Joe Hadzima, Senior Lecturer, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship
From The Huffington Post
Much of the talk about the U.S. patent system generates a lot of heat, but little light. We hear complaints about how the system doesn’t work and varied suggestions for fixing it. However, it’s not really broken. It serves its original purpose of granting exclusive rights to inventors for a set period of time in exchange for disclosure of the invention’s secret sauce (i.e. – disclosure to spur innovation).
The problem is that society is not getting the benefit of this bargain. Part of that is due to the very technical descriptions found in patents today. They are dense and complex; it often takes a legal team and technical experts to make sense of them. It’s no wonder that patents aren’t sources of inspiration for innovation.
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 »