from the no dept
Outgoing director of the US Patent and Trademark Office famously likes to claim that the US patent, trademark and copyright systems are the “envy of the world.” Here’s just one recent example:
The fact is, the explosion of innovation—and follow-on litigation—that we see across consumer electronics hardware and software is a direct reflection of how our patent system wires us for innovation. It’s both natural and reasonable that in a fast-growing, competitive market, innovators would seek to protect their breakthroughs using our patent system. While our IP system is not perfect, it is the envy of the world. It’s the strongest in the world, by far. That strength encourages investment and provides assurances to entrepreneurs as they enter the U.S. and global markets. At the same time, our focus on quality in the patent examination process overall ensures that patents are granted for true innovation, and not otherwise.
There are all sorts of fallacies or outright questionable statements in that one paragraph, but the popular IP blog, IPKat, decided to put that “envy of the world” argument to the test… and found that its readers don’t agree. At all.
Do you envy the US its patent system? (300 responses)
Yes, it’s brilliant 19 (6%)
Maybe, if the America Invents Act works out 28 (9%)
No way! 253 (84%)
Do you envy the US its trade mark system? (170 responses)
Sure, it’s great for owners, competitors and consumers 23 (13%)
I might if I could only understand the Lanham Act 41 (24%)
Never! It’s convoluted, complex and contradictory 106 (62%)
Do you envy the US its copyright system? (162 responses)
You bet! Google could not have been created anywhere else 18 (11%)
I might if there was some consensus as to what it actually is 56 (34%)
Not in this life or for many years beyond it! 88 (54%)
Yes, this is an internet poll, so reasonably-sized grains of salt should be applied. However, it was taken on a popular IP focused blog, so you would think that if the US’s system was really envied, the IP practitioners who read the blog would speak up positively.
It makes you wonder: are the US systems for copyright, patents and trademarks actually envied anywhere around the world, except, perhaps, by lawyers who might profit off them?