[ExI] Problem with Pattents

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Fri Feb 22 18:49:44 UTC 2008

On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 4:26 PM,  <ablainey at aol.com> wrote:
>  I can't see how introducing a barrier or set of hoops can accelerate it. If
> you mean that two inventors working on the same problem rush in order to
> beat each other to the clerks office, then this would be no different from
> them rushing to market. Only they would have extra work in order to secure a
> patent before going to market. This can take a long time, time which could
> increase as more inventions are registered and need to be checked against
> any new inventions.
>  I would be interested if you have any links to support patents speeding
> innovation. And I agree that IP systems cannot be reduced with just a quick
> bit of banter. If they could, I wouldn't have posted.

Any manual of IP law would serve the purpose. The theory behind the
patent system is that, very roughly:
- it provides an incentive not to opt for the alternative and more
traditional protection offered by industrial secrets, when the latter
is an option, that may in turn end up in monopolies of undetermined
duration or loss of technologies, and prevent them from becoming part
of the state of the art after a predetermined period;
- it compensates for the higher marginal costs of the developer, which
in a perfectly efficient market would never be otherwise recoverable,
thus effectively preventing the economic sustainability of any R&D

Of course, all that comes at a cost for the society. It remains to be
seen whether the cost is higher than the utility. I suspect the latter
to be the case for pure software patents, for instance. But we are
discussing issues that can be *measured*, at least to an extent, so
personal hunches are not so relevant.

Stefano Vaj

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