Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill
policy-making, technical standards development, and technological
innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we
know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property
conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of
copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying
and the law, and more.
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.
In effect, the argument goes, the patents form a roadblock that impedes both useful commerce and necessary research. This argument runs in parallel to their more fundamental argument that genes - as naturally occurring sequences - are not patentable inventions. Given the disastrous state of current law and practice on what is and is not patentable, I think it's wise to make both arguments since any attempt to apply what would seem to be common-sense logic to our current patenting practices seems guaranteed to produce only stress and gray hair.
As to my own point of view, I think Stiglitz's economic arguments are important and moderately persuasive. I have not read the extensive evidence submitted in the case but I'm willing to believe that the plaintiffs made a convincing economic case, which undercuts the "patents are a necessary incentive" argument I've believed in the past.