by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 11th 2007 6:42pm
Patents are supposed to be about promoting innovation. But these days it's clear that the original purpose of patents has long since been disconnected from the program. In fact, if you want to see how bad it's become, here are two separate stories that highlight how decisions over patents are increasingly all about lobbyists, rather than actually figuring out what's best for innovation (though, I guess you could say that for all politics these days). However, read this Washington Post article on the silly Qualcomm/Broadcom patent fight, that we've covered before, where apparently both sides knew that the whole fight was about hiring lobbyists to get Congressional Representatives to support its side. Nowhere in that discussion do they bring up what's actually right and what's best for the country (in fact, the article notes that Broadcom's win will probably mean new mobile phones are about to get more expensive), but it's all about whose lobbyists were more effective. Meanwhile, we ignored the story last week about the House passing the latest patent reform attempt, because it's meaningless until it gets Senate approval as well -- and as for whether or not the Senate approves it... well, once again, that seems to be up to the various lobbyists who are now scrambling. Again, it's amusing to see either side on this debate argue that it's "big companies" against "little guys." It's big companies on one side against big companies on the other -- and the real question being bandied about is who is going to be able to better exploit the system -- not what's best for innovation.
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