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Submission + - Yet another call for abolishing patents, this one from the Fed (theatlantic.com) 1

WOOFYGOOFY writes: The most recent call for curtailing patents comes not just from an unexpected source, the St. Louis Fed, but also in its most basic form- total abolition of ALL patents.

Via the Atlantic Monthly,


a new working paper from two members of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Michele Boldrin and David Levine:


in which they argue that while a weak patent system may mildly increase innovation with limited side-effects, such a system can never be contained and will inevitably lead a stifling patent system such as that presently found in the U.S.

They argue: "...strong patent systems retard innovation with many negative side-effects. and ..political demand for stronger patent protection comes from old and stagnant industries and firms, not from new and innovative ones. Hence the best solution is to abolish patents entirely through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments, less open to lobbying and rent-seeking".

They acknowledge that some industries could suffer under a such a system, they single out pharma, and suggest that other legislative measures be found to foster innovation whenever there is clear evidence that laissez-faire under-supplies it.

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Yet another call for abolishing patents, this one from the Fed

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  • Today a patent protects the holder for 20 yrs. Reducing the period to 10 yrs would be a great start.
    It should reduce the incentive to file stupid/obvious patents.
    And it should also encourage those being granted a patent in licensing it, in order to get more financial return.
    Most patents take a few years before the holder can make money out of it, so reducing from 20 yrs to 10 yrs is akin to reducing the time the holder can make money out of the patent by about 2/3s.
    Getting completely rid of patents can have

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann