Scientists Feel That Patents Cause Significant Harm To Research

from the anyone-other-than-lawyers-and-monopolists-like-these-things? dept

In the last few years, as more and more problems with the patent system have come out, we've seen some defenders of the patent system try to categorize and compartmentalize the problems. They'll say things like "well, maybe patents cause some problems with software" but they're important elsewhere. The problem is that in pretty much every area they claim patents "work" for, the actual evidence suggests otherwise. For example, there's been a belief among many that patents are hugely important to scientists. A few years back, we saw that this wasn't necessarily true, with many scientists complaining about the damage done by patents -- especially when it came to collaborating and sharing ideas -- a key and important element of creating useful and compelling research.

Michael Geist points us to a recent survey of scientists who say that IP protection has a negative impact on their research. It's greatly slowed down the ability to do research, as universities (thanks to the dreadful and damaging Bayh-Dole Act -- which has significantly hurt progress in scientific research) are trying to hoard anything that can be patented for the sake of profit, rather than scientific advancement. Of course, advancement doesn't work that way. It works through collaboration and sharing ideas -- and what patents do is add a huge bureaucracy to the process, encouraging secrecy, not sharing and hoarding, not collaboration. Once again, we're seeing that about the only folks who really truly benefit from patents are the lawyers.

Filed Under: bayh-dole, patents, scientists


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  1. identicon
    Oliver K, 27 Jan 2009 @ 12:17pm

    Response

    Mike,

    I was not saying that commercialization can only occur with patents, however your artcile implied that the ONLY thing patents were good for was generating lawyers fee's. I am not sure why people are attempting to flame you, as the things you say in your article are not completely wrong. I'm sure patents do TEND to stifle the flow of information which slows scientific advances.

    The question you should be posing is would whatever alternative to patents you are saying exists give the same monetary drive to invest in this R&D.

    And for the rest of you, flaming is pointless. This would all be much more interesting if you debated points instead of calling Mike names... you lot are the reasons internet forums and comment boards are often useless.

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