Patent Laws and Innovation – AOL Google Yahoo and Microsoft Sued for Patent Infringement

Cade Metz in San Francisco has a nice article at The Register about a new lawsuit by a Texas patent holder against “Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft And (yawn) AOL“.

It’s all part of the shell game that is called patent law in the USA.

Some people erroneously think that “ideas” can be patented, which is part of the problem that US courts have created in not sticking firmly to the basic patent principle that INVENTIONS can be patented, but IDEAS can not be patented.

One unpatented idea is the widely spread notion that patent law drives innovation, for which there is limited empirical evidence. Quite the contrary, some patent laws in the USA and elsewhere may serve to stifle invention:

TechDirt: New Study Shows Patents And Innovation Are Not Related

Against Monopoly:
Patents Don’t Drive Profits
Patents generally don’t drive profits. Boosting R&D spending can increase the number of patents that a company controls, but there is no statistical relationship between the number or even the quality of patents and overall financial performance
referring to a

Booz Allen study

reviewed by Paul B. Brown at the

New York Times

where he writes:

This is the second year Booz Allen has conducted the study. “Analysis of the 2005 Global Innovation 1,000 confirms the major finding from our initial study last year,” the authors wrote. “Money simply cannot buy effective innovation.”

ACSBlog: Patent Law Stifles Drug Innovation

Digital Majority:
What’s wrong with software patents?

There are of course contrary voices about the influence of patent law, e.g.

IPcentral Weblog: Patents in the Direction and Landscape of Invention is a posting which refers to Petra Moser’s How do Patent Laws Influence Innovation?, part of the Abstract of which reads:

This paper introduces a new data set of close to fifteen thousand innovations at the Crystal Palace World’s Fair in 1851 and at the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 to examine the effects of patent laws on the direction of innovation.

Hmm. 2007 is not 1851 or 1876. Is this relevant to the present problems in patent law?

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