Sean Mooney looks at an old article written by Jeff Bezos in 2001 about the problems associated with software and business method patents, and how he would fix them. Bezos proposed a 3-5 year term and a public comment period for prior art.
In The Washington Post, Geoffrey A. Fowler wrote about the problems with Amazon’s policy of licensing e-books to libraries–namely its policy of not doing so. I discuss this in the context of a recent Maryland law to require licenses while also discussing reforms like formalizing digital ownership and explicitly legalizing controlled digital lending, which would help level the playing field between publishing in the digital and physical world.
News and Commentary
Priti Krishtel and Tahir Amin of the Institute for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge (I-MAK), have a list of ten reforms that the Biden Administration’s USPTO can take to help reduce drug pricing and prevent over-patenting. These include support for waivers on IP enforcement at the WTO, curbing discretionary denials at the PTAB, and raising the bar for patent eligibility.
In ProMarket, Gary N. Smith and Jeffrey Funk write about the need to avoid using patents as a measure for innovation. They cite the increase in the number of patents despite lagging productivity growth as an example of why this measure is problematic, and favor a closer examination on the development of new technologies as a better proxy for quantifying innovation.
In The Conversation, Professors Michael J. Meurer and Janet Freillch discuss a similar issue, this time focusing on how the patent system can serve to stifle innovation. Discussing familiar issues like the ease of patentability and problems with the practical benefits of disclosure as it is currently practiced, they combine these problems by highlighting how acquiring the permissions to use patented technology hinder firms which wish to build on previous innovations.
YouTube is adding a new tool that allows creators to preview for any potentially copyrighted material before publishing it online.
In The Hill, Dr. Vanessa Kerry and Parsa Erfani argue that the sharing of intellectual property via waivers at the WTO and other measures are necessary to expand vaccine access.
A paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research discusses how the failure to develop a vaccine for HIV was the product of years of research with spillover benefits that made the speedy development of a COVID-19 vaccine possible.