defending the right to innovate
Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.
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There is a nice interview with the president of Ultimate Fighting Championships (Dana White) in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, on June 7th, in the Sports section. This sport now seems to be bigger (in terms of revenue) than both boxing and WWF. Who came up with the idea? According to White: "this thing started in 1993 when a bunch of TV guys wanted to answer the question, "What fighting style is best?" Would a boxer beat a wrestler? And so on .... These guys never knew they were creating a sport at all. They just sort of fell into it." Innovation here proceeded as it often does -- through good luck.
Yesterday's New York Times had an obituary for Calvert DeForest aka "Larry (Bud) Melman" of "Late Night With David Letterman" fame. It reported, as some of you may remember, that NBC claimed ownership of the Larry (Bud) name when Letterman moved to CBS ---- and Calvert was barred from using the name again. Another example, perhaps small, of the evils of intellectual monopoly. link here
A NYT article (May 9th, p A4), "Vinters with personal flair can't brag on wine labels", discusses how a new trade agreement between the EU and United States puts sharp limits on labeling of wine bottles. It seems small European growers may not be able to indicate they use oak barrels and other methods that would distinguish themselves from the larger, more "industrial" U.S. wine makers.
Without patents, innovations will be imitated, and hence not developed. So goes the logic underlying most economic models of innovation. The case of the development of containerized shipping (a major transportation innovation) offers valuable lessons regarding this logic. If an innovation was to be easily imitated, the innovation of putting cargo in a box would seem to be a good candidate. Someone would load the first box on a ship, and then everyone would start doing it. Yet as Marc Levinson discusses in the 25 April, 2006 edition of the Financial Times, "Unforeseen consequence: how a box transformed the world," it took the industry a long time to understand how important the box would be, and how to use it. In fact, "the most remarkable aspect of its [the box] history is that no one foresaw how the box would change everything it touched, from ships and ports to patterns of global trade."
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that city plumbers are blocking new waterless urinals since they require less pipe and hence less work. In the story the reporter, Inga Saffron, contacted mayoral candidates to find out where they stood on the issue. Typical answer: no comment.
Most Recent Comments
Catching Up The Ruth Lewis post is interesting, but incomplete. The very economies that are supposedly
at 01/31/2013 07:21 AM by Anonymous
Canada - A Copyright Year in Review Hello. I don't like copyright law but I don't think it will go away in my life. I started a
at 01/02/2013 04:58 AM by Sabrina
Canada - A Copyright Year in Review Regarding the Copyright Act revision, let it be known that there was substantial opposition to the
at 12/28/2012 06:57 AM by Byte
From the Trenches Innovative remarks indeed. Cecil Quillen suggests the system needs to be modified, which I think
at 12/21/2012 06:18 PM by Anonymous
The golden age of beer innovation ""Perhaps the first reason [for the rate of patenting] is that during this period the rate of
at 12/20/2012 05:46 PM by Anonymous
Obama Transition Team Member on Holy cow. None of Your Beeswax is a Canadian (Laurier Optical is Canadian only). You don't even
at 12/19/2012 06:08 PM by Anonymous
The golden age of beer innovation Adam_Smith: Until the latter half of the 19th century, corporations routinely filed for patents,
at 12/19/2012 04:54 PM by Brewing Is Fun
The golden age of beer innovation It would seem from the account given in the previous comment that it was innovation that stimulated
at 12/19/2012 04:04 AM by Adam_Smith
Would books be published without copyright? taxpayer: "The Wealth of Nations" went through five editions in the first 13 years of publication,
at 12/05/2012 08:31 AM by Anonymous
Would books be published without copyright? I was wondering whether free-market advocate Adam Smith made much money from his books. On-line
at 12/04/2012 09:59 AM by taxpayer
Open Book Publisher Great work! Here's my quick review of the book: It seems to me that behavioral economists
at 11/27/2012 08:38 PM by Aaron Wolf
250000 Patents for Smartphone Technology Hi. Sorry for posting here as I cannot see a contact us section. How can I contact you? I have
at 11/27/2012 10:17 AM by Thomas Stringer
The golden age of beer innovation With respect to the beer innovation paper, I have to wonder whether the authors were overly focused
at 11/23/2012 08:31 AM by Brewing Is Fun
The golden age of beer innovation With respect to Christian's comment that "there was rapid innovation without recourse to patents,"
at 11/21/2012 03:16 PM by Beer Innovation
250000 Patents for Smartphone Technology I have seen several analysts who believe that the number of patents in this area indicate that our
at 10/24/2012 08:40 AM by Anonymous
Would books be published without copyright? Gael: I would be curious as to how much copyright litigation is costing. I have never seen any
at 10/19/2012 01:12 PM by Anonymous
Would books be published without copyright? I think it's going to evolve towards a better system with or without copyright. Right now copyright
at 10/19/2012 11:46 AM by Gael N.
Patents and Secrecy Of course patents are not the "only" answer. That is just plain dumb. There are multiple business
at 10/13/2012 08:47 AM by Anonymous
Open Book Publisher Thanks for the great book, and for making it free culture. It's worth mentioning that they don't
at 10/12/2012 04:41 PM by Chris Sakkas
What the New York Times Should Have Asked What is the patent number for the
at 10/09/2012 08:44 AM by Anonymous