Patents != innovation
Posted Oct 16, 2007 0:54 UTC (Tue) by sepreece
In reply to: Patents != innovation
Parent article: A visit from the trolls
I've already said I think software patents could go away without affecting innovation, so you're basically preaching to the choir. However, (a) they did implement it, (b) the problem with copyright is that it protects only the specific implementation, which is obviously much weaker (if the goal is to provide protection that increases the value of innovations) than patents (c) the problem with trade secrets is it's hard to protect a "secret" that's part of the user interface, and (d) in the mid-1980s the barriers to innovation in the field were significantly higher. These guys, and the rest of the PARC crew, came up with central innovations because they were smart, because they were working together, and because innovating was their full-time job, because their employer wanted to drive innovation (and reap the attendant benefits).
Things are very different today; that rate of change is an obvious reason why the 20-year terms was a mistake.
Not sure what the reference to auto parts is meant to suggest - all of these protections are available to people who invent auto parts (copyright only in a limited number of places). [And note that copyrights last a lot longer than patents and that the non-visibility of trade secrets is the key argument in favor of patents - by forcing inventors to trade disclosure for protection, it enables others to build on top of the patented innovations.]
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