Maybe Patent Trolls Wouldn't Be So Hated If We Called Them Patent Elves
from the presto-chango dept
However, Joe Mullin points us to a rather odd paper, suggesting that non-practicing entities are a good thing and should be called "patent elves" rather than "patent trolls." Part of what makes this paper so odd, is that one of the writers works for that law firm that recently advertised that it wouldn't work with patent trolls. Meanwhile, I guess it wants to let those "patent elves" in the back door.
As for the actual paper, it's really not all that different from earlier papers that try to present non-practicing entities as a boon to competition and innovation. They're all based on a few faulty assumptions, however. This latest one is basically a massive broken windows fallacy. That is, it basically states "if specialization is good, more specialization is better" in that it creates more economic activity. What it fails to do, however, is take into account how the market is distorted by that greater economic activity. Just as the broken window fallacy doesn't take into account the hidden costs of what kind of economic activity would take place in the absence of the broken window, this paper fails to take into account the innovation that occurs in the absence of the patent-holding non-practicing entity -- and simply assumes (falsely) that the patent holder is the key component in driving the innovation forward. Instead, it's much more likely that the patent holder represents the broken window -- a cost that detracts from more efficient economic activity, such as actually bringing a product to market where real innovation occurs.