The following is excerpted from an August 4, 2011 post by Larry Kahaner at the McGowan Blog on Business Leadership and Ethics published by The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund:
The founders of the United States believed that patents were so vital to a growing capitalist nation that they included intellectual property protection in the Constitution. Without a doubt, patents have been a cornerstone of innovation for which the U.S. has led the world. In fact, I believe that innovation can lead the U.S. out of the current recession if it’s not hamstrung by what I have dubbed ‘patent perversion.’
We see it in the pharmaceutical industry, where innovative companies are held hostage by generic drug makers who threaten to make a clone and are paid extortion money not to do so. In this case, the patent laws are not protecting the company that has taken the R&D risk.
Now, the Justice Department is investigating whether some high tech companies including Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion (maker of the Blackberry smartphone), are playing fast and loose with the intent of patent laws by scooping up a portfolio of 6,000 patents in order to cripple Google’s Android software. The consortium calls themselves “Rockstar Bidco.” Don’t ask.
As a nation whose strength has always relied on innovation, creativity and risk-taking, this practice of patent perversion keeps us running in place and not ahead of the pack.
Read the full post here.