About a dozen years ago, Amazon's Jeff Bezos (taking a fair amount of criticism for his one-click patent) helped fund a project called BountyQuest
, which offered up prize money for those who were able to bust bogus patents. To his credit, the first patent they put forth was Bezos' own one-click patent -- except then very little happened, and BountyQuest faded away
. While it has occasionally used its own patents (such as suing B&N over that one-click patent), Amazon tends to be on the receiving end of tons of ridiculous patent lawsuits, leading Bezos to speak out about the broken patent system
yet again in an interview with the UK publication Metro:
"Patents are supposed to encourage innovation and we’re starting to be in a world where they might start to stifle innovation. Governments may need to look at the patent system and see if those laws need to be modified because I don’t think some of these battles are healthy for society. I love technology, I love invention, I like rapid change, and really it’s the golden age of wireless devices and mobile devices."
I'd argue that the "starting to" understates where we are in this process. There's significant evidence that the problem has been around for a long, long time already. Of course, I'm curious just what kind of legislation Bezos thinks is right. Having his voice added to the debate on patents certainly would be helpful, given how so many in Congress still seem to think that there isn't a real problem here.