Maybe Patents Aren't Such A Hot Idea

from the time-to-rethink-your-assumptions dept

Last year, the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights issued a report saying that developing nations were probably better off without intellectual property laws like those we have in the US. For many poor nations, the report determined, such laws would be much more harmful than helpful. Rather than stimulating innovation, they helped to raise prices and stifle innovation. While that report has been mostly ignored, more and more evidence is showing up every day to support that. Now, some research coming out of Berkeley shows that societies without patent laws may be much better at creating innovation. Of course, this will come to no surprise to many people – but it’s good to see more research supporting this idea. It’s important to promote innovation in society – but too many of those who support our intellectual property system refuse to take a critical look at it to understand whether or not it really does what it is supposed to do. In many cases, when it can be shown to inhibit, rather than promote, innovation, we are told that there simply is no better system, and we should live with it. This is a dangerous position to take and will end up doing much more harm to our abilities to innovate.


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Comments on “Maybe Patents Aren't Such A Hot Idea”

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2 Comments
Munich says:

My Take is a Little Different

> societies without patent laws may be much
> better at creating innovation

My reading of the article was that different societies may do better with different patent laws based on the underpinnings of their economy (agricultural, technical, etc.) and culture, NOT a blanket statement that societies without patent laws do better.

But one can speculate on theory or look around and decide where innovation is actually happening today.

Part of the issue with patents is that today a lot (but certainly not all) of research depends on large amounts of capital being dedicated by for-profit organizations. Without some protection from that innovation just being copied (say, a new drug), why would a corporation invest the resources?

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