A Couple Videos About Our Crazy Patent System

from the you-might-enjoy... dept

We're hearing more and more talk about how broken the patent system is, and recently came across a pair of videos we figured some of you might enjoy. The first is a comedic riff on Apple's recent page turn design patent, leading Ron Charles to post an amusing video of how Apple might explain its patenting of "letters":
There are some good lines in there. "Everything we've done, is designed to be very capable, but also familiar. So our goal, was to take all the amazing things that people like to do... and own them."

On a slightly more serious note, economist Alex Tabarrok, has put together a video arguing for the end of software patents:
It's not a bad video, though I think the analysis is a bit overly simplistic, in that it kicks off with the idea that pharma patents make sense. The more you dig into the details of pharma patents, the more you realize that's not true either. However, even granting that, the argument he makes is the commonly seen economics argument that, at the very least, things like pharma and software display such different economic characteristics that it's silly to use the same patent system for both. Specifically, the sunk costs of innovation for software tend to be relatively low, so the protection a patent grants might not be useful. It also notes how patents can impede innovation. One thing I'm happy it includes is a note about how you get less innovation when you don't have competitors pushing you to keep innovating. That's a point that often gets missed in these debates.

Either way, I figured folks might enjoy both of these videos.

Filed Under: patents, software patents, videos


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  1. icon
    jameshogg (profile), 12 Dec 2012 @ 8:22pm

    Aren't patents just indirect forms of taxation, where the money goes straight to the inventors?

    If so, an independent, non-profit (government body?) organisation should decide if inventors ought to be rewarded for what they find, and how much.

    This way a) the inventors cannot discriminate against who gets to clone the invention and still get rewards, and b) the scientific process does not get distorted by politics, as only those actually cloning the invention will get taxed whereas those who choose not to will not get taxed, on top of innovators being free to carry out R and D without needing the permission of voters and getting the right share of profit (if it indeed does make profit in the end - if it does not, a flat tax across everybody may be more suited since this category of R and D would just be general scientific research).

    Also, I think this clip from House MD is worth posting. You all remember when House completely destroyed Vogler, right?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSlMthRW5AU

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