@TechDirt, patents are necessary

Stumbled upon this little dittie here:  Article about something to do with science in the public good, but I only read the sentences that had the word “patent” in them.  {Kidding.}  Here’s a quote:

The problem, it turns out, is that as with patents there is no actual data to back this up. Kealey points out that there is no historical or econometric data anywhere that supports this claim. For example, he points to the OECD’s sources of economic growth report (pdf), where it found very high correlation between economic growth and countries that had high levels of private R&D. When it came to publicly supported R&D, the report found no impact on economic growth… but, more worrying, it found evidence that public funding of science tended to crowd out private funding of R&D, which (again) correlated highly with economic growth. Now, of course, correlation is not causation, and there may be many other factors at play here. However, it is interesting that there doesn’t appear to be any direct evidence that public expenditure in science leads to economic growth.

Bolding mine.  So let’s trim it even further:

… very high correlation between economic growth and countries that had high levels of private R&D.

Color me silly, but I would argue that the reason private R&D works (i.e., contributes to growth) is because of the patent system that protects all the money spent on R&D, in that you have to pay someone to use ideas and technology that they in turn paid to researche and develop.   The patent licensee (or purchaser) can then take your leg up and build on it.  Right?  Fair?  Equitable? What am I missing?

Incidentally, this is why NPEs are so irksome: they buy patents not to further innovate, but to litigate.  “Innovate, don’t litigate” is a phrase that begs to be screen printed on t-shirts with a patent troll in a little red Ghostbusters circle-with-a-slash graphic over it. Something like this only nicer:

Proceeds from sales going to me, of course.

Just sayin’,



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