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05.20.13

Joseph E. Stiglitz Criticises the Patent System

Posted in Patents at 2:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Correction: Stiglitz is not a Nobel Laureate, but he won the “Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel”

Joseph E. Stiglitz

Summary: More critical words about the patent system and the way it is harming lives

The USPTO is a laughing stock. Some people ask, “Does Innovation Require the Patent Office?

It has been a long time since the USPTO truly filtered applications based on novelty. “More broadly,” says Prof. Stiglitz, “there is increasing recognition that the patent system, as currently designed, not only imposes untold social costs, but also fails to maximize innovation – as Myriad’s gene patents demonstrate.”

Here is the full article by Joseph Stiglitz. He previously criticised patents for being treated like property (“IP is often compared to physical property rights but knowledge is fundamentally different,” he allegedly argued) — a problem we are still seeing. Yes, patents are treated like assets and property rather than ideas. Even a divorce case involves ‘splitting’ patents now.

“Even a divorce case involves ‘splitting’ patents now.”To demonstrate that patents are not really valuable but are mostly hype, consider the new McAfee patent on user hostility. As Masnick’s site puts it, “there are a couple of big issues here. First, who determines whether content is illegal? As Techdirt has reported many times, the only people who can give a definitive answer are judges: anything else is likely to be plagued with errors and arbitrary decisions. Since an ad-hoc system would naturally err on the side of caution, this would inevitably lead to perfectly legitimate sites being miscategorized and thus starved of visitors.”

Not that McAfee would mind. It is not in the business is spreading information. Its patent, in other words, just helps reduce innovation by censorship.

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