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From Innovation to Rent Seeking

SterCrazy Wrote: Apr 20, 2012 7:46 AM
Patents are worthless if they are not defended. Several commenters below make the good point that intellectual property, unlike physical devices, may require different protection. But both the invention and the program or algorithm are solely the result of someone's THOUGHT. They may or may not be the first or the exclusive one to think it. Without protection, the market for inventions becomes a dog-eat-dog world of reverse engineering and NO innovation retains its value long enough to encourage new innovation. Patents and copyrights acknowledge that there is property value in creating something new. Lawyers create the ways to make defense of ideas pay.

It's often thought that the technology sector is the least regulated and therefore has been the most productive during the past couple of decades. Famously, Bill Gates had no interest in politics. "In the beginning, Microsoft tried to ignore the powerful political forces arrayed against it, hunkering down in Redmond, Washington, to focus on its core businesses," William F. Shugart wrote in the Freeman. Of course, the Department of Justice snapped Mr. Gates to attention.

And while Mark Zuckerberg says he doesn't like to vote, since hiring Sheryl Sandberg, who served in the Clinton administration, Facebook's DC presence has...