obvIPat - Obviously Patentable

The blog for inventors, in-house counsel, & entrepreneurs.

Archive for December, 2011

Patents as Drivers for Invention: Why the America Invents Act is Improperly Named

by Orlando Lopez

There are many studies and colloquial expressions that relate patents to innovation.  For example, it has been considered by some that patents spur research and development (see, for example, the discussion on this topic in the Berkeley 2008 patent survey).  However, some other anecdotal evidence (hopefully my litigation counterparts would not cringe at my use of the term “evidence” in a colloquial way) indicates that innovation is a result of the human desire to create, and it is not fueled or hampered by patenting.  An example of such a situation that I’ve personally witnessed, was in the mid-1970’s.  A senior physicist, who we will call Vern, and a young physicist were studying alternate fusion concepts.  In studying one of the concepts, Vern proposed from basic energy arguments an amazing result.  At first look, one would consider that it violated the second law of thermodynamics (the law that prevents perpetual motion machines).  The young physicist went off and performed computer simulations verifying the amazing result.  They both looked at each other and said, “We should patent this.” Read the rest of this entry »