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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Patents (General)

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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The Economist on piracy and patents

This week The Economist has three stories and an editorial on intellectual-property link here here, here and here . The editorial is unusual in the strength of its critique and its suggestions for remedies.

"First, patents in fields where innovation moves fast and is relatively cheap like computing should have shorter terms than those in areas where it is slower and more expensive like pharmaceuticals. The divergent interests of patent-holders in different industries have held up reform, but there is no reason why they should not be treated differently: such distinctions are made in other areas of intellectual-property law. Second, the bar for obtaining a patent, particularly for software or business methods, should be much higher (as it is in other countries), and the process of re-evaluating bad patents should be more open and efficient. Finally, there should be greater disclosure requirements of the ownership of patent portfolios, and patent cases should be heard by specialised courts (as happens in other areas of law), rather than non-expert juries in advantageous jurisdictions in Texas. That would make life harder for trolls. These fixes would help America's patent system encourage innovation rather than litigation."

The three articles cover piracy which varies widely among countries, patent warfare among big companies, and Google's bid for Motorola Mobility. Bottom line: patents legally required to encourage innovation don't now.


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