The Idea That Women Need More Patents, Copyrights And Trademarks Shows Up In Newly Proposed Law
from the missing-the-point dept
Last month, we reported on some silly research that suggested the economy would grow massively if we could just convince women to get more patents. The whole thing was based on some fundamentally silly assumptions related to thinking that patents are a proxy for either innovation or economic growth. They are not. Plenty of studies have shown no link between patents and actual innovation — and lots of other studies have shown that patents seem to be costing the economy a lot more than helping it.
Unfortunately, however, it appears this idea that women need more patents has somehow made its way to Congress in a new bill — and (just for fun) it also says the same about copyrights and trademarks. Senator Olympia Snowe (with Senator Mary Landrieu) have introduced S.3196 to create a “National Women’s High-Growth Business Bipartisan Task Force.” By itself, that seems like a good idea. It’s no secret that the tech industry has a much higher percentage of men than women, and there’s been quite a reasonable concern about why that is and if it’s healthy for innovation and the economy. And most of the proposal seems reasonable, if somewhat unlikely to accomplish anything meaningful.
But, then there’s this part, which says that among the duties of the task force will be to:
examine the link between women who own small business concerns and intellectual property, including—
(A) the number of patents, trademarks, and copyrights granted to women; and
(B) the challenges faced by high-growth small business concerns owned and controlled by women in obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights.
Once again, this is merely making the assumption that women need to get more patents, trademarks and copyright — and that they need help “enforcing” them. Why make such an assumption? Why not start with a more neutral question that explores whether or not such government granted monopoly privileges actually help innovation or the economy? It seems weird to immediately jump to the conclusion that women need more IP.