Patents law benefits almost no-one and absolutely hurts everyone. The whole tenet of ideas and concepts having inherent value is stifling innovation and growth.
For example, the Apple vs Samsung patent war has cost/won and lost billions of dollars. With no gain for you or I.
For many years, influential thinkers have argued that the solution to the patent problem is form of Open Source. This revolves around the concept that ideas should be encouraged to develop and evolved without the financial restriction of pay-based licensing.
Economists suggest that open-source is knowledge good – suggesting that the original work involves work that is not incurred in the re-production phase so additional users may be added at a low marginal cost. Patent creates a monopoly so the price is significantly higher than this marginal cost, the original creator can therefore turn a profit in the absence of a single payer.
However, for every product there is a sprawling micro-economy that, by leveraging the usefulness of the invention can monetise quite successfully. There are lots of examples of this in the digital world, including WordPress, Apache and Linux.
But it’s not just software, we recently saw Tesla tentatively agree to release (indirectly) all it’s patents related to electric vehicles, battery systems and associated automotive patents. This might well be the most important release of Intellectual Property (although the traditional car industry has been doing this for 100 years).
And, how about Open Source Cola!
Does it matter?
Yes. We’ll get better products, cheaper and faster. We’ll also find that products work together easier and up with more choice. More for Less is the outcome.
There will be losers, and some suggest product innovation will slow down but most disagree – products are created from passion, the funding required comes from opportunists that see the possibilities of leveraging a product in the marketplace.
Is this the beginning of the end of patent wars?
Inspired by Elon Musk’s “All Our Patent Are Belong To You” blog post on the 12th of June.