How the U.S. Patent Office Got So Screwed Up
Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 @ 15:38:16 EDT
Topic: Legal

Eye opening article from Popular Mechanics: Once a haven for innovation, over the last two decades the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been rocked by the velocity of technological change and roiled by "patent trolls." Could it be that the biggest impediment that innovators now face is the very system that was created to protect them?

"...But according to Epstein and other Silicon Valley insiders, the real goal of these lobbying efforts wasn't to kill trolls or even to curtail patent litigation. Though big tech corporations still spend many billions a year on R&D, the outlay has shifted from the R to the D—that is, the developmental work of bringing to market that which has already been invented. This means that big companies increasingly obtain their innovations not from their own efforts, but by acquiring them from startups, small inventors, and universities.

One way to make those acquisitions cheaper is by weakening patent protection. You make it harder to sue. If a patent no longer protects an invention as strongly as it once did, a big tech company is in a much better position to negotiate a lower price for licensing a patented invention..."

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