14 January 2008

Patent reform… but the right reform, PLEASE!

I have been on record for a few years saying that the current patent process, and in fact the entire intellectual property protection system is skewed and completely unfair. Beyond the fairness, it is structured in such away that we (consumers, business people, etc.) do not maximize the economic value of innovation.

Flat out… meaningful innovation, the kind that changes the game, generates new jobs, adds significant value, and super charges the economy does not come from the corporate world. It comes from entrepreneurs. It comes from Steve and Steve, Bill and Dave, Larry and Sergey… in the garage… making history. These are the folks that need protection. These are the folks that did NOT have a million dollars in the bank and a building full of lawyers, yet this is what it takes to protect the little guy’s idea.

In this past Sunday's New York Times, John Markoff writes an oped piece that bypasses the crucial issues and focuses on all the wrong issues regarding coming legislative changes. This conversation, and the coming legislation, should not be about big business vs. small start-ups. It should not be democrats vs. republicans… it should be about cultivating a fertile economy for new ideas, prosperity, jobs and innovation encouragement.

The current state of intellectual property protection for entrepreneurs is so hostile that scores of smart people with good ideas (this blogger included) have put those ideas on the shelf and are taking respite in corporations, academia or semi retirement waiting for a time when their bright new idea won’t get cannibalized by the patent trolls or squashed by the corporate giants.