How The Patent System Is Like A Broken Web Cache
from the kills-the-pace-of-innovation dept
And yet, the patent system is quite different. The whole basis is that you have to delay things.
You can observe the same phenomenon on moderated blogs, but on a much tougher scale. There, it can take hours for people to be able to build on and improve upon ideas, as the bottleneck is that much thinner. If somebody needs to manually approve a comment in a particular location, thatís basically a guarantee that there will not be a meaningful improvement of ideas in that location.The obvious retort is that innovation is different than a discussion. But, that's not really true. So many studies on innovation have shown that it's an ongoing process and that a big part of that process is often communication with others (not even directly about the innovation at hand) to replenish ideas and to keep things fresh and moving forward. It actually has many characteristics of a discussion.
Now, imagine a twenty-year web cache server. If you come up with a good idea, people wonít be able to improve on your ideas and take them to the next level for twenty years. Another twenty for a total of forty years before you could respond in turn. You suffer. They suffer. The exchange of ideas as a whole doesnít just suffer, it crawls to a near-stop, its velocity measurable only by laser precision measurements.
If five minutes of wait time kills the rate of ideas as much as it really and actually does in all our experience, what would a timescale of decades do?
So, with that in mind, Falkvinge's point is even stronger than you might think. He goes beyond just arguing that innovation is slowed down for the twenty year patent delay, to basically say that innovation is stifled to a much greater degree, because the necessary participation, experimentation and idea generation by others is so stifled, that they don't even take part.