It appears that the world of oldmedia has woken up like one to the fact that patents prevent innovation — in fact, that it’s their very function — and how harmful they are to the economy and our development.
The Pirate Party has been saying exactly this since its inception in 2006. The patent system drains resources from innovation and research to administration and litigation, and allows incumbent companies to kill innovative upstarts in courts of law rather than forcing them to compete in the marketplace against newer and better companies. In short, the existence of patents ensures that the biggest company wins, rather than the one with the best products.
The problem has been that this has been a very hidden aspect of the economy. But with Apple forcing Samsung to take popular products off the shelves, and Google spending over 12 billion US Dollars on litigative capability rather than innovation, all the oldmedia have woken as one and are decrying the patent system, not unlike ye olde dragon. Everybody is repeating what the Pirate Party has been saying just like those papers were our own flyers.
There was the American public service National Public Radio / This American Life with the longer in-depth When Patents Attack. New York Times is calling the whole deal “disturbing”. The Economist has a piece which explains why patents hinder rather than help innovation. The Guardian notes that patents make companies find it more valuable to sue each other than “actually making things”, and calls the whole construct “foolish”. Washington Post writes that “instead of spurring innovations and entrepreneurship, patents are being used … by cynical lawyers to stifle and discourage them.”
These are certainly no small words. It is extremely strong language, and from some of the most respected oldmedia, condemning the patent system and its effects as a whole. I didn’t think I would see this from oldmedia for many years yet.
In Sweden, we have the paper Expressen who went all out in an editorial and demanded that companies should be forced to compete on the market rather than in courtrooms.
The patent system as a whole is harmful and needs to be dismantled. It can not be “fixed”. Its very function is to monopolize innovation and forbid people from improving technology.
I am happy to see that oldmedia and eldermedia is finally coming clear on this, and in this very unambiguous language to boot.