In a recent IPWatchdog report, intellectual property law expert Gene Quinn claimed that a lack of knowledge about intellectual property law and commonly held "predetermined opinions" are obstacles to healthy debate about innovation.
In the report, Quinn explained that intellectual property law is grounded in the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power to grant patents. Patents come in three forms - utility, design and plant.
Quinn described utility patents as those that cover the functional aspects of products and processes. Design patents, meanwhile, are related to the "ornamental design" of useful items. Plant patents cover new varieties of living plants.
According to Quinn, it is important to note that patents do not "protect ideas." Rather, he claimed, they "protect inventions and methods" with appropriate subject matter.
Quinn claimed that greater understanding of intellectual property law could help to prevent the wasting of energy on "needless battles." With greater awareness, innovators would be free to create businesses in the firm knowledge that they have rights to their inventions. This, according to Quinn, would "justify the massive investments necessary to build companies, grow industries and organically create jobs."