Investing in America’s Future – why the patent system and software patents are key to our future

For a thoughtful analysis on the symbiotic relationship of innovation and the patent system in the United States, please take time to read David Kappos recent article in Stanford’s Technology Law Review: Investing In America’s Future:How the Debate over the Smart Phone Patent Wars (Re) Raises Issues at the Foundation of Long-Term Incentive Systems

In the article, Mr. Kappos quotes Pasquale J. Federico, the famous USPTO patent judge and initial drafter of the 1952 Patent Act:

“Since the beginning of our country science and invention have been inextricably interwoven with the patent system. To endeavor to separate them in retrospect and examine each independently of the other would be futile, despite the fact that occasionally the comment is heard that our industrial progress would have been as great regardless of whether this country maintained a patent system. Such commentators predicate their remarks upon nothing stronger than idle conjecture and baseless assertion. No one can faithfully say what the industrial history of this country would have been without a patent system, but this much can be said, that with one it has been greater than that of any other country. As long as these principles apply, namely, that our industrial development is the greatest on the face of the globe, and secondly, that such development is and has been inseparably connected with the patent system, time consumed in speculating on the ability of one of these factors to survive without the other should be time wasted.”

As I have noted before, the unquestionable success and dominance of the software industry in the United States, particularly compared to the rest of the world, is a fact that never seems to phase the opponents of software patents, who continue to drone on improbably that software patents are destroying the software industry.  Come on, seriously, after 30 years can we at least get a break from that prediction?

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