by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
patent reform, patents

Clear & Concise Explanation Of The Problem With Patents

from the more-voices dept

More and more people are adding their voices to the growing consensus around the massive harm that the patent system is doing to innovation within the tech industry. PC World's Katherine Noyes has a great article that lays out a clear argument for why the patent system is making things worse for consumers. Here's just a snippet, though the whole thing is worth reading:
5. Innovation Is Being Squelched

Software innovation depends heavily on the exchange and iterative development of new ideas, but such exchange is precisely what software patents are designed to prevent. Numerous patents have been granted that are excessively broad, too, making it virtually impossible to develop original software without fear of infringing.

6. Small Companies Are Being Shut Out

For all of the above reasons, you could be the most brilliant and creative software developer ever, but if you don't have pockets deep enough to pay hefty licensing fees and start a patent war chest of your own the way Google is being forced to do, you are simply out of luck. End of story.

7. Consumers Pay the Price

Small businesses suffer as a result, but ultimately the even bigger loser--as always--is the consumer. Under this system, control of ideas is falling into the hands of the companies that are big, fat and unable to innovate, simply because they have the money and no other easy way to earn more. That, in turn, means the little guys--the innovative ones--can't bring to market the next big thing that could change consumers' lives, at least not without a heavily inflated price.
It's nice to see that more and more people are making it clear that this isn't just some "fringe" opinion, but such feelings are extremely common among folks throughout the tech industry -- supposedly the people patents are supposed to protect most. When those people hate and/or fear the patent system, clearly something's wrong. So why is Congress' only move to make the system worse?

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  1. identicon
    staff, 21 Aug 2011 @ 7:28am

    patent bill is bad for America

    "More and more people are adding their voices "

    That's because more and more are being paid to write biased propaganda pieces like you.

    "patent reform"

    Just because they call it “reform” doesn’t mean it is.

    The patent bill is nothing less than another monumental federal giveaway for banks, huge multinationals, and China and an off shoring job killing nightmare for America. Even the leading patent expert in China has stated the bill will help them steal our inventions. Who are the supporters of this bill working for??

    Patent reform is a fraud on America. This bill will not do what they claim it will. What it will do is help large multinational corporations maintain their monopolies by robbing and killing their small entity and startup competitors (so it will do exactly what the large multinationals paid for) and with them the jobs they would have created. The bill will make it harder and more expensive for small firms to get and enforce their patents. Without patents we cant get funded. Yet small entities create the lion's share of new jobs. According to recent studies by the Kauffman Foundation and economists at the U.S. Census Bureau, “startups aren’t everything when it comes to job growth. They’re the only thing.” This bill is a wholesale slaughter of US jobs. Those wishing to help in the fight to defeat this bill should contact us as below.

    Small entities and inventors have been given far too little voice on this bill when one considers that they rely far more heavily on the patent system than do large firms who can control their markets by their size alone. The smaller the firm, the more they rely on patents -especially startups and individual inventors.

    Please see for a different/opposing view on patent reform.

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