Jan 192011
US Patents Issued per year, 1790-2008
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The NY Times has what feels like a warmed over press release talking up the rise of patent auctions and makes some very one-sided and weakly supported assertions that this is somehow good for the market of innovation. It’s not. In any way. There have been a bunch of companies trying to “trade” in patents or patent auctions, and all they’ve done is help make innovation harder by separating the idea from the implementation, and encouraging more lawsuits or extortionary techniques. Patents are no longer being used for innovation or to distribute knowledge. They’re used to create a tax on anyone who actually innovates, and comes up with the same concept that others have come up with. Amazingly, the NY Times notes none of this. Instead, it makes the following statement:

And patents, after all, are ideas. Any market mechanisms that speed up the process of figuring out what a patent is worth should hasten the flow of ideas into the economy, accelerating the pace of innovation, policy experts say.

That’s wrong. Flat out, bizarrely, backwards and wrong. Ideas don’t need a market. You want a market for scarce goods. You don’t need a market for goods that are not scarce. This is fundamental stuff and has been obvious for ages. Hell, Thomas Jefferson famously noted that very issue ages ago:

Read more . . .

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