“Innovation and its Discontents” by Adam Jaffe and Josh Lerner
There is much ammunition in this book for what I already suspected.
There is a good deal of theory and practice of patents.
Many famous patent disputes are explained here more cogently than the contemporaneous press reports.
The book suggests that patents provide a viable business model for drug research.
Clearly sometimes patents do encourage innovation.
The hardest part is generally not the invention but the commercialization of the invention.
Some pro-patent points he has missed so far:
Regarding the Rambus vs. Infineon case I thought that there were severe penalties in claiming that the inventor invented something that he did not.
I thought the penalty was much more than merely voiding the patent.
- The ‘teachings’ part of patent law produces some good technology documentation, even if it is in an obscure language.
I have no nexus on patents so I note here an interesting paper by James Bessen and Eric Maskin: Sequential Innovation, Patents, and Imitation
On that paper I note:
Regarding licensing patents for further innovation.
Is the decision to invest in further innovation made before or after the license agreement?
There are problems either way.
A low transaction cost license mechanism would help, but I don’t know any.
Perhaps most of the cost of innovation is not in having the innovative idea, but in proving its efficacy.
This does not much change the dilemma however.
The FED wants to do away with patents.