This is a lucrative time for intellectual property. Earlier this year, Kodak, the bankrupt company that invented the digital camera, sold its portfolio of 1,100 digital photography-related patents to a dozen licensees, including Apple, Microsoft and Google for $525 million. Last spring, Google bought Motorola Mobility with its 17,000 patents, for $12.5 billion, to protect its Android mobile operating systems from rivals. Also last year, Microsoft acquired 800 patents from AOL for more than $1 billion, only to turn around and sell 70% of them to Facebook for $550 million in cash. Read More »
I have been a hunter and gun owner throughout my life; prior to moving to Massachusetts two years ago, I owned three guns, a shotgun, a rifle, and a semi-automatic 9mm pistol. I enjoy hunting and target shooting and believe there are legitimate uses for guns.
I am also an applied economics professor in the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose research focuses on the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of policy. I have therefore followed the discussion of gun control with interest.
The United States has a long history of regulating firearms. Normal citizens cannot bear nuclear arms, they can’t bear rocket launchers, tanks, or a long list of other arms. There are also severe restrictions on owning fully-automatic guns. These restrictions effectively make them illegal for most of us. Given this history, policymakers should focus on how best to balance the enjoyment citizens get from owning and operating certain types of guns with the obvious real danger such weapons present.
Christopher Knittel is a Professor of applied economics, MIT Sloan School of Management