Bonum Certa Men Certa

“Open Source“ to USPTO's Rescue?

BetaNews editors have apparently found a nice slant. They decided to describe the revised system for patent applications as an 'Open Source' approach. Would it not be ironic if one of the biggest victims of this system turned out to have justified and assisted that very same broken system? Here is how it works:

The goal is to expedite the discovery of "prior art" - creations that existed before the applicant for a patent claimed he invented them. If successful, the Peer-to-Patent Web site could become a kind of SourceForge for intellectual property integrity.

Herein, there seems to be a gentle implication that an open source approach simply works better. It assists innovation and combats duplication. Reviewers realise and acknowledge this. Meanwhile, over here in Europe, an internal document has been leaked. It reveals that even those who are inside the system are overly skeptical. Have a look at this article from The Register:

European Patent Office (EPO) staff have "worryingly low" levels of trust in the organisation's highest governing bodies, according to a leaked internal document entitled Governance of the EPO: a staff perspective.

As pointed out the other day, Microsoft too had realised that software patents are a bad idea. It was only later when the idea suited them better that they had a change of heart. Suddenly, as a giant, abuse of monopoly power seemed appealing. Have a look:

The [patent] sceptics say there is no scientific evidence that proves a link between innovation and patents. Besides, extended patent periods provide an opportunity for rent-seeking (through royalties). Also, while it has been argued that patents facilitate competition by encouraging the entry of start-ups, the critics opine that they mostly create short- or long-term monopolies.

Isn't hypocrisy a funny thing? The same goes for deadlocks in the industry. Patents lead to a cyclic trap where small businesses are abolished while large one can grow infinitely strong.

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