In keeping with the current liberal – if not socialist – swing of the pendulum, two professors have published a paper, in the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, that argues that the present U.S. patent system may not encourage innovation or promote societal wealth and, hence, may be unconstitutional. ("Patents And The Regress Of Useful Arts")
The two authors, neither of whom is an engineer, laboratory scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, business owner, venture capitalist, patentee or practicing I.P. attorney, reached their conclusions on the basis of data generated by a computer simulation of “the behavior of inventors and competitors … under conditions approximating patent and non-patent systems.”
The computer simulation was created by – you guessed it – the two self-same authors. (An interesting aside: while they denigrate the patent system, the authors were careful to claim trademark rights in the name of this computer program and, also, certain rights to reprinting of their paper.) The simulation players were a number of first-semester law students – how many of THEM were engineers, laboratory scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs, business owners, venture capitalists, patentees or had even held a real job?
Like all conclusions derived from computer modeling, those of the authors are dependent upon two factors: how accurately does the model reflect “real life” and how closely do the game players represent “real life” decision makers. The authors, being true academicians, support their position with multiple footnotes and references to publications of other academicians. Interestingly, they were apparently unable to find – or write about – anyone who disagreed with them. Well, WE disagree with them. We invite comments from our readers.
* apologies to Robert Frost