There has been a growing chorus of frustration from the technology sector bemoaning the slow speed of intellectual property reform. But while some have been bold enough to suggest the patent system is of little use to today's software manufacturers, established IP experts question the sustainability of that wisdom.
As IP Watchdog founder Gene Quinn recently suggested, upstart tech firms that believe they may have already outgrown the patent system would be wise to review their history books. Considering the fact that virtually no tech companies remain dominant for more than a generation, it is important to note that renowned patent managers like Apple and IBM are the ones who represent the exception to the rule.
Quinn did not sugarcoat his advice, however, acknowledging there are no shortcuts to success and monetization requires vigilant, long-term strategy.
"Patents are fragile because if you obtain a patent I could obtain a patent on an improvement, thereby blocking you - the original patent owner - from making, using and selling the improved version of your own invention. That is why when Apple finds a hit in the marketplace they patent the innovation from every angle and from broad to ultra-specific," Quinn wrote.
Retired federal circuit court judge Paul Michel shared similar sentiments in a recent interview with Ars Technica. While he conceded that the current patent systems may be of more use to some industries than others, he noted that simply abandoning the framework would be a "bad solution" for any company to follow. Instead, IP community stakeholders from all sides should contribute their concerns and ideas to a thoughtful discussion of how the patent system can evolve its fundamental ideals to serve all in the modern marketplace.