Monday, January 01, 2007

An idea is not just for Christmas .. it's for 20 years

I've finally sat down and started to read the Gower review on intellectual property - I'm disappointed.

Though the report talks of the need for balance (go for it!) and there seems to be a lot of good ideas in there, it seems fairly weighted in one direction.


"IP serves three principal functions: to incentivise knowledge creation; to accumulate knowledge in a culture; and to protect a distinctive identity"

Surely the principal aim should be to accumulate knowledge in a culture?

Protection of a distinctive identity is just a method of achieving this, not an aim. The idea that it is necessary for incentivising knowledge creation would imply that there are no other suitable mechanisms for encouraging innovation. Do you really believe that firms would not innovate without IP (that's first leader advantage up the spout). What have universities been doing for last eight centuries?

The idea that listening to a radio is only possible because inventions and creations have been incentivised through the IP system is worthy of a Booker prize.

The report states that new technologies such as genetics, software and databases require IP protection and strongly argues the case for why companies should be able to generate revenue from patents without actually producing products. It argues that such action will increase liquidity in the market for ideas, and that a costly patent process might prevent this.

This implies a cheaper patent system, which probably will result in less scrutiny.

The overall vision for the IP system is that it must enable greater economic productivity - damn it, I thought this was a country not a PLC.

The patent trolls must have had a great Christmas.