The libertarian case for patent reform

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Nice talk, thanks for the post. Is this the same Lincoln Labs as the government-sponsored military research lab in Massachusetts?

From their website:

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I’d be curious to hear elaboration on how skepticism of the utility of markets would inform an opinion that holds that government should act less in an area.

I love how he says that he’s trying to help the start-up innovator, rather than the established company. And yet it is the established company with the larger marketing muscle that will benefit most from weaker or non-existent patents, as they will be able to copy what the smaller start-up has done without actually spending substantial R&D monies, and the start-up won’t be able to stop the established company from doing so. Does he realize this?

There’s no contradiction; patent system abuse is a form of regulatory capture, something the Market is perfectly happy to engage in.

It’s not the “acting less” that’s key to reform, it’s “acting more wisely.”

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But I think the “acting wisely”, as suggested in the video and agreed by Mr. Doctorow, is in practice undoubtedly going to work out as granting fewer patents, which I would interpret as “acting less”. I suppose it’s possible to think that at some point in the future as many patents will be granted for truly original, patentable inventions, but for the foreseeable future that reform would result in far fewer patents, and thus, less interference in the market.

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But that is not what he’s arguing for, as far as I can tell. He doesn’t want to weaken patents, but rather change the criteria for granting them to better reflect what they were supposed to do in the first place. If a small innovator has created an invention that is truly original and is willing to share it, then their patent will stand and the larger company will not be able to copy it. The situation now is just a morass where only large companies can afford the lawyers to sort out the mess.

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