Will Patents Go Away?

You have no doubt heard me complain endlessly about the patent system and how patents are granted to companies that did not invent technologies. It is a major problem and the government is taking steps to address these obvious shortcomings in the patent system.

But having said this I think it is always fair to offer opposing viewpoints and here are some thoughts from Joe Kiani, the founder and CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Masimo. His company was awarded over $100 million dollars when they successfully defended their patents.

Here is an excerpt:

Perhaps they don’t recognize the unintended consequences of the changes they’re seeking. But the Chinese certainly do. In a November 2007 article in Chinese Intellectual Property News, Cheng Yongshun, a respected Chinese intellectual property judge, wrote that this bill will be "friendlier to the infringers than to the patentees in general, as it will make the patent less reliable, easier to be challenged and cheaper to be infringed." That, of course, will allow more knockoff Chinese products to flood the U.S. market.

So while the supporters of this bill may benefit in the short term from unrestrained patent infringement, I believe that they and the rest of the world will suffer in the long run.

American ingenuity and innovation are beacons of progress for the world. But they can’t survive without strong intellectual property protection. At a time when our economy is slowing and health care costs continue to rise, lawmakers must encourage innovation by strengthening patent protection rather than weakening it. Regrettably, this bill, as it now stands, would do the latter.

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