Saturday, 20 August 2011

Trolls and tolls

Interesting piece by Tim Harford (The Undercover Economist) in the FT about patent trolls. He says:

The three pillars that enable patent trolling are: the existence of absurd patents; the forbidding cost of the legal process; and the business model of buying up patents as assets in their own right, rather than building blocks for innovation.
Concludes that more transparency in the market, better information about the prices at which deals are done, would help. It shows how tricky it can be to tell a troll from a legit toll collector - which is why that third pillar cannot simply be removed. But it does all come back to the widespread malaise of treating IP as an end not just a means to an end.

As for the first of those pillars, if only we could get away from stupid patents, how much better the world would be - but if the patent system is there, people are surely going to keep trying to get them.

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