Patent Reform Is Only Bad For Startups Who Rely On Patent Law

from the patents-are-not-a-business-model dept

There are some news reports coming out about "small inventors" and "startups" coming out against patent reform, but when you read between the lines, that's not what's happening at all. What's happening is that a few entrepreneurs who have relied heavily on patents as part of their business model are coming out against patent reform. That's not surprising. After all, this form of government protectionism did help them. However, that does not mean that it's good for society or promoting innovation overall (which is the purpose of the patent system). There is no single view from startups. If a startup's business model is going to rely on patents, then obviously they'll want stronger patent protection. However, plenty of startups these days don't rely on patent protections, and focus on other types of business models instead. For them, patents are a real worry -- because even as they innovate, they always need to be wary of some no-name, no-product company suddenly suing them for actually building a product people want. So, while the press and some lobbyists will spin the press conference as "startups" against patent reform or even (as they're trying to say) "startups" vs "big tech companies," it's really "startups who rely on patents" vs companies who recognize they don't need patents to innovate.

Filed Under: dean kamen, inventors, patent reform, patents, steve perlman


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  1. identicon
    Willton, 21 Sep 2007 @ 5:53am

    The Purpose of the Patent System

    You're wrong, Mike. The purpose of the patent system is not to promote innovation. The purpose of the patent system is to encourage disclosure of invention. When inventors are not given any protection as to their inventions and ideas, they tend to keep them secret and out of society's hands. The patent system gives these inventors an incentive to put their inventions out in the open and available for everyone to see and learn by giving them limited property rights over them for a limited time. It is true that we stand on the shoulders of giants, but if no one tells us where those shoulders are, we fall.

    If you want to continue your crusade against the patent system, that's fine. The system has flaws and it would be nice to see those flaws remedied. But please, don't state that the patent system is missing the target when you don't know what that target is.

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