Bonum Certa Men Certa

It's Official: Patents Stifle Innovation

"IP is often compared to physical property rights but knowledge is fundamentally different."

--Professor Joseph Stiglitz



Summary: Scientific study supports what everyone already knows -- that intellectual monopolies reduce pace of progress

From Glyn Moody comes the following valuable pointer:

i. Patents Don't Promote Innovation: Study

It's extraordinary how the myth that patents somehow promote innovation is still propagated and widely accepted; and yet there is practically *no* empirical evidence that it's true. All the studies that have looked at this area rigorously come to quite a different conclusion.


Moody adds the following:

ii. G8 on Intellectual Monopolies: Not so Great

Alongside the main show of the G8 circus, there are a number of supporting acts that run in parallel with it. One of these is the “G8 Intellectual Property Experts Group” (IPEG).

[...]

As you might expect, IPEG gets terribly excited by the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), but there's something else it is also in favour of, that is new to me...

[...]

This kind of confusion is typical of a document that has a distinct air of desperation about it. It suggests that the fans of intellectual monopolies are beginning to flail around for a handhold – any handhold – in an attempt to defy the pull of history, and to lock down knowledge through the use of overlong copyright and overbroad patents while they can. It is a further sign of increasing irrelevance of the G8 meeting as power begins to shift to the developing world, which has quite different ideas and priorities when it comes to enforcing Western monopolies on their internal markets.


And in other news, Mike Masnick uses the following story to show how patents can damage the environment by impeding competition.

iii. Toyota Builds Thicket of Patents Around Hybrid To Block Competitors

The Japanese company is betting the rules will give an advantage to its expanding lineup of hybrid vehicles, and it also aims to boost revenue by licensing to other car makers the patents that protect its fuel-saving technologies.


This all sounds wonderful for Toyota, but what about society as a whole? There have been other notable examples recently of patents that harm global climate and then there's Bill Gates' latest anti-philanthropy and promotion of US drug patents. How are hostage situations beneficial?

"The current “patent thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure to encourage innovation" —Pr Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Laureate in Economics), IP-Watch

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