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09.29.09

Patents Roundup: Patents Harm Innovation (Again), Government Intervenes in Bilski Case and Still Hides ACTA

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 10:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bright idea with clipping path

Summary: Patents are found to be harmful to rapid development and the role of the United States government may help change this, despite lack of transparency and corporate bias

THE CORRELATION between innovation and patents is a subject we explore regularly and one that in the past year we’ve covered in, e.g.:

Here is another new article/analysis which concludes with:

Its true that if you put your labor into an idea then you should be allowed to consume the fruits of it, but the only reason why you put that much labor into that idea(or innovation or discovery) is because you were excluded from using someone else’s labor. Intellectual Property is a classic solution created by the problem itself, just like everything else in the world done by the government.

Mike Masnick adds:

What Kind Of Innovation Do Patents Encourage?

[...]

Petra Moser’s research comparing innovation in countries with patents to those without patents has shown that countries without patents tend to be just as innovative, but that the innovation takes different forms. Thus, patents tend to divert from the natural market of innovation to areas that are more easily “protectable.”

Of particular interest to us is the patentability of software, which according to Groklaw may finally be facing resistance from the United States government.

The Government Files its Bilski Brief: Argues For ‘Particular Machine or Transformation of Matter’ Test

[...]

What about software, then? I read the brief as sending a mixed message, or more accurately an unfinished one, and indeed the brief states that Bilski isn’t the right case to decide that issue anyway, since it’s about a method of hedging commodities trading without any computer connection.

I’m afraid I can’t make much sense out of what it says about software.

Obama’s administration has thus far been rather favourable towards intellectual monopolies. It even hides the ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13], so Masnick has this to say about the issue:

USTR: We Can’t Be Open About ACTA Because We Promised We Wouldn’t Be (*Lobbyists Not Included)

[...]

The USTR’s answer is really a convenient non-answer. It basically says that it can’t reveal the details because everybody promised not to do so. Of course, that doesn’t explain why so many lobbyists have such detailed access to the info, and why other countries have revealed the details of the negotiations.

Here is a list of some of the companies that receive access to the otherwise-super-secretive ACTA negotiation process.

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