Study suggests patent protection may dampen innovation

January 30, 2012

Results of a new study by researchers from UCI and the University of Kansas suggest that, contrary to popular belief, greater amounts of innovation, productivity and social wealth may occur when people are required to pay damages for illegally using an invention rather than prohibited from using it at all.

The study reinforces earlier findings by the researchers - UCI associate professor of informatics Bill Tomlinson and professor Andrew Torrance of the University of Kansas School of Law - offering that the most innovation may result when receive no protection from the legal system.

Using the "Patent Game," an interactive computer-based model that attempts to simulate patent systems, Tomlinson and Torrance conducted controlled experiments to evaluate the merits of property rules (which expressly prohibit people from utilizing a patent owner's ) and liability rules (which require infringers to pay damages but do not bar them from using an invention).

"Conventional wisdom says people will invent less if property rights are not strongly enforced," Torrance said. "However, we found that the threat of prohibition actually dampened innovation."

The pair's latest study appears in the spring issue of the Yale Journal of Law & Technology.

Explore further: Briefs: Japan debates on Internet TV patent law

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4 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2012
As it stands right now, any would be inventor is going to pay extremely high just to get patent rights thanks to recent changes, which places such patents out of reach for any financially strapped would be inventors. this, of course, then favors established corporations as the keyholders, so to speak. Couple this with the nefarious practices of legal suppression of any patents that share similar factors, which then almost always places such a patent in the richer parties control( *cough* Apple *cough*), and whatever innovation may have existed is now filtered and controlled. End result, technology suppression.
not rated yet Jan 30, 2012
Agreed. All it takes is money to steal a patent. And once stolen, all it takes is more money to keep others from stealing it.

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