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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Never Ask a Luddite to Fix Something

Professor Reynolds points to this and asks “IS THE PATENT SYSTEM stifling nanotechnology?”

Follow the link and you will find that the article is sourced from the ETC Group.  My long time readers (heh) may remember that I consider the ETC Group Luddites and an anti-science group.  ETC is known for such howlers as calling for a “mandatory moratorium on synthetic nanomaterials"  Looking to the ETC Group for direction on nanotechnology is like looking to the American Communist Party for direction on free market economics. 

Professor Reynolds is a libertarian scholar and knows the value of the market. In order to fund research and development one must obtain funding and that funding is based upon the ability to protect the R&D investment.  The ETC Group and the “Innovation Partnership” have started an all from war on bio and nanotechnology.  This is their strike against the value of the technology.

The patent system has a bunch of problems; the patent offices of the world are slow and have historically had trouble with new technology.  The plastics industry and the electronics industry faced these challenges during their early phases; those seem to have been worked out to everyone’s benefit.  The U.S. Patent system is the goose that continues to lay golden eggs why should we listen to Luddites to find solutions. 

Some of my proposed solutions for fixing the patent system are here.  Unfortunately, I came up with these without funding from “governments, industry and NGOs” that help ETC Group and the “Innovation Partnership.”   The top three are:

First, identify new technologies early on and develop the infrastructure to rigorously examine patent applications in those areas.

Second, establish meaningful inter partes opposition in the Patent Office that allows the party challenging validity to be fully heard and does not precluding further argument in district court.

Third, establish a unique district court with jurisdiction over patent cases.

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