Patents-Innovation Debate: The War Goes On

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I got a taste of things to come just after I’d posted my observations ‘The Patent-Innovation Circle of Progress’. Many of my friends in the profession called up to express their opinions, one side or the other. My follow-up post ‘Patents Lead to Breakthroughs in Medical Technology generated even more heat, although you’ll notice that I was just quoting from previously published articles in both cases.

The debate is now raging in many parts of the web. I found the Mises Economics Blog’s response to a post in the Patent Law Blog (Patently-O) quite interesting. Dennis Crouch (Patently-O) summarized Meurer & Bessen’s arguments from their upcoming book “Do Patents Work?” to pose the question ‘Do Patents Discourage Innovation?’ The very next day, Stephan Kinsella came up with a ‘So What?’ on the Mises Economics Blog; responding to Crouch’s statement that

Meurer & Bessen do not suggest dismantling the patent system — rather, they believe that a number serious reform measures are needed to shift the balance back to a positive state where patents incentivize innovation.

with a tart reply,

Yes, what we need is a new Five Year Plan!

Regular debates on various issues indicate the health of a profession. Five Year Plan or not, that’s what we really need!

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