Do Patents Really Promote Innovation?

For me, the most important lesson provided by the Sony, Napster and MGM case was to study how the law can deal with “[t]he tension between the competing values of supporting creativity through copyright protection and promoting technological innovation by limiting infringement liability.”

Both patent and copyright protections are based on the idea that people should be rewarded by the time, money and effort invested to develop a new idea. However, at the same time, too rigorous protection can also prevent people from using freely such ideas too develop their new own ideas and therefore boost the innovation process.

This editorial of the Economist strongly criticizes the current American patent system, by stating that it fails to promote innovation. In sum, the editorial argues that the patent system allows people to patent ideas that are never exploited or licensed by the owners; do not establish more rigorous requirements for what can be considered truly a new idea; and concedes protection for too long.

Differently, in this article the author provides evidence that countries with low patent protection leads to incentive to copy rather than promoting new inventions.

The answer may be on how efficiently the patent law can address the dilemma between patent protection and encouraging innovation. This (long) article describes how South Korea was able to foster economic development through a system of patents that has been constantly amended (sixteen times between 1997 and 2010) to address international standards and the constant changing of technological requirements. Also, the author supports the idea that South Korea successfully created a government organizational that incentive inventors at the same time it promotes protection to those engaged in coming up with new ideas.

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