Patent Office Hires Economist To Add Some Actual Evidence To Patent Policy

from the that-would-be-a-start dept

One of our biggest complaints about the way intellectual property policy is handled around the world is how little of it is evidence-based. It almost appears entirely based on the idea that patents and copyrights must be "good" and thus "more" must be "better." Yet there is, at this point, overwhelming evidence of the harm caused by these policies, and there is almost never any attempt to actually address that and reconcile this with the fact that the Constitution is clear that copyrights and patents are only there to help "promote the progress."

Given all this, it's interesting to hear, via Jamie Love, that the USPTO has hired economist Stuart Graham to the newly created position of "chief economist." Love notes that Graham's appointment comes with the mandate to compile economic data while doing a true economic analysis of patents for the USPTO. This seems like a good thing. I did a quick search on Graham's previous research and came up with a a listing of some of his research -- and at a first pass, it bodes well. He's done work on how post-grant opposition to patents can improve quality of patents (pdf) and also has done research on patents in the pharmaceutical world, noting that there is a disconnect between patents and actual product development. In fact, that same study found that increased R&D doesn't appear to be an indicator of greater product development at all. This is an important finding -- because plenty of studies have shown that patents may increase R&D in an area, but there's is little evidence (if any) that patents actually increase innovation in any area. A while back, he also looked into the economic evidence on software patents (pdf) and appears to be at least skeptical of the need for software patents -- though, he also admits that a lot more evidence is needed there (and worries that there could be harm in just getting rid of software patents too).

Anyway, he's done a lot of research in this area, and definitely does seem to really be focused on evidence-based policy. Hopefully, having him on staff at the USPTO, and continuing to do this kind of work, while introducing a more evidence-based approach to how patents really impact "progress," the USPTO can start to move away from supporting the faith-based approach of "patents must be good for innovation and progress," towards focusing on policies that actually do lead to greater innovation.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    mike42 (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 3:48pm

    Or

    ...Or else they hired a critic to make him change sides. +1 for the government/corporations, -1 for the people.

    I hope I'm wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 4:13pm

    You forgot to analyze the most important characteristic of the economist.

    Even more important than his qualifications or what he has studied in the past.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    How long is his signature?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 4:20pm

    Re:

    What do you mean?


    Ronald J. McDonald,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.mcdonalds.org - RJM at McUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.McInventor.org - RJD at McInvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.McPatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation of McDonalds
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Mayor McCheese
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 555-0194 / (202) 555-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2010 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re:

    Well Played sir. Well played.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Reason2Bitch (profile), Apr 5th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re:

    I don't believe it. You are FAKE

    Everything looks believable. The giveaway was "9 am to 8 pm EST", with your job description

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    "....and at a first pass, it bodes well. ...
    ...Hopefully, having him on staff at the USPTO, and continuing to do this kind of work, ... the USPTO can start to move away from supporting the faith-based approach of "patents must be good for innovation and progress," towards focusing on policies that actually do lead to greater innovation"

    As usual the Masnick withholds final approval until he knows whether or not the new guy will support the correct religion or not.
    If the USPTO had hired Masnick instead they wouldn't have pay for the research and could get the conclusions today - much more efficient !.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    staff, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    evidence-based

    "...how little of it is evidence-based"

    How true, especially as it applies to your column.

    Patent reform is a fraud on America. It is patently un-American.
    Please see http://truereform.piausa.org/ for a different/opposing view on patent reform.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 7:26pm

    Re: evidence-based

    If only shills for ugly and poorly designed websites were un-American.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 6th, 2010 @ 11:06pm

    Re: evidence-based

    How true, especially as it applies to your column.


    Odd. I have been asking you and Ronald to present *any* evidence that supports you position since you first showed up here. I have presented dozens of studies and research that support mine. To date, you have done nothing but falsely accuse me of shilling for Microsoft (which is funny because I disagree almost 100% with Microsoft's patent policy).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This