Broken Patent System

benbuie | 8/22/12

For about a year I’ve been thinking about all that’s wrong with the patent system. It started with a nice  piece done by NPR called “The Patent War.” I was blown away that there are faceless companies with offices in Texas and all they do is suck up patents and litigate against them. We do not have patents to support technology thiefs.

The patent law was written in 1790 to “promote the progress of science and useful arts,” but today it is doing the exact opposite. I was reminded of this by a TED talk I watched yesterday called “Embrace the remix” by Kirby Ferguson. The talk focuses on what is creativity, but it has some very vivid contrasts. My favorite is the fact that much of the technology Steve Jobs used to get started was actually created by many over people and companies. He combined it in a way that was successful, but he would have failed had companies like Xerox patented things like a scroll bar, or a gui interface. Contrast this fact with Apple’s patent of the slide to unlock, and multi-touch, which is nothing more than a business trick to hord technology and stifle innovation.

If you would like to find out more, Brad Feld has a couple good posts on the subject:

About the Author

Ben currently works as a contract web developer and business consultant in Boulder, Colorado.

His passion for entrepreneurship led him to study business and learn to code. Although he never anticipated working on the web, Ben has spent the past 9 years learning everything he could about building and operating websites and web assets.

When not at work, Ben spends a lot of his time with family. He is married to a “beautiful” woman and they are raising 4 energetic boys. In his spare time he loves keeping up with technology, playing guitar, eating Sweet Cow ice cream, and painting (although he has very little time for painting these days). Other than that, Ben is a supporter of freedom and liberty, a fluent speaker of Russian, and he tries to be a humble follower of Jesus.

Read more about Ben.