Listen to this post here:
If you care even a bit about patents, you should be in one of those camps:
- You want the current patent system to prevail, because for now, you enjoy its rewards
- You would like the current patent system to massively change, at least for the software industry
I claim there is a third new option, that no one seems to talk about, and that it is not only fair, but has financial reward system built-in as well.
But before I reveal this other possibility, let us take a look at the real motivation for the patent system to exist altogether.
I am not a lawyer, so I'd like to provide you with a practical cause for patents to exist.
I'd say patent rules were created to reward a result gained out of massive effort or the creation of an unexpected possibility. In both cases patent rules were put in place to reward a result that is unlikely to achieve. Additionally patents rules were put in place to bring to halt, any attempts to make use of this unique result (patent), without rewarding the patent creator.
Lacking those rules, people were less likely to put their resources to find new better ways to make things happen, because others will make use of them, without putting any effort or rewarding the patent creator.
So patents were actually created to foster innovation…
It is my claim that it was also expected that this unexpected result (invention or patent) would have practical use. Otherwise, what is the point in discovering something that no one can (feasibly) use?
Those two sentences define the new direction patents should abide to.
Nowadays companies create patents that cannot be used by them and even patents that cannot be used at all. They do it, just so they can lock in that idea, and have others who believe those patents can be useful, pay them.
Previously resources were put in place to invent, but now they are also being massively deployed to block (others innovations).
This of course puts a stumbling block in the way to innovation. It seems impossible to break the vicious cycle, because it looks like too many people could lose money, if the current system gets phased out. As time passes, there is more money spent on patents, resulting in spiral damage, same as black holes aggregate energy, drawing any new innovation into their worm tunnels, leaving no escape route for new stars to thrive.
Here is my idea on pulling innovation out of patent black holes:
Let you use any patent you like, while you reward the patent creator, according to the sales or value you actually gain.
People should be able to use any patent created by others, as long as they pay a fee to the patent creator, based on actual sales or value gained for the product or service they created, in case this product was based on those patents.
Turning this patent wheel to the new direction I mention, will turbo-charge innovation, as patent owners will seek innovators to use their patents, since they get rewarded as well. Innovators will sip from the river of knowledge and will then create better solutions, bringing them to market, faster. Companies can re-direct their resources from blocking, to innovating. Lawyers will still be needed, to formally post patents, yet those patents will be used to innovate, rather than pull down entrepreneurs.
This road is not trivial as well. There are issues to resolve, but so far, each time I look at a challenge related to this new way of dealing with patents, I see those issues are already part of our lives. I refer to issues such as tracking patent use, figuring out how much people should pay for using our patent.
Bottom line, the new proposed system, is based on the concept of a universe of abundance, while the current system is based on a world of scarcity.
In which of those universes do you prefer to live?
Meanwhile, take a look at this new service, which allows innovators who try to find their way, and post a patent, to get some advice (crowd sourcing): Ask Patents
If you feel strongly about patents and read my post, you would not want to miss voting here:
I believe that even if you work in a big corporation, you'd want to hop into Ask Patents from time to time, and check out queries regarding patents that your company has expertise in, see what cooking in the innovation pot, before it hits the street…