Inc. Magazine Against Necessary Patent Reform

from the but-why? dept

Late last year, the FTC came up with a series of pretty good suggestions for reforming the patent system. They pointed out that the current system was hindering, rather than helping innovation. It was a good start, and a surprising declaration from a government that has been slow to really focus on necessary reform to the patent system. So, along comes Inc. Magazine to trash the recommendations, saying they’ll be bad for small businesses. Of course, they don’t actually back this up. They quote someone saying this will harm innovation because there won’t be incentive to bring products to market. That ignores the fact that many patents these days aren’t being used to bring products to market but to prevent others from bringing products to market without paying exorbitant licensing fees. The article trashes three aspects of the reform: allowing the USPTO to declare more things as obvious (and, thus, not patentable), taking into account whether patents are being used to stifle competition instead of create new products, and making it easier to challenge a patent. All of these seem like suggestions that will promote, not hinder innovation by making sure that the patents really are covering innovative ideas. Of course, Inc. Magazine seems to take the position that “more patents = more innovation” which is not true at all.

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Comments on “Inc. Magazine Against Necessary Patent Reform”

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Carl E. Person (user link) says:

Patent Law "Reform" - Inc. Magazine Article

As an inventor and small businessperson, I want to take this opportunity to express where reform is truly needed. The fees involved in obtaining and maintaining patents are so oppressive that only the rich can maintain their patents and the inventions (and patents) of less wealthy inventors are either not obtained or are given up before the end of the full patent term. Fees paid to the patent office by individuals for patents to be owned by them should be reduced to a nominal amount, to enable the technology to be marketed after obtaining patent protection. Presently, fees are so confiscatory that the small inventor has no money left to develop and market his/her invention. High patent fees turn patent protection into a playground exclusively for major corporations and wealthy individuals.
Carl E. Person

Chip Venters (user link) says:

Patent reform

Mike, I find your ongoing commentary about the patent system to be somewhat inconsistent with your views on other issues. For example, you seem to side with the P2P people from the standpoint that their networks are great new technology that happens to have some nefarious uses, and banning P2P to stop illegal file trading is sort of like banning cars because someone might rob a bank, or be killed in one. You are saying that the patent system is bad, and should be radically changed, since it is hindering innovation. Yes, there have been some controversial patents issued through the years, just as some illegal mp3s have been traded in P2P, but its no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Without the patent system there would be no way to protect intellectual property, and thus no reason to create it. Wouldn’t you be upset if a company of 100 times your size and resources started, threw a gazillion dollars at it, and claimed you are a hack?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Patent reform

Who said I was throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

My position is consistent in that I believe whatever promotes innovation should be encouraged. In the case of the patent system, I believe it’s currently hindering innovation. Reforming it could encourage innovation.

With P2P, I believe it’s helping to lead to new innovations.

Both are about encouraging innovation.

Where’s the inconsistency?

Chip Venters (user link) says:

Re: Re: Patent reform

Encouraging innovation, and what it takes to do that, is the issue. The US is still the most innovative country on the planet, and many would argue, among other reasons, that a strong intellectual property protection system is key. I know our small company is in business ONLY because our patents give us some protection against the big guys. We know that without them, our products would be stolen or copied…no questions asked. So we are innovating our butts off as a result. Otherwise, I’d probably be in a cubicle in the Valley, wondering about pink slips.

Love your site…keep up the good work.

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