Forget Actual Research; Suing Over Patents Much More Lucrative For Scientists

from the wonderful dept

Last year we wrote about how HP was hiring a bunch of scientists, not to work on the new and better products -- but in order to study competitor's products for potential patent infringement. Now, a new article is highlighting how many people with training to become scientists are shifting their focus and heading off to law school to become patent attorneys instead -- and the big IP law firms are paying exceptionally well for law graduates with science backgrounds. Consider this yet another unintended consequence of our screwed up patent system: it's now much more lucrative for those with an interest in science to focus on patent infringement lawsuits than on actual innovation. Of course, considering how many scientific researchers claim that their research is stymied due to fears over patent infringement, perhaps it's no wonder that many are figuring that's a better field to go into.

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  1. identicon
    Andrew, 24 May 2007 @ 4:28am

    A reminder

    I'd like to remind all here that the internet is Serious Business, and thus it's very important that we argue our little hearts away with argumentum ad hominiem as much as possible. This has been a public service announcement.

    With that out of the way, I think that the concept of patents are very important — they give incentives to innovate and come up with new ideas, but unfortunately last too long and currently tend to prevent a lot of innovation. With that said, there are a few things we could do to make them work better.

    • Decrease the time a patent lasts. In the current climate, 20 years is just far too long to have a monopoly on an idea

    • Cancel patents if they're not put into a product within a certain number of years. This stops patent-squatting

    • More rigorous criteria on the types of things that can be patented

    • More changes I can't think of right now

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