Friday, April 16, 2010

More Thoughts on The Future of the Patent System

This article, on the question of whether the patent system is out-of-date, made me think.

Here are some of my thoughts:

I know open source collaboration is spurning great innovation, and yet I had never considered the idea that the whole patent process is too slow and hierarchical to allow for the fast-paced open source-type innovations that we see today. I think what is going to have to happen is open source work will have to be done on the internet, in chat room-type situations which can be archived chronologically. Perhaps, patents will have to handed out based upon the relative value of the various contributions, as seen by some sort of Patent court. In my opinion, you can not do away with patenting. People need the profit motive of owning what they invent. I know that in songwriting there is a formula for how wrtiing credits are handed out. When a band writes a song, the guy who comes up with the melody and the lyrics gets 50% of the songwriting credit, when he is working in a band situation. The band gets the other 50% divided between however many band members were present. These credits are divided up on the honor system. For instance, my band wrote songs as a band and then years later applied for songwriiting credit right before we recorded an album. We credited everyone who had been present when we wrote the songs, though we could have easily not credited the guys who were no longer in the band. That would be the advantage of working on the internet, in some sort of chat forum type situation. There would be a chronological record of all contributions. More thoughts to come.