Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Patents and Innovation

I have read that the rationale behind the modern copyright act was to encourage innovation. (As opposed to the old copyright act which was a form of censorship.) However, is this the way things have worked out?

I was watching a recent episode of GeekBeat on high end 3D printers when the host John P asked the guests why it was that there is now an explosion of cheapish 3D printers. The answer was quite surprising. It was that the patents on 3D printing have now run out. So for the last 25 years there has been an effective road block to innovation in 3D printing and that now that the patents have run out there is an explosion in innovation.

So - what is the take away message from this? The modern patent and copyright legislation does not encourage innovation. It leads to price gouging, massive law suits, stifling innovation and creativity and huge profits for large powerful organisations.

It is high time that there is a massive overhaul to the patent and copyright laws, but I fear that the rich and powerful will never allow that.

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