US Patent Boss Completely Clueless: Insists That Patent Fights Show The System 'Wires Us For Innovation'

from the oh-come-on dept

Last week, there was a fascinating full day conference on ways to fix the patent system. There was a lot to digest, and I’ve been working on a much longer post about it, which I may not finish until next week. Someone from the USPTO was in attendance, and at one point stated that director David Kappos fully “heard” and understood the problems that people were complaining about, and that he fully intended to fix the system. Apparently someone forgot to tell Kappos. In a talk today, he completely blasted “complainers” telling them to “give it a rest already.” His argument is that the America Invents Act — the completely toothless patent reform that passed last year after being stripped of almost everything useful — was just implemented, so we should just sit around and twiddle our thumbs while hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted due to bogus patents and disputes.

Except to Kappos, all that dead weight loss is a sign that the system is working. Why? I have no idea.

Indeed, Kappos suggested that the volume of patent litigation in the smartphone industry was a sign that the patent system was working as intended. “The explosion of litigation we are seeing is a reflection of how the patent system wires us for innovation,” Kappos said. “It’s natural and reasonable that innovators would seek to protect their breakthroughs using the patent system.”

Note the giant and very questionable assumptions in the middle of that one: that it’s “innovators” seeking to “protect” “breakthroughs.” I’d argue that none of the three things in quotes is accurate. Quite frequently it’s lawyers who haven’t actually innovated at all looking to shakedown actual innovators for broadly worded patents that never should have been granted, and which are being interpreted to cover things they don’t really have anything to do with. That’s not innovation. It’s extortion… backed up by the US government. It’s a travesty.

Even worse, Kappos is still relying on the absolutely ridiculous “study” that the USPTO put out earlier this year, despite the fact that its methodology has been widely debunked for including grocery store baggers as “IP innovators.” Sorry. And, if you look at what their actual report shows, it suggests that patent-intensive businesses aren’t doing so well. Somehow he ignores that. Of course, perhaps that’s why his office rejected a promised interview with me earlier this year, and could only defend the patent claims by arguing the most bizarre correlation argument in the world, that because Steve Jobs was innovative and had patents, therefore, patents worked.

Rather than address any of the real and well documented concerns with the patent system, Kappos apparently just decided to spin a fairy tale. He insists, as he’s done in the past, that stronger patents automatically create more incentives, even as the evidence suggests that’s not even close to true.

More recent research has estimated that litigation by patent trolls costs the economy at least $29 billion per year, and that figure may be as high as $83 billion.

Rather than engage in this empirical debate, or even acknowledge its existence, Kappos acted as though it was self-evident that stronger patents always create a larger incentive for innovation.

“To those commenting on the smartphone patent war with categorical statements that blame the so-called broken system on bad software patents, what I say is: get the facts. The facts don’t support your position.”

With all due respect, Mr. Kappos, we do have the facts. And they support the position of software patent critics.

It’s sad that Kappos sends his lackeys to Silicon Valley to claim that he’s “listening” and then spews such pure crap. The system is broken and either Kappos is lying or clueless. Neither reflects well on him.

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Comments on “US Patent Boss Completely Clueless: Insists That Patent Fights Show The System 'Wires Us For Innovation'”

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60 Comments
MrWilson says:

I think he is right…just in the wrong kind of way.

Patents do encourage innovation…in the filing of patents.

To use the Cold War metaphor, patents are like nuclear warheads. You build a bigger arsenal in order to intimidate others and then your competitor “innovates” by building their own arsenal.

And just like the patent absurdity and game-ending scenario of mutual assured destruction, patent proliferation doesn’t end well for anyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Patent proliferation will be a huge asset for lawyers and judges.

I completely agree that patents enccourage patents. He is missing the problems of divergence of skillsets (you cannot seriously believe that enyone can write patents well, control the economy well and know the area you are innovating in well at the same time!) and as a consequence the removal of economy in the actual sphere of “innovation” and increase in “litigation” actually hampering innovation. Not seeing it is likely a problem of his job depending on not seeing it!

Anonymous Coward says:

US Patent Boss Completely Clueless

It’s sad that Kappos sends his lackeys to Silicon Valley to claim that he’s “listening” and then spews such pure crap. The system is broken and either Kappos is lying or clueless. Neither reflects well on him.

If you find this sad, I hope no one tells you that Janet Napolitano (head of D.H.S.and the person in charge of U.S. cybersecurity) is an apparent Luddite that doesn’t even use email to communicate.

out_of_the_blue says:

So software industry has matured...

Just as, say, electronics did around 1925… When suddenly a bunch of patent suits popped up in the new field! Has it ever occurred to you that the current mess is a perfectly natural artifact of “capitalism” when a new field matures? Every good idea is already taken, so the struggle becomes legalistic wrangling to gain a monopoly and get unearned income. — No, bet it hasn’t. You’ve got a mania on patents and see everything from one narrow perspective rather than the over-arching similarities and flaws of the system that you just happened to be born into.

Your trouble isn’t with patents as such, but with those wanting unearned income. It’s a major flaw with “capitalism”. Grifters are always looking for ways to skim: vastly easier to gain money that way instead of making products.

I’ve a one-size-fits-all solution that will reform the system as you seem to wish: TAX THE HELL OUT OF UNEARNED INCOME!

Click here for Mike “Streisand Effect” Masnick!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
Help make Mike the #1 quipper on the net! — Click one for The Quipper!

MrWilson says:

Re: So software industry has matured...

Why does it seem like half the time anymore you’re not even actually disagreeing with Mike, but you still claim to disagree with Mike because you’re obsessed with being oppositional towards him.

To summarize:

Mike: “The patent system is flawed.”

OOTB: “I disagree. Mike, your perspective on patents is flawed. And the patent system is flawed!”

Tex Arcana (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: So software industry has matured...

Problem is, capitalism is anarchy is it isn’t bridled–meaning there MUST be some form of regulation to prevent the capitalists from doing unfair, unsavory, and/or illegal things to gain their monopoly (Microsoft, MAAFIA, SCO, Apple, etc).

If you like companies waging open warfare on their competitors and customers, then you like this step with the PTO. Otherwise, you need to make your voices heard, and get those bastards out of office.

Forest_GS (profile) says:

Re: So software industry has matured...

“TAX THE HELL OUT OF UNEARNED INCOME!”

That kinda makes sense, but it would be nicer if we didn’t have these unnecessary court battles in the first place…

Your proposal would still let failing companies drain startup companies, effectively letting them destroy new competition, as they are doing currently.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So software industry has matured...

TAX THE HELL OUT OF UNEARNED INCOME!

Now, do you even know what the IRS considered to be ‘unearned income’? A little surprising, but that would be welfare benefits, social security, any money that comes in from an insurance filing… Yeah, let’s take the money away from people who need it to give to the vultures who are locking everything up so they can make it more expensive and widen that gap.

Idiot.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Here's something I just learned about from Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation

That proposal is well-intentioned but ultimately a terrible idea. It creates a massive central repository of cultural works, somehow automatically determines which ones are derivative, and assigns royalties by tracking the frequency of downloads/uses. We know this is bad because MP3.com tried this exact thing and it was a disaster.

Rick Falkvinge wrote about this approach on his site, and has commented on the proposal itself as well.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Here's something I just learned about from Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation

What I like about the P2P Foundation is that there is considerable discussion of potential problems with any idea that is proposed.

Trying to get an economic system largely based on commons can be utopian (and we’ve seen how those have fared in the past), but what might be different this time is the network (plus there’s a realization that our current world economic system isn’t well equipped to deal with an exploding population expecting endless growth on a planet being hit with significant environmental disruptions.

Overall, I don’t like simplistic solutions to complex problems which is why I don’t always buy into us-versus-them thinking I see in politics or the IP discussions that go on here.

The P2P Foundation is the one place where I have found a willingness to tackle a problem, pull it apart, look for the flaws, and give it another go.

In general I like commons-based thinking and hope there are some workable models. I’d love to see a system where there is no need for Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. I’d like to replace big tech with very decentralized tech and no corporate ownership.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Here's something I just learned about from Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation

The network will not be different, I’m afraid. What is touted as “decentralised tech” will become centralised, as the proposal by necessity requires that the network must become the sole method by which culture is distributed. If it isn’t, then the numbers produced by its constant surveillance cannot be trusted, so what purpose is there in the surveillance?

So it becomes the single culture network, and of course to stop darknets from cropping up, all of the culture must likewise be chained into the system, lest it be distributed over BitTorrent or on a USB key and not be subject to counting. E-readers must keep track of your reading habits to properly calculate royalty fees to authors. Songs must not play unless they can phone home to say “person 4e592a381bc838067b07 has started listening to song c58eb0af6be0bcb760fb; please forward payment of six cents”. Computers must not boot until payments for use of the payrighted operating system can be sent through to all of the individuals up the creation chain.

In the end, we have for ourselves the perfect universal cultural prison, which we built to save ourselves from cultural imprisonment.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Here's something I just learned about from Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation

So it becomes the single culture network, and of course to stop darknets from cropping up, all of the culture must likewise be chained into the system, lest it be distributed over BitTorrent or on a USB key and not be subject to counting. E-readers must keep track of your reading habits to properly calculate royalty fees to authors.

I wasn’t talking about the network in reference to this particular example. I was talking about a network in the grander scope addressed by the P2P Foundation. This particular concept might not work because of the problems pointed out, but what might make a global P2P society work better than past utopian experiments is an ability to know who needs what where and how to deliver it. The network itself would be decentralized as the Internet was originally conceived. The concepts proposed on the P2P site are decentralized energy production, decentralized manufacturing, decentralized agriculture, a decentralized financial system, and so on.

The reason I like this approach is that I think big tech will (and already is) making a power grab just as big corporations in the past did. I don’t trust big tech any more than I trust big ag, big pharma, big energy, etc.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Here's something I just learned about from Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation

Here. This explains the philosophy. I have absolutely no connection to the organization. I just enjoy it as a resource. Some of what I read in Techdirt about the need to drop IP laws still seems very corporate: it’s a way to enhance the business opportunities of relatively recent businesses (especially ones tied to Silicon Valley) rather than to truly transform global economics. The players have changed over the decades, but the thinking is the same: let’s grow big, which will give us a competitive advantage and more clout in DC.

That’s why I find the P2P Foundation more experimental in its thinking.

P2P Foundation:About – P2P Foundation

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Here's something I just learned about from Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation

This is a good overview of what I’d like to see. The emphasis is on commons; the network facilitates peer-to-peer everything and eliminates corporate-owned entities as much as possible (perhaps entirely).

Shareable: The Boom of Commons-Based Peer Production: “Physical production is impossible without natural resources. Therefore, peer production won?t be able to realize its full potential unless access to resources is managed according to its principles. Digital peer production treats knowledge and software as a commons. Likewise, physical peer production needs to manage resources and means of production as commons, utilizing them in a fair and sustainable way and preserving or improving their current state. For this it is important to find modes that ensure that nobody loses out and that everyone?s needs (whether productive or consumptive) are taken seriously.”

Anonymous Coward says:

ofcourse he is right, masnick thinks that if you copy someone elses idea, that somehow you are creating innovation,, but you are not, you are making yet another version of something that has allready been done.

if you develop your own method of doing something, the world then has access to at least 2 methods of doing something.

so it is very true, patents and copyrights FORCE innovation, and limit just making a copy of what someone else have come up with.

masnick thinks if Apple and samsung use the same techology and innovations that is somehow better for ‘the people’ but all we get is the same thing with a different name on it…

how much better is it, when if you buy a different product you get SOMETHING THAT IS DIFFERENT from other products..

thats why patents and copyright ensure innovation. It forces people to make things better and different.. it stops people making something that someone else have allready made.

I have no idea why masnick cannot understand this simple fact, he claims to have knowledge, and in particular knowledge of these subjects.

So I wonder why he cannot express THE TRUTH on these issues..

instead, he tell us that if Apple copy what samsung does in their products the consumer is better off !!!!..

wow, we can buy the same technology under two different brand names. how much better would it be if those two brands had different technology and innovations allowing the consumer a choice of which one they feel is better..

it seems like the whole world has easily working this simple fact out, but after years and years of ‘research’ masnick is still unable to grasp such a simple and necessary concept..

ive seen examples of willful stupidity before, but none are even close to Mr Masnick !!!! it almost appears he is a willful retard..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

As a reminder, almost no product is ever an exact copy of another.

Mere copying, with no variation, doesn’t offer any competitive advantage unless you can do it cheaper and undercut your competitor. But in this case, it is good for consumers; products are cheaper, because competition drives their price to marginal cost.

Copying with variation allows you to add value to your version of the product and thus charge similar or even higher prices for that value. This, too, is good for consumers, because the desire to earn higher profits leads to innovations and improvements in product design (or software implementation, or whatever), and products are better.

In both cases, the consumer is better off. Products are cheaper, or they are better, or often both. But these cases do not rely on patent or copyright law to occur (see: fashion and food industries).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

ok i’ll try explaining it to you:
When B copies a feature from a product that A was the first to bring out, B needs to add something on top of that to make it more interesting and break first-to-market brand recognition. Else B will remain in A’s shadow and won’t conquer marketshare. Also A knows they’ll be copied by B,C & D who all are trying to improve on A’s first product, A needs to add it’s own improvements on their next generation product or they’ll be caught up by either B, C or D in the innovation race.

When all is said and done there is one undeniable fact: Engineers innovate, lawyers leech off innovation.

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“…masnick thinks that if you copy someone elses idea, that somehow you are creating innovation…”

Only a very stupid person would think that’s what Mike thinks.

“if you develop your own method of doing something, the world then has access to at least 2 methods of doing something.”

And if that second method is inferior, how exactly does society benefit?

“so it is very true, patents and copyrights FORCE innovation, and limit just making a copy of what someone else have come up with.”

Simply making a copy of what someone else has come up with almost never results in a market success. It’s simple-minded to think that’s all you have to do to be successful.

“masnick thinks if Apple and samsung use the same techology and innovations that is somehow better for ‘the people’ but all we get is the same thing with a different name on it…”

Again, you clearly have no clue what Mike actually thinks. Feel free to attempt to offer any corroboration of your claim.

DigitalDao says:

Re: Re: Re:

So, the commment box dropped 95% of my comment.

tl;dr – Software / business method patents cover obvious solutions to technical or business problems and thus do not promote innovation. If you patent multiplication, so that to get the product of 3x3x3 I have to use addition or pay you, that’s not encouraging me to innovate. That’s just taxing me for using logic that’s obvious in the face of the problem I’m trying to solve.

Anonymous Coward says:

ofcourse he is right, masnick thinks that if you copy someone elses idea, that somehow you are creating innovation,, but you are not, you are making yet another version of something that has allready been done.

if you develop your own method of doing something, the world then has access to at least 2 methods of doing something.

so it is very true, patents and copyrights FORCE innovation, and limit just making a copy of what someone else have come up with.

masnick thinks if Apple and samsung use the same techology and innovations that is somehow better for ‘the people’ but all we get is the same thing with a different name on it…

how much better is it, when if you buy a different product you get SOMETHING THAT IS DIFFERENT from other products..

thats why patents and copyright ensure innovation. It forces people to make things better and different.. it stops people making something that someone else have allready made.

I have no idea why masnick cannot understand this simple fact, he claims to have knowledge, and in particular knowledge of these subjects.

So I wonder why he cannot express THE TRUTH on these issues..

instead, he tell us that if Apple copy what samsung does in their products the consumer is better off !!!!..

wow, we can buy the same technology under two different brand names. how much better would it be if those two brands had different technology and innovations allowing the consumer a choice of which one they feel is better..

it seems like the whole world has easily working this simple fact out, but after years and years of ‘research’ masnick is still unable to grasp such a simple and necessary concept..

ive seen examples of willful stupidity before, but none are even close to Mr Masnick !!!! it almost appears he is a willful retard..

Anonymous Coward says:

ofcourse he is right, masnick thinks that if you copy someone elses idea, that somehow you are creating innovation,, but you are not, you are making yet another version of something that has allready been done.

if you develop your own method of doing something, the world then has access to at least 2 methods of doing something.

so it is very true, patents and copyrights FORCE innovation, and limit just making a copy of what someone else have come up with.

masnick thinks if Apple and samsung use the same techology and innovations that is somehow better for ‘the people’ but all we get is the same thing with a different name on it…

how much better is it, when if you buy a different product you get SOMETHING THAT IS DIFFERENT from other products..

thats why patents and copyright ensure innovation. It forces people to make things better and different.. it stops people making something that someone else have allready made.

I have no idea why masnick cannot understand this simple fact, he claims to have knowledge, and in particular knowledge of these subjects.

So I wonder why he cannot express THE TRUTH on these issues..

instead, he tell us that if Apple copy what samsung does in their products the consumer is better off !!!!..

wow, we can buy the same technology under two different brand names. how much better would it be if those two brands had different technology and innovations allowing the consumer a choice of which one they feel is better..

it seems like the whole world has easily working this simple fact out, but after years and years of ‘research’ masnick is still unable to grasp such a simple and necessary concept..

ive seen examples of willful stupidity before, but none are even close to Mr Masnick !!!! it almost appears he is a willful retard..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Drips “well deserved” condescension 🙂

Kappos is an idiot, everybody can see that, he is lost, doesn’t know how to argue anything probably because he knows he is in the wrong and there is no way to defend that crap intelligently so he goes begging for people to let “them” do their job which is code for “we don’t care go screw yourselves” and wonders why everyone except the few people with special interest in this situation call him dumb.

Even the government is taking a keen interest in patents trolls which they call PAEs(Patent Asserting Entities) internally and are trying to find a way to go after those.

Bizjournals: DOJ looks into patent trolls, affects on high-tech competition November 19, 2012
ArsTechnica: Feds to take a closer look at patent trolls with patent trolls
WallStreetJournal: Regulators Take Look at Patent Firms’ Impact

When patents and antitrust collide there will be blood.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

BTW, I believe mr. idiot Kappos knows that there is a lot of pressure being put into this issue right now and it is starting to show, this is why he comes out with a half-ass attempt to silence the critics, because he knows things are not looking so good where he stands, it is starting to smell bad over there because the crap is now hitting the fan and so he gets apparently angry or is desperation?

Willton says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Drips “well deserved” condescension 🙂

As does Mike Masnick.

Kappos is an idiot, everybody can see that, he is lost, doesn’t know how to argue anything probably because he knows he is in the wrong and there is no way to defend that crap intelligently so he goes begging for people to let “them” do their job which is code for “we don’t care go screw yourselves” and wonders why everyone except the few people with special interest in this situation call him dumb.

Did you even read Kappos’s prepared remarks? My guess is “no,” because that’s the most ridiculous interpretation I’ve seen of them. Perhaps you should avoid insulting the intelligence of others when you know nothing about what they say.

Willton says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“When Mr. Masnick acts like an idiot you can be sure people will extend that same treatment to him.”

Oh, they will and do, just not on this website. A demagogue’s followers rarely criticize the demagogue in his own house.

“at the moment though it is not Mr. Masnick making claims he can’t prove and trying to misdirect people.”

Really? Please explain what’s so provable about the following quote:

“Note the giant and very questionable assumptions in the middle of that one: that it’s “innovators” seeking to “protect” “breakthroughs.” I’d argue that none of the three things in quotes is accurate. Quite frequently it’s lawyers who haven’t actually innovated at all looking to shakedown actual innovators for broadly worded patents that never should have been granted, and which are being interpreted to cover things they don’t really have anything to do with.”

Where is Mr. Masnick’s evidence for the veracity of the above quote? Oh, I’ve seen Mike cite a bunch of lawsuits involving patents that he doesn’t think should have been issued, but he never provides any evidence as to why they should not have been issued. And how often is “quite frequently”? All the time? More often than not? Or is it merely the select few times that Mike data mines and puts forth as being indicative of a plague-sized problem?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Quote:

Where is Mr. Masnick’s evidence for the veracity of the above quote?

The evidence is in every corporation board today, the people being selected to be CEO’s are mostly accounts or lawyers, the most vocal proponents of monopolies are lawyers, so now is your turn where is your evidence that this is not the case?

Lawyers are the ones that are good for more draconian measures, surveillance and monopolies because mostly is that what they are trained for, they don’t make good managers at all with feel exceptions.

One only has to read the news and look for the background of the speakers to see who is and who is not doing something and it becomes clear that there is a class of people that is very much interested in some subjects than others.

Willton says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

The evidence is in every corporation board today, the people being selected to be CEO’s are mostly accounts or lawyers, the most vocal proponents of monopolies are lawyers, so now is your turn where is your evidence that this is not the case?

That’s not evidence; that’s circular reasoning. I asked for some proof of Masnick’s wild accusation, and you respond by assuming your conclusion. I know that bashing lawyers is really popular around here, but that doesn’t excuse you for begging the question. Offer some actual evidence next time.

Lawyers are the ones that are good for more draconian measures, surveillance and monopolies because mostly is that what they are trained for, they don’t make good managers at all with feel exceptions.

Something tells me that you don’t know any lawyers and have no idea what goes into their training. Otherwise you wouldn’t say something so head-slappingly stupid.

One only has to read the news and look for the background of the speakers to see who is and who is not doing something and it becomes clear that there is a class of people that is very much interested in some subjects than others.

That’s an awful lot of words that end up saying a whole lot of nothing.

Mesonoxian Eve (profile) says:

There’s a clarification which is needed. While the government does back the USTPO, it’s important to realize much of the fees the office generates does NOT stay within the office. Instead, the government appropriates those fees elsewhere, usually without disclosure.

In other words: don’t expect Kappos to change his mind anytime soon. He’s not working to ensure IP protection, but to ensure the influx of patent applications continues so the government can bilk even more millions from US citizens.

The office was turned into a joke in the 1990s, when Congress pretty much told it to fend for itself off the fees it collects.

Pretty damned difficult to do when those fees are taken.

Kappos’ job is one of the most secured in the US. Even if the country hits a depression, his job is safe. Everyone will still file patents.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Hmmmmm

The only thing I did’t like about this article is that in response to Kappos’ idiotic statement about litigation in the smartphone industry, your rebuttal focused on NPE patent trolls.

While it’s true that there are a few NPEs engaged in smartphone litigation (NTP anyone?), the bulk of the problem is overly broad or just ridiculous patents ( one click, rounded corners ) that are being used by the major players to hamper competition and chill actual innovation in the marketplace.

At $29 – $33 billion, it would appear that the sky is rising for the IP law industry.

Anonymous Coward says:

Litigation

Indeed, Kappos suggested that the volume of patent litigation in the smartphone industry was a sign that the patent system was working as intended.

In all cases, civil litigation comes from a failure to solve problems in an amicable fashion. If patents wre serving their purpose it would not need litigation to determine whether or not a patent is infringed, as the patent would accurately describe the innovation, therefore the accused infringer could look at the patent and either negotiate a license, design around it or withdraw the infringeing product.
The huge amount of patent tigation to determine the boundaries and validity of patents strongly suggests that the patent office is failing to ensure that patents actually describe an innovation rather than a vague idea which can be expanded by litigation to gain a competitive advantage, or used to extort money until ruled invalid by a court.

nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile) says:

"The explosion of litigation we are seeing is a reflection of how the patent system wires us for innovation"

And in other news…

Fire Department Chief answers critics: “The explosion of arson and forest fires we are seeing is a reflection of how the fire department wires us for fire fighting”

Prison Warden defends record: “The explosion of crime we are seeing is a reflection of how the prison system wires us for respect for the law”

Michael Bay on new movie: “The explosion of explosions you are seeing is a reflection of how explosions wires us for powerful movie drama”

Nick Dynice (profile) says:

Re: "The explosion of litigation we are seeing is a reflection of how the patent system wires us for innovation"

Said the weapons manufacturer on sales: “The explosion in wars you are seeing throughout the world shows us that weapons wires us for war.”

Or, more accurately: “The explosion of litigation we are seeing is a reflection of how lawyers are wired to find suits to make money from. It’s natural and reasonable that innovative attorneys would seek to enrich their bank accounts using the patent system.”

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

Classic example of the patent system working the way Kappos describes.

“The Wrights’ preoccupation with the legal issue hindered their development of new aircraft designs, and by 1911 Wright aircraft were inferior to those made by other firms in Europe. Indeed, aviation development in the U.S. was suppressed to such an extent that when the country entered World War I no acceptable American-designed aircraft were available, and U.S. forces were compelled to use French machines.”

“The lawsuits damaged the public image of the Wright brothers, who previously had been generally regarded as heroes. Critics said the brothers actions may have retarded the development of aviation, and compared their actions unfavorably to European inventors, who worked more openly.”

This is the good stuff the patent system can bring when yielded as a sword by the Wrighteous.

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