the rate of growth of TFP is slowing, then that suggests something is getting in the way: and that's exactly what Tabarrok is talking about. Over the last few decades, rather than expanding, the growth rate for TFP has been declining. Innovation is still happening, and we're still growing the economy, but not at the same pace as in the past, and that's a problem, since normally we should see the rate of growth increase as well.

In short, as Tabarrok points out, we're seeing important growth and innovation happening later than it likely would have otherwise, if current policies weren't holding back economic advancement. He notes that if the pace of growth in TFP had continued at the rate it had in the two decades after World War II, we'd be living in a world of innovations from 2076, rather than what we have today. In other words, the pace of innovation has slowed down so much in the last 40 years, that it will take another 65 years or so just to get to where we should be today. That's terrible.

Among the things to blame? Obviously: the patent system is at the top of the list. We've certainly been down this road before, but Tabarrok hits on many of the points we have concerning how patents hinder the pace of innovation. As you may recall, a few months ago he actually put together a nice video on the topic as well. The key point: patents serve to make follow-on innovation much more expensive, and follow-on innovation is often key to continued productivity gains.

Brito asks him about one of the key retorts we often hear, noting that we do see plenty of innovation, and even the areas where there are the biggest patent fights, such as the smartphone patent wars, involve a bunch of companies -- mainly (though not entirely) in the US, leading the innovation. Tabarrok points out that, again, the real issue here is the rate of growth, not the fact that there is innovation happening:
You have to think about where is innovation most likely to be slowed by the patents. And it's actually in a field in which the natural rate is quite high. Suppose we have a field where the natural rate of progress is low and something is patented. Well, since the rate of progress is low, you're not raising the cost to future innovators very much, because they were going to wait anyway, because there wasn't much to build upon. So industries where you're not building on top of other innovations, where you don't have cumulative innovation, then a strong patent is not going to do very much. It's not going to slow things down.

It's precisely the areas in which there's lots of innovation, where you're building on previous innovations and things are moving rapidly, that the patent does slow things down. So, yes, it's true that the smartphone industry is innovating, rapidly. But it's my belief that they're innovating less rapidly than they otherwise would. And it's precisely in fields that are innovating rapidly that you expect patents to have the worst effects.
This a key point that is all too frequently misunderstood by patent system supporters. Even in the US government, where we've pointed out that they use incredibly simple claims of correlation, like Steve Jobs getting patents as proof of a patent system working. But that has nothing to do with the pace of innovation. It's that second-order number that is what is actually important in determining if we have the most effective policy. It's honestly tragic how few people understand the importance in understanding the rate of change in something, rather than its absolute rate in looking at the impact, and it's that failure to understand this (don't we teach calculus any more?) that has resulted in some really bad policy decisions.

Tabarrok discusses the patent nuclear war in the smartphone space and points out, as we have in the past, that it has nothing to do with innovation at all, but is just moving money around, mostly to lawyers. Even worse, he notes that the truly disruptive and breakthrough innovations tend to come from outside the big mainstream players, but rather from small upstarts coming out of left field -- but in a heavily patented area, those players don't stand a chance, and those breakthrough, epoch-defining innovations that move the entire state of the art vastly forward, die an untimely death, often before ever seeing the light of day. As he notes, those innovations get killed in a court of law, rather in the marketplace, which is terrible for innovation.

In terms of solutions to this issue, Tabarrok suggests getting rid of software patents first of all. Also, he suggests different patent lengths for different types of inventions, with shorter inventions for those which cost less to develop. I've seen this suggestion made before, and I'm not against it, though I do wonder about the unintended consequences there. If you're providing patent lengths based solely on "cost of development," you've now created perverse incentives for inventors to spend more on invention than might otherwise be necessary, as they attempt to get the longest possible patent. We should want the invention process to be efficient as well, including seeking to minimize the cost of development where possible. Developing things cheaper is, in fact, one key area of innovation. So while I appreciate the concept behind the idea, I'd be worried about such a system having significant consequences that might, in fact, slow down innovation even further.

Tabarrok does, however, suggest an alternative way of determining the length of a patent that might avoid some of the unintended consequences above: letting companies self-select, based on certain trade-offs. For example, he suggests changing the level of scrutiny and the time to get a patent based on what length patent you're seeking. So, if you want a 20 year patent, then it's going to get tremendous scrutiny, a careful look at the prior art and a detailed look into whether the invention passes the non-obviousness test. However, if you're willing to just take a three year patent, then the standard of review is much lower, and the patent is granted much more quickly. For those innovating in rapidly changing fields, you could see them choosing this option, knowing that they'll get the patent faster, and that by the time the patent expires, the world will likely have moved on already.

Brito also makes what I believe is a mistake in suggesting (as Tabarrok implies) that where the cost of investment is higher, you necessarily need greater inducement to do the investment. Again, I appreciate where both are coming from, but I believe this is based on a false premise, that in order to innovate, innovators need a special extra inducement to invest. Studies have shown that this is rarely the case. Inventors invent most frequently not because of the inducement of a patent system, but (a) because they need the invention themselves and (b) because they see a market need, and recognize they can recoup the investment and more in the marketplace through selling a good product. Starting from the place of believing that innovators need "inducement" when the market and basic needs may already provide such incentives seems to fall into the trap of believing what patent system supporters always claim: that the patent system is necessary for such inventions and innovations.

This post is long enough, but the podcast (and the book) goes on to talk about some other policy issues that are important for encouraging greater innovation: fixing our incredibly broken education system and also fixing our broken immigration policy towards high-skilled labor. These are both issues that we've discussed around here as well, and Tabarroks' views are quite interesting, and worth checking out.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:16am

    Don't forget to add that we need to fix the copyright system too.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:43am

    there is no way that what he is saying is going to be taken any notice of, it makes too much sense! and let's face it, the ones who make policy that could make the all important difference between advancing and stagnating are those in Congress. we all know how fucking stupid (or extremely clever, when it comes to making money for themselves!) those members are and exactly why they will never take notice of sense and why they will never allow anything to deprive them of their hard fought-for bribes!

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    iambinarymind (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:44am

    Abolish Patent/Copyright/Trademark Law

    The principled solution is to straight up abolish patent/copyright/trademark law, as such law is antithetical to inherent self-ownership derived property rights.

    For further understanding of this most important issue, I highly recommend looking into the work of Stephan Kinsella at www.StephanKinsella.com.

    A great place to start is his monograph "Against Intellectual Property" which is available for free on his website.

    I prefer consensual relationships and voluntary exchange.

     

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

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:45am

    Not patents as such: lawyers and The Rich.

    As usual, you fail at analysis because neglect actors and their motives. But it's guaranteed that the patent system, along with nearly all other social problems, won't be fixed until We The People use gov't force to get The Rich back under control. Easy money is too big a lure when it's not taxed away.

    The Rich are getter MUCH richer than ever while they've hollowed out US industry, moved it overseas, left the US with only McJobs. -- Inflation is the most insidious method, as any labor-based economist knows. At present, around $85 billion a month is simply being printed and given to international banks. Wall Street trades are entirely untaxed. Corporations like Google dodge taxes on billions kept off-shore.

    It's always The Rich as such, not the particular systems that they control.

    Money is a social product, the value of which is solely from labor. The Rich use money not to create but to control: to them it's just a feudal entitlement to command laborers and skim off all above the worker's subsistence. In the 80's they put over the notion that lower taxes on The Rich are better for the poor, will create jobs, and the US has been in decline. Time to recognize who the bad actors are.

    We NEED economists who know the labor theory of value from actually having worked for a living.. Robert Reich will do for a start as alternative to weenies (don't know what he's got recent, but does worry about US industry):
    http://robertreich.org/

     

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

  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    Re: Abolish Patent/Copyright/Trademark Law

    @ "I prefer consensual relationships and voluntary exchange." -- That's not possible as The Rich always gain control of gov't and markets, and DO NOT operate them by consent and exchange. They're just thieves, banded together against laborers.

    Until you grasp that markets do NOT work the way you wish, are NOT free, then you're kept prisoner easily and cheaply! While The Rich steal what you produce, laughing at you.

    Gov't should be used to keep all sorts of criminals at bay, especially The Rich, so that the rest are then able to trade with productive more-or-less equals, not slave away as serfs to an inherited ruling class.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    I looked at TFP's for various parts of the world from about 1870 to 2000 at the, sadly, way too long address below.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=total%2Bfactor%2Bproductivity%2Bdata%2Bby%2 Bcountry&source=web&cd=10&ved=0CGoQFjAJ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fciteseerx.ist.psu.edu%2Fvie wdoc%2Fdownload%3Fdoi%3D10.1.1.198.6742%26rep%3Drep1%26type%3Dpdf&ei=x2LcUZbfIcKbygH0_YHICw& usg=AFQjCNGIxP6JrfFQrFn6Jv6RzuS4cwsDDw

    The title of the paper is "How Important Are Capital and Total Factor Productivity for Economic Growth?" What I find the most striking is that countries where IP is the weakest, for example Africa and Latin America, show precipitous drops in TFP (see page 42 of 51). It seems to me that if IP was such a significant factor in the rate of TFP growth or decline, those countries that have negligible IP protection should theoretically see great TFP growth, or at least some TFP growth.

    On the other hand, the countries that have the greatest IP protection, specifically, "Western Countries," seem to have the smoothest and steadiest growth in TFP. While IP may have some effect on TFP, and it might even be possible that IP has the greatest effect on TFP, with the inverse correlation on actual TFP (weakest IP protection seems correlated with weakest or erratic TFP growth and strongest IP protection seems correlated with strongest or steady TFP growth), perhaps Tabarrok is overreaching in his conclusion that IP is the or a primary reason that TFP is not growing as fast as "it could be." It seems to me that TFP is a complex number that is dependent on many issues, and IP is just one factor that may or may not be a significant factor in the rate of change of TFP.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

    WELL, it makes Cents

    Something to add to this.
    Corps like to sell things THEY KNOW will sell.
    They like to sell the SAME item(new box, same ?stuff inside) in many containers, but its the SAME product.
    They even like to Make the item CHEAPER, and still sell it.
    they even like to make it LAST to end of warranty and FAIL, so you need to buy MORE..

    They love to have a product, that sells Very well, over and over and over..
    You have to PROVE an item..before many stores will sell it.

    Computer tech is 20 years BEHIND. and thats stupid.
    "in the OLD DAYS" we had 4-6 companies fighting for market share..NOW we have 2 dedicated sources..and they ARNT FIGHTING. they HELP each other so they can "SAY" they have competition.

    FUEL for your car? isnt competitive. think about a company that can bring in a CHEAPER fuel, they LIKE the higher prices. They can MATCH them, and MAKE more money.

    The WHOLe system needs a FIX.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 1:32pm

    Get rid off it already, please

    I want my fucking jetpack!

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    The difference between Africa and South America and western countries can be explained by a problem that has nothing to do with IP, government stability, or lack of, is a much better explanation of the differences.

     

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

  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 3:24pm

    It's important to understand this, so let's take a step back to explain it a little more clearly. Economic growth comes from the ability to get more out of the same amount (or even better, getting more from less).

    Yes, Masnick it is important to understand that, unfortunately YOU DONT.

    Economic growth is NOT from 'getting more for less' PRODUCT

    Economic growth is about getting more buyers, more products, more range, and more employment more pay's and economic growth.

    How are you going to achieve economic growth if 1 person can make 10 millions computers (for example) in his toilet ?

    How does the economy grow from that ? That one person makes LOTS OF MONEY, but contributes NOTHING TO THE ECONOMY.

    More for less, then infinite for nothing would be the ultimate economic goal, if you have infinite of something the price has to be zero, profit will be zero, and employment derived from them will be zero.

    So, do you even know what an 'economy' is ??

    We all know you feel that it's "all sales" you don't have to manufacture anything anymore, or employ actual workers, you don't need plumbers or electricians anymore, you don't need builders, and construction workers, you just need product, lots and lots of product, CHEAP, (preferably from china), what way you get 'more for less' and you 'increase' the economy, Consumption, how to finance your purchases ? don't bother about working (workers are the 'less' in this equation), just borrow the money (preferably from China) to pay for the products (also from China).

    Stick to what you know about Masnick (whatever that is), economics is not your 'thing'.

     

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

  11. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 3:32pm

    Re: WELL, it makes Cents

    Computer tech is 20 years BEHIND. and thats stupid.
    "in the OLD DAYS" we had 4-6 companies fighting for market share..NOW we have 2 dedicated sources..and they ARNT FIGHTING. they HELP each other so they can "SAY" they have competition.


    But Masnick is saying 'more for less' that means MORE COMPUTERS FROM LESS MANUFACTURES.

    According to Masnick you ARE describing 'economic growth', you have more computers from less companies with less competition, less technology (less people in development) but more shit, (higher number of computers).

    Computer tech is 20 years BEHIND. and thats stupid.

    Computer tech is 20 years behind,,,,, WHAT ???

    is it 20 years behind what it is ? or 20 years behind what it will be in 20 years ? 20 years behind motor car engines ?

    20 years behind what you would like it to be ?
    or
    20 years behind Mores law ?

    you are right about one things..

    "Computer tech is 20 years BEHIND. and that's stupid."

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Abolish Patent/Copyright/Trademark Law

    Trademark can stay but abolishing the other two would be a step in the right direction.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    So, fundamentally we have no objective basis to evaluate Tabarrok's theory that TFP is harmed or decreased by the presence of IP. It is yet another unsupported and unproven theory that falls apart if the principal underlying assumption is erroneous, which we can neither prove nor disprove...

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    Steph Kennedy, IPTT (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 5:56pm

    This would make a great new chapter in an updated version of Approaching Infinity...

    Just sayin',

    IPTT

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 6:56pm

    Re:

    Don't worry, darryl. Regardless of what the economy is like no one would want solar panels from a total loon like you.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    There is plenty of evidence suggesting that innovation is harmed by the presence of IP.

    Furthermore, IP law limits competition and limited competition, by economic theory, is known to cause economic harm.

    IP is a privilege that no one is entitled to and if you want such privileges the burden is on you to justify them. So far I have seen absolutely no justification whatsoever.

    Plus, the laws of a nation should be based on the values of its people. I do not value IP laws. I do not value whatever benefits they allegedly bring forth. Fundamentally, you have no right to such privileges and it is my every right to freely copy as I please. I value this right more than the alleged benefits I get from IP laws. I want IP laws abolished and I am willing to take whatever doomsday risk you think will consequently result. I want my right to freely cop as I please. I want IP laws abolished, completely. and I want a representative government to take my position into consideration. If the citizens want this then these are the laws a representative government must pass. Complain all you want about your alleged economic harm. The economic benefit I get from my right to freely copy is worth more to me and the majority should not be subject to laws because a minority wants them.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    and don't give me this nonsense about "Well, then we should have no laws and I should be allowed to kick you". If this is the best nonsense you can come up with then I'm afraid you have no argument. We can agree on some laws without agreeing on all laws.

    It's all about values and the values of society. Society can reasonably value laws that prevent violence while simultaneously valuing their natural right to freely copy more than whatever alleged economic benefit they get from IP laws. The two values are not diametrically opposed. Just like someone can reasonably be opposed to laws preventing them from eating apples while being in favor of laws preventing them from robbing banks. Just because something is a law doesn't mean opposition to such a law implies opposition to all laws.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    Let me break this down even more. Lets say, for the sake of argument, that IP abolition would cost the economy one billion dollars a year. Of course this is utter nonsense but lets imagine.

    Now, lets assume, for the sake of argument, that this money is somehow evenly distributed. Again, nonsense, but lets assume.

    So the United States is three hundred million people

    1 billion / 300 million = 3.3333333333333333333333333333333

    So I lose three dollars and 34 cents a year. My right to freely copy is worth much more to me than that.

    So everyone else also loses $3.34 cents a year if IP law is abolished. Again, they are not entitled to this money at my expense. They are not entitled to restrict me from copying just so they can make this money. This money was stolen from me, at my expense, and given to other people. I am subsidizing everyone else at the expense of my right to freely copy which is worth more to me than the $3.34 cents I make in return. Those that are making this $3.34 cents are not entitled to make it at my expense.

    and, of course, the money is really not evenly distributed, it's disproportionately distributed away from me, which means I am now subsidizing a very elite few.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    "This money was stolen from me, at my expense, and given to other people."

    should read "The benefits that I receive from my natural right to freely copy were stolen from me, at my expense, just to transfer benefit to other people".

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    So, at best, IP law makes me worse off just to make everyone else better off, since my right to copy is worth more to me than the $3.34 a year I get in return. No one is entitled to laws that make me worse off just to make them better off.

    So how much would IP abolition cost me personally. No matter what (fake) number you can throw at me

    A: My right to freely copy is worth more to me.

    B: So then the best argument you can come up with is that IP law makes me worse off to make everyone else better off (and of course it doesn't really make everyone else better off, this is just what you can come up with at best. What IP law really does is make everyone worse off just to make a very small elite better off). To which my response is that everyone is not entitled to be made better off at my expense and they are not entitled to these laws.

    and if enough people value their right to freely copy more than what they allegedly get in return then they too should be against IP law and see it as a subsidy to those that want these laws.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:43pm

    Re:

    I feel like your time could be more effectively spent by yelling at a wall for approximately 6 hours a day.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    There is also plenty of evidence that innovation is helped by IP, though in this circle it tends to get ignored, insulted, belittled, etc.

    In addition, there are a boatload of economists who have analyzed and attempted to quantify the benefits of IP, which, according to some economists, provides improvements in the process of knowledge acquisition and dissemination.

    If you have seen no justification for IP, then you have not read any of the numerous papers that examine, objectively, the benefits of IP. Furthermore, merely saying that IP is a privilege that no one is entitled to is an opinion, not a fact.

    I agree that the laws of a nation should reflect the values of citizens. So the fact that most people in the United States feel that patents serve an important and valuable purpose reflects those values.

    As for you copying what you please, I suspect that Coca Cola will be terribly displeased when you start selling your Coca Cola without revealing that you are not in fact the "real" Coke.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    The economic benefit from patents is estimated to be in the trillions. However, just like the same people who estimate the negative effect of patents, which tends to run in the range of ten billion to perhaps fifty billion, all these numbers are estimates and not fact. Neither is your $3.34 fact, and it is a terrible estimate. There are single inventions that would not have existed as quickly as they did without patents that are worth far more than a billion dollars per year.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:42am

    Re: Not patents as such: lawyers and The Rich.

    I sort of agree with you here, Blue, but until you recognise the role of copyright and patents in the control mechanisms employed, it's going to be very hard to take you seriously.

    Also, stop lumping people together using dog-whistle terms like "the Rich."

    A) It makes you sound like a commie, and
    B) it's not actually true.

    Being rich doesn't make you a douchebag, but it helps. As I've pointed out many times before, the hard right/libertarians tend to use property rights and "taxation is theft" to help keep things as they are, and most of them are decidedly not rich at all. Get your facts straight, then we can talk. And hell, I might even agree with you.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    "There is also plenty of evidence that innovation is helped by IP, though in this circle it tends to get ignored, insulted, belittled, etc."

    This is a blatant lie and you know it. There is little to no evidence to suggest that IP is good. No evidence gets ignored because there is no evidence to ignored. Or at least it's never presented.

    We've played this game before. I can think of way more examples of bad patents than you can of good ones. Show me a modern example of a good patent, one that reveals something novel and non-obvious. Remember, a good invention does not equal a good patent. You must provide evidence that the invention would not have occurred without patents. The burden is on you to justify the patent.

    The closest I can come up with is the following.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100318/1240568623.shtml

    Every time someone asks to present evidence that IP is good IP extremists fail, every single time. The comments are open so present something. It's not that evidence gets ignored it's that it never gets presented because there is no evidence.

    "In addition, there are a boatload of economists who have analyzed and attempted to quantify the benefits of IP, which, according to some economists, provides improvements in the process of knowledge acquisition and dissemination."

    I have yet to see any evidence, beyond speculation, to suggest that IP is good. Those that benefit from IP, such as executives (which is whom most of those studies interview) speculating ways that IP could be good is not enough. Provide some evidence, not merely speculation.

    The evidence suggests that IP prevents the dissemination of information. So many books and publications go out of print long before they enter the public domain and for us not to have access to them deters the dissemination of information. Patents are useless. Where are the patents telling me how to build my cell phone, laptop, computer mouse, graphing calculator, operating system. All these things are protected by trade secrets. All these companies possess patents and yet they don't tell me anything. Microsoft benefits from patents and copy'rights' and yet their operating system is still closed source. Their patents tell me nothing.

    If anything, patents prevent people from disseminating such information in fear that some stupid patent troll will read a technical manual, find some minor infringement, and sue. Why make it easy for patent trolls to do this with technical manuals. Back in the days vehicles, printing presses, etc... used to come with technical manuals. No more.

    "If you have seen no justification for IP, then you have not read any of the numerous papers that examine, objectively, the benefits of IP. Furthermore, merely saying that IP is a privilege that no one is entitled to is an opinion, not a fact."

    I've looked into it. I've asked people here on Techdirt. There is little to no evidence that IP is a good thing. You haven't presented any yet and you can't because it doesn't exist and you know it.

    and it is a fact that my right to freely copy is a natural right. Even Thomas Jefferson agrees. You are not entitled to anything the government provides you. Anything the government provides you is a privilege. My right to freely copy exists outside of government. You need government to prevent me from copying. You are not entitled to having the government, a tax funded entity funded by me and taxpayers, to prevent me from copying. You are entitled to nothing the government gives you. It's not opinion, it's fact.

    "I agree that the laws of a nation should reflect the values of citizens. So the fact that most people in the United States feel that patents serve an important and valuable purpose reflects those values."

    That's a lie too. The people agree with our current patent system about as much as they agree with 95+ year copy protection lengths and retroactive extensions. These laws exist only because those that disproportionately benefit from them also receive disproportional representation. Why do you think they invest so heavily in campaign contributions and offer so many revolving door favors.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111221/17561617164/mapping-out-revolving-door-between- govt-big-business-venn-diagrams.shtml

    They don't do it for free. They do it for something in return, disproportional representation. If the people wanted these laws then there would be no need for these IP extremists to provide politicians with so much in return for extreme IP laws.

    That's why copy'right' lasts so long and kept getting retroactively extended. The people don't want this, only IP extremists that benefit at the expense of everyone else. That's why the Department of Homeland Security even announced that they will shut down movie sites at Disney. Who do they work for? Not the people, the industry.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100630/14391410029.shtml

    If the people really want these laws strongly enough then they can voluntarily obey IP principles without IP laws. If you believe in IP laws then you have the option to obey IP principles without wrongfully imposing them on me. If enough people agree with you strongly enough then these principles will be followed without IP laws.

    "As for you copying what you please, I suspect that Coca Cola will be terribly displeased when you start selling your Coca Cola without revealing that you are not in fact the "real" Coke."

    Ahh, another example of why IP laws are bad.

    First of all for me to impersonate Coke would be fraud, not infringement. You are confusing anti-fraud laws with IP laws. That is dishonest of you but what do I expect from an IP extremist.

    Secondly, Coke's secret formula is protected by .... trade secrets. So despite the existence of patents nothing of value has been publicly revealed and our knowledge is not advanced. Again, why would a company get a patent and reveal any useful knowledge even with patents? They would rather get patents on frivolous, obvious, things and sue everyone. Which is what the pharmaceutical cartels have been doing for a long time now and it is one of the reasons the pharmaceutical industry is one of the least innovative industries now. Tech was innovative because they mostly ignored patents in the early days. They simply cross licensed and hardly ever sued. Patents have been long heavily embedded in the pharmaceutical industry and that is partly why it is arguably one of the least innovative industries around. Pharma and chem used to be innovative back when patents were more relaxed in those industries, in countries that didn't strongly enforce them (see the book Against Intellectual Monopolies for just a few examples).

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    and if the public really wants these laws then why is it that many of the negotiations surrounding these laws, like SOPA, are done in secrecy yet industry interests are invited? Because these laws exist only to serve industry interests and the government-industrial complex knows very well that the public doesn't want these laws and so they have to negotiate them in secret.

    Why is it that so many people easily stood up against SOPA yet when industry interests (the MPAA) tried to start an astrotrophing campaign to get people to support IP laws it failed miserably? They were so desperate they even had to resort to trying to pay people to get people to sign.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120131/23275917606/creativeamerica-literally-resorts-to- buying-signatures.shtml

    and that failed miserably.

    The people don't want these laws, at least not the way they currently are. Only a small group of elite that have managed to coerce our government wants them.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    I have failed to see any evidence, other than anecdotes, to show that patents have a net negative benefit. Period. All the so-called evidence presented here is either in the form of a few anecdotes or in a lop-sided study the focuses only on the down-side of patents, rather than being an objective analysis of patents.

    As for studies showing the benefits of patents, they have been presented here in the past many times in the comments, and they have been belittled. Not objectively criticized, but belittled. So, why should I present the same information, plus more recent studies, again? You will merely do the same as has been done before.

    As for Coke, you are incorrect. Without IP, you could call yourself Coke, and there would be nothing to stop you. You apparently forget that trademarks came about because sail makers were using the same name, with lower quality sail makers using the name of well-established sail makers. Yet, there was no basis for fraud because you were free, before trademarks, to call yourself whatever you liked. If people were confused that Joe's Sail Shop was not the original Joe's Sail Shop, well, too bad for them. It was the confusion over the origin of sails that ultimately led to the first trademark laws. Apparently, along with all the other things you have forgotten, you have forgotten the history of trademarks.

    As for trade secrets vs. patents, prior to patents, companies focused on industries where trade secrets were more useful. There are modern examples as well. So, if your country has patents, there tends to be a focus on industries where patent protection is valuable. If there are no patents, then industrial attention focuses on industries where trade secrets are more useful, moving away from other industries. Read between the lines. Patents direct attention toward certain industries, and without them, those industries have less investment, and the converse is true with trade secret.

    As for your statement about "frivolous" patents, the fact remains that less than 1.5% of all patents are ever litigated. So are you saying that those 1.5% are frivolous? What objective evidence do you have that companies would "rather get patents on frivolous, obvious, things and sue everyone"? It seems that if only 1.5% of patents are ever litigated, then your statement would have to be false. However, I will bow to actual evidence.

    I have yet to see any objective evidence that "tech," as you call it "ignored patents in the early days." I heard this statement made elsewhere, but Apple, who supposedly ignored patents, filed for its first patent within six months after their founding, and two years later they had dozens in the pipeline. So was the "early days" six months? Please be more specific. Just who were these companies that "ignored patents," because it was not Microsoft and Apple.

    There are more law suits in "tech" than there are in pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, there have been several studies with respect to the pharmaceutical industry and why innovation seems to be decreasing in the pharmaceutical industry. The underlying reasons have nothing to do with IP, and everything to do with the history of human knowledge, drugs, and chemistry.

    Several scientific advances laid the groundwork for tremendous advances in the pharmaceutical industry starting the in the 1950's until the 1990's. However, the "low-hanging fruit" in the pharmaceutical industry is mostly gone, and unless there are some new breakthroughs in knowledge, it is going to become more difficult to find new, useful drugs going forward. Indeed, the days of "big pharm" may well be numbered unless something changes.

    I have read Against Intellectual Monopolies. What I find interesting is their focus on the Italian pharmaceutical industry, and how their industry was supposedly helped by the lack of patents, and that the introduction of patents was supposedly going the be the death knell for the Italian pharmaceutical industry. Except, they were wrong, on multiple accounts.

    First, the reason the Italian pharmaceutical industry lost its premier place in the pharmaceutical industry had nothing to do with Italian patents, and everything to do with a much cheaper competitor, India, developing its own pharmaceutical industry. Italy had a great generic pharmaceutical industry until India kicked their butt. Indeed, the adoption of patents may have been a reaction to India essentially taking away Italy's pharmaceutical business.

    So, how did Italy's pharmaceutical industry fare after the introduction of patents? Well, exports grew to the level they were before India started taking business from them, the Italian pharmaceutical industry has grown to about the same rank it was the loss of business to India, and the Italian pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing in the world. In fact, the Italian government has been bragging that the introduction of patents spurred the Italian pharmaceutical industry to focus on the development of new drugs rather than making cheap generics, helping the Italian pharmaceutical industry compete on technology rather than copying.

    So, yes, I have read your examples, and while interesting, they are hardly evidence against intellectual property, and seem to support the value of intellectual property. Italy's pharmaceutical industry was tanking after India became a huge source of generics. Italy tried a great IP experiment by permitting pharmaceutical patents, and their IP industry, which was in danger of dying, not only came back from the brink, but is considered one of the most competitive pharmaceutical industries in the world.

    Got any other points you want to make?

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    lol...Hell, I am against SOPA. I am for shorter copyright. What does any of that have to do with patents? I think people have issues with the length of copyright, but relatively few people seem to have issues with patents.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re:

    I feel his time could be more effectively spent by slamming his head on a wall for at least 24 hours a day.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    staff, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    more dissembling by Masnick

    Just because they call it patent "reform" doesn't mean it is.

    These are mere dissemblings by China, huge multinational thieves and their paid puppets -some in Congress, the White House and elsewhere in the federal government. They have already damaged the American patent system so that property rights are teetering on lawlessness. Simply put, their intent is to legalize theft -to twist and weaken the patent system so it can only be used by them and no one else. Then they can steal at will and destroy their small competitors AND WITH THEM THE JOBS THEY WOULD HAVE CREATED. Meanwhile, the huge multinationals ship more and more American jobs to China and elsewhere overseas.

    Do you know how to make a Stradivarius violin? Neither does anyone else. Why? There was no protection for creations in his day so he like everyone else protected their creations by keeping them secret. Civilization has lost countless creations and discoveries over the ages for the same reason. Think we should get rid of or weaken patent rights? Think again.

    Most important for America is what the patent system does for America’s economy. Our founders: Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and others felt so strongly about the rights of inventors that they included inventors rights to their creations and discoveries in the Constitution. They understood the trade off. Inventors are given a limited monopoly and in turn society gets the benefits of their inventions (telephone, computer, airplane, automobile, lighting, etc) into perpetuity and the jobs the commercialization of those inventions bring. For 200 years the patent system has not only fueled the American economy, but the world’s. If we weaken the patent system we force inventors underground like Stradivarius and in turn weaken our economy and job creation. For a robust economy America depends on a strong patent system accessible to all -large and small, not the watered down weak system the large multinationals and China are foisting on America.

    For the truth, please see http://www.truereform.piausa.org/
    https://www.facebook.com/pi.ausa.5
    http://piausa.wordpress.com/
    http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/142741
    http://cpip.gmu.edu/2013/03/15/t he-shield-act-when-bad-economic-studies-make-bad-laws/

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 10th, 2013 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Not patents as such: lawyers and The Rich.

    Being rich doesn't make you a douchebag, but it helps


    I think it's the other way around. Being rich does not automatically equal being a douchebag. However (excluding random windfalls like inheriting money) to successfully become really rich requires that you devote your life to that goal, and requires that you be a dick at least occasionally.

    Douchebags are more likely to be willing to devote their lives to the accumulation of wealth and engage in acts of dickery than the average person. So you find that the set of "rich people" includes a greater-than-normal percentage of douchebags.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    "There are single inventions that would not have existed as quickly as they did without patents that are worth far more than a billion dollars per year."

    This is something you simply made up with no evidence whatsoever.

    Instead of only providing empty statements why not provide substantiation.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 4:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    "I have failed to see any evidence, other than anecdotes, to show that patents have a net negative benefit. Period."

    Because your failure to acknowledge the evidence somehow means the evidence doesn't exist.

    The majority of patents never make it to product. Every patent that never makes it to product is a bad patent. The majority of patents are bad patents.

    There is plenty of evidence to suggest IP is bad and almost no evidence to suggest otherwise. Some of the evidence has already been presented. Just because you ignore it means nothing.

    You have yet provided any evidence to support your viewpoints beyond empty statements and adding the word period at the end as if that adds something. If there is evidence that IP is good then provide some already. I'm still waiting. So far we have been arguing for several posts and you have provided absolutely nothing. Me thinks it's because you have nothing to provide. If evidence exists surely you could have provided some by now.

    "As for studies showing the benefits of patents, they have been presented here in the past many times in the comments, and they have been belittled."

    Refuted or substantially criticized sure. A 'study' where a bunch of executives that benefit from patents are interviewed and asked if they, in their subjective opinion, believe patents are good is hardly an indication that patents are good.

    You have yet to present anything substantial showing the benefits of patents. If what you have to present makes sense then you should not be afraid to present it so that we can discuss it substantially. But you know darn well the reason you won't present anything is because you have nothing substantial to present. Just empty statements like the one I am responding to.

    "We have evidence"

    "Where"

    "Trust us, we have evidence"

    "present it"

    "You'll just ignore it"

    "If your evidence makes sense someone will pay attention"

    "We have evidence, just trust us"

    Yet you ignore, and refuse to discuss, all the evidence against IP privileges.

    "As for Coke, you are incorrect. Without IP, you could call yourself Coke, and there would be nothing to stop you."

    I am not against trademark law and laws that prevent fraud. Don't confuse anti-fraud laws with patents and copy'rights'. I am against patents and copy protection laws so your point here is moot.

    "As for trade secrets vs. patents, prior to patents, companies focused on industries where trade secrets were more useful."

    and they still do because none of the patents out there tell me anything useful. Name one.

    "There are modern examples as well. So, if your country has patents, there tends to be a focus on industries where patent protection is valuable."

    That patent protection is valuable to the patent holder says nothing about whether or not they benefit society as a whole. Government established monopolies are beneficial to the monopoly holder but they harm society.

    "If there are no patents, then industrial attention focuses on industries where trade secrets are more useful, moving away from other industries. Read between the lines. Patents direct attention toward certain industries, and without them, those industries have less investment, and the converse is true with trade secret."

    Again, this is your mere conjecture. Patents exist and yet anything useful is still trade secrets and the patents only focus on ambiguous legal text written by some legal department that no one besides a lawyer can make sense out of.

    "As for your statement about "frivolous" patents, the fact remains that less than 1.5% of all patents are ever litigated. So are you saying that those 1.5% are frivolous? What objective evidence do you have that companies would "rather get patents on frivolous, obvious, things and sue everyone"? It seems that if only 1.5% of patents are ever litigated, then your statement would have to be false.

    Most patents never make it to product and every patent that never makes it to product is a bad patent. That's more money that has to be spent acquiring the patents. These patents are acquired by patent trolls that want to find anything to sue on, kinda like a minefield (someone is bound to infringe on something) and other entities that want to hold them in case they get sued they can have counter-sue power and for cross licensing leverage. That's not promoting the progress.

    and just because patents are rarely litigated doesn't mean the patents that aren't litigated are good ones. With poor logic like this one wonders how anyone can take you seriously.

    "However, I will bow to actual evidence.""

    Ha ha ha ha ha. I had to laugh at that.

    "I have read Against Intellectual Monopolies. What I find interesting is their focus on the Italian pharmaceutical industry, and how their industry was supposedly helped by the lack of patents, and that the introduction of patents was supposedly going the be the death knell for the Italian pharmaceutical industry. Except, they were wrong, on multiple accounts."

    No they weren't. Again, the pharmaceutical industry has had patents for far longer than the tech industry and for longer than many other industries and it is arguably the least innovative industry around. and no one said it will be the death of the industry just that it will stifle innovation. and, as far as we can tell, patents do in fact stifle innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.

    "First, the reason the Italian pharmaceutical industry lost its premier place in the pharmaceutical industry had nothing to do with Italian patents, and everything to do with a much cheaper competitor, India, developing its own pharmaceutical industry."

    Uhm .... patents are monopolies and monopolies make things more expensive and so with patents the Italian industry couldn't compete because they made things more expensive.

    "So, how did Italy's pharmaceutical industry fare after the introduction of patents? Well, exports grew to the level they were before India started taking business from them, the Italian pharmaceutical industry has grown to about the same rank it was the loss of business to India, and the Italian pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing in the world."

    Citations.

    "n fact, the Italian government has been bragging that the introduction of patents spurred the Italian pharmaceutical industry to focus on the development of new drugs rather than making cheap generics, helping the Italian pharmaceutical industry compete on technology rather than copying."

    Just because a bunch of politicians that benefit from these patents claims something is hardly a citation. Politicians making assertions is not a citation. Evidence please.

    "So, yes, I have read your examples, and while interesting, they are hardly evidence against intellectual property, and seem to support the value of intellectual property. Italy's pharmaceutical industry was tanking after India became a huge source of generics. Italy tried a great IP experiment by permitting pharmaceutical patents, and their IP industry, which was in danger of dying, not only came back from the brink, but is considered one of the most competitive pharmaceutical industries in the world."

    You are once again in fantasy land.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    "Historically, before pharmaceutical patents were introduced in Italy in 1978, that country accounted for about 8% of new pharmaceutical discoveries worldwide. After the industry was strangled by patents, that percentage dropped to practically zero."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090916/0406396211.shtml

    Also see

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100203/0303448024.shtml#c1826

    http://www.techdirt.com/a rticles/20060502/1217204.shtml#c192

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060511/1856233.shtml#c300

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20061025/014811.shtml#c80

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    It shows that just because laws exist, like patent laws, doesn't mean that they exist because the people want them.

    Also, I am discussing IP in general.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    "I have yet to see any objective evidence that "tech," as you call it "ignored patents in the early days.""

    That's because you ignore the evidence.

    http://www.techdirt.com/blog/wireless/articles/20110701/01110214930/nortel-patents-sold -45-billion-to-apple-emc-microsoft-rim-ericsson-sony.shtml#c806

    " I heard this statement made elsewhere, but Apple, who supposedly ignored patents, filed for its first patent within six months after their founding, and two years later they had dozens in the pipeline. So was the "early days" six months? Please be more specific. Just who were these companies that "ignored patents," because it was not Microsoft and Apple."

    One of the failures of Apple and Macintosh in their early days was the fact that they made everything proprietary and so getting anything on them was prohibitively expensive. What spawned the PC was the fact that it was open platform and anyone can freely develop applications on it without many restrictions.

    "Just who were these companies that "ignored patents," because it was not Microsoft and Apple."

    IBM, HP, Xerox, Google, Facebook, Youtube. Yes, they had patents, but most of these companies simply cross licensed or they mostly ignored the patents and hardly sued for infringement. Apple was one of the few exceptions that tried to delay the industry by suing everyone and making everything proprietary and it served to stifle their advancement.

    "There are more law suits in "tech" than there are in pharmaceuticals.

    Well, now, yes. And most of those lawsuits are frivolous (ie: apple suing over rounded edges or what nonsense) and they are starting to have a negative impact.

    The pharmaceutical corporations also own the FDA and so getting anything approved is more an art of politics than science. But patents underlie that for those that do get their products approved get to be the exclusive seller of those products and everyone else is left out the market. In return those that get to be the exclusive sellers of a product get to offer campaign contributions and revolving door favors to regulators. Abolish patents.

    "Furthermore, there have been several studies with respect to the pharmaceutical industry and why innovation seems to be decreasing in the pharmaceutical industry. The underlying reasons have nothing to do with IP, and everything to do with the history of human knowledge, drugs, and chemistry.""

    Citation needed.

    The pharmaceutical industry only slowed down as pharma companies started lobbying for more restrictive patents. Before that many advancements were often found independently.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    were often found independently/simultaneously.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 4:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    Where are/were the people lobbying in the streets protesting the lack of patents when patents were imposed? They didn't/don't exist. Patents were never imposed as a result of communities starting petitions and getting millions to sign them asking for patents. IP laws have always been imposed as a result of industry interests lobbying for them and offering politicians something in return.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 4:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    I also never see politicians running for office claiming they plan on extending patent lengths. In fact, I remember in Obama, in his early days, claiming he wants to reduce patents.

    http://hallingblog.com/obama-%E2%80%93-change-pharmaceutical-patent-term-to-7-years/

    Though after a lot of pharmaceutical lobbying he apparently changed his mind (though now, thanks to public backlash, he is making statements against patent trolls. Not sure if he is going to do anything though).

    Why is it that politicians running for office do not claim they want to extend patents (or increase their enforcement) but they might claim they are willing to reduce them? Because they know very well that the public is mostly against these laws and these laws exist only because industry wants them.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    I remember Obama, in his early days *

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    and lets not forget that the pharmaceutical industry has a long history of inflating their R&D costs and so the numbers they give are often not reliable.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    Sure: U.S. patent 3,220,392, which changed the entire trucking industry and invented by Clessie Cummins. The sales per year of truck engines equipped with such brakes (which in some states is required by law) exceeds $1 billion. Cummins invented the engine brake after more then 25 years of research.

    While this patent was one of the easiest to choose, there are many others similar to it.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    I wonder how well you know your history?

    Patents were written into the Constitution, and the reason that they were written into the Constitution was simple. Individual states already issued patents, and if Congress did not take intellectual property under federal control, individual states would continue to do what they already had done, issue patents in their own states. Without including patents in the Constitution, the patent system would have been a hodgepodge of laws varying between states and varying in enforcement.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    ""Furthermore, there have been several studies with respect to the pharmaceutical industry and why innovation seems to be decreasing in the pharmaceutical industry. The underlying reasons have nothing to do with IP, and everything to do with the history of human knowledge, drugs, and chemistry.""

    "Citation needed."

    Done:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/no-refills/308133/

    See on the second page where the author talks about the easier targets are gone. I will point out that there have been numerous other articles and papers discussing this issue. This particular one was one I ran into.

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    ""Just who were these companies that "ignored patents," because it was not Microsoft and Apple.""

    "IBM, HP, Xerox, Google, Facebook, Youtube. Yes, they had patents, but most of these companies simply cross licensed or they mostly ignored the patents and hardly sued for infringement. Apple was one of the few exceptions that tried to delay the industry by suing everyone and making everything proprietary and it served to stifle their advancement."

    I misunderstood your comment. I thought you were trying to say that these companies were not interested in filing for patent applications, because that is obviously untrue based on the tens of thousands of applications filed by the companies you listed above, all the way back to their beginning.

    As for litigation history, I do not have a good resource for knowing the litigation history of each company, and I am unable to make a comment about such. It has been my experience that most manufacturing companies (note I said most, not all) are uninterested in suing other manufacturing companies, unless they are exactly copying their patented product.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    No no no no no, I did not ask for an opinion piece by some blogger. I asked for a citation with evidence.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    I know why patents were written into the constitution. That does not address my comment.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    Ummmm...no.

    What Boldrin and Levine reported in their book (chapter 9, 8th page), which I will let you look up, is that during the period 1961 to 1980, Italy contributed 119 new chemical compounds to a world total of 1282 compounds, or 9.28%. During the period 1980 to 1983, a total of 108 compounds were discovered worldwide, of which Italy contributed 8 compounds, or 7.5% of the total.

    Now, I did not run a t-test on this limited data, but I suspect that statistically the difference between 9.28% and 7.5%, particularly given the significantly smaller data set for the period 1980 to 1983, is negligible.

    Furthermore, 7.5% seems hardly to be "practically dropped to zero."

    I refer to Boldrin and Levine because that seems to be the source material for the Techdirt posts.

    You need a better source citation.

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    After doing some reading I will acknowledge that this could possibly be another rare example of a good patent. Interesting you had to go back so far to find one.

    I do think that, under rare conditions, patents could be good. But our current system is beyond broken.

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    ""So, yes, I have read your examples, and while interesting, they are hardly evidence against intellectual property, and seem to support the value of intellectual property. Italy's pharmaceutical industry was tanking after India became a huge source of generics. Italy tried a great IP experiment by permitting pharmaceutical patents, and their IP industry, which was in danger of dying, not only came back from the brink, but is considered one of the most competitive pharmaceutical industries in the world.""

    "You are once again in fantasy land."

    Where are YOUR citations?

    By the way, here is a great summary of how the pharm sector is the leading manufacturing sector in Italy. FYI: Before patents, it was not.

    http://www.farmindustria.it/pubblico/slide_Brochure_2012_INGLESE.pdf

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    lol...There are many good patents. I happened to have that one at my fingertips.

    However, to say our system is "broken" is a bit of an overstatement. The total number of patents litigated remains at about 1.5% of all patents issues. That number has remained relatively constant over time. The question is not whether the system is broken, the question is whether 1.5% of patents are being abused. Given that 60% of current lawsuits are filed by trolls, it is possible that 0.9% of patents are being abused, which is a remarkably small number.

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    It was only 7.5 percent for those two following years. The following years after it eventually dropped to zero. The impact of patents aren't immediately obvious.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    err ... not two years but during the next few years *

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    So the most that you can come up with is a pharmaceutical propaganda piece making outlandish claims.

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    I also find page 22 of your PDF interesting.

    "In all major European countries the share of off patent market ( accessible by generics) is 90% of total pharmaceutical market"

    "90% of market is composed of off - patent medicines, with high growth of generics"

    Page 21

    I found this particularly interesting

    "90% of packs sold are off - patent medicines, more than lists of transparency’s data. There are molecules without patent coverage that could become generics; nevertheless, they are only branded, where there are no generics (25% of off- patent packs)"

    So even where something could become a generic they aren't despite the lack of patents.

    Oh, and your article also mentions

    "Italy drops in the international ranking of pharmaceutical market"

    Page 27.

    It's almost as if you don't read your own citations but you expect others to do so.

    What your page fails to explain is how patents are responsible for advancing the pharmaceutical industry there.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    Citation?

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    roflmao...I see you are belittling a citation that has facts and figures that are referenced, which is much better than YOUR cites.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    The requested citation was not for whether patents were responsible for advancing the pharmaceutical industry, but that the pharmaceutical industry was flourishing after the implementation of patents, even though Boldrin and Levine predicted that their industry would likely die because of the presence of patents.

    90% of prescriptions are of generics? Why is that a surprise? That mirrors the number in the United States.

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    You missed the point that the reporter for the magazine cited facts and figures. Perhaps, being used to opinion pieces that cite such facts as "patents are worthless," you are unaccustomed to seeing facts in print. Pick up any decent almanac and you will learn to recognize them.

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    Your comment claimed that patents were created because of lobbying by big business, which, based on the historical record, appears untrue, or at least inaccurate.

    As far as people protesting in the streets about the lack of patents, neither were they protesting about freedom of the press, or freedom of religion, or a number of other things that were included in the Constitution. However, our founding fathers, and particularly Thomas Jefferson, did their best to provide for the people of the United States as best as they could. They did quite well and the Constitution survives with relatively few amendments.

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    "You missed the point that the reporter for the magazine cited facts and figures."

    where?

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    "As far as people protesting in the streets about the lack of patents, neither were they protesting about freedom of the press, or freedom of religion, or a number of other things that were included in the Constitution."

    People do protest about these things. What I do not see people protesting about is a lack of IP.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    That link. I'm still waiting for your imaginary citation that it was 7.5 percent "During the period 1980 to 1983". You seem to have made that up but I took it for granted.

     

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

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 8:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    "even though Boldrin and Levine predicted that their industry would likely die because of the presence of patents."

    That's not what was predicted. Again, you're still missing the point and your citation does nothing to refute it.

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    It's a group that represents the italian pharmaceutical industry, little different than how the MPAA represents the motion pictures industry. What they put out isn't research but more like propaganda.

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 8:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    Not big business, industry. Patents were never a result of the public wanting it but only a small group of elitists. Look at their history.


    "This power was used to raise money for the Crown, and was widely abused, as the Crown granted patents in respect of all sorts of common goods (salt, for example). Consequently, the Court began to limit the circumstances in which they could be granted. After public outcry, James I of England was forced to revoke all existing monopolies and declare that they were only to be used for "projects of new invention". "

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_patent_law

    Notice public outcry against them. Never does one see public outcry in favor of patents. The ones that want them are those in power and industry lobbying those in power. This is why the founding fathers of the United States, like Jefferson, were very skeptical of patents. Jefferson was initially against them. He later changed his mind under the condition that they are very limited but not because public outcry ever wanted patents. Much of the reason states and whatnot adopted them is because industry interests wanted them.

    The people do not want these laws. Where are the mass protests in favor of these laws? I see mass protests in favor of free speech and whatnot but never in favor of patents. It is industry that lobbies for them.

     

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

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 8:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    (note, I am not merely looking for a site that has facts and figures. I am looking for a site that has relevant facts and figures, relevant evidence to what you/it claims).

     

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

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 11:31pm

    Re: more dissembling by Masnick

    Then go complain to Alex Tabarrok, you jackass.

     

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

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 2:33am

    From ipwatchdog.com:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2013/07/10/surfboards-and-umbrellas-solar-power-patents -for-summer/id=43104/#comments

    Gene Quinn comments:

    You should know that not every patent is commercialized, and not every interesting patent has a corresponding product on the market. You should also know that it is virtually impossible in many cases to find products that are covered by a patent even when they do exist. So why do you demand that we either provide links or apparently don’t write such articles?

    Get a grip.

    -Gene

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2013 @ 11:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Perhaps Fixated on One Issue?

    and it has nothing to do with the fact that it costs million of dollars to litigate a patent dispute?

     

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

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 12th, 2013 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Not patents as such: lawyers and The Rich.

    All based on actual evidence right?

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This