Looking at the magnitude of the patent market and sensitivity attached to the subject, its in the interest of all if patent system is reviewed by another party. First to invent is the owner of the patent not First to declare. But then you need to document and show you invented first. That should not be difficult for the inventor if have followed a systematic approach and have proofs.
The Hoover Institution would provide a service if it could address the question of who the patent system is supposed to protect, the inventor or the commercializer/popularizer of an invention. The patent system is leaning toward protecting the successful commercialization of an idea, not the invention itself. I lean in the opposite direction, it should protect the inventor. The latter is the basis for the patent system in the first place. But the patent office and the courts seem to be giving an economic interpretation to that intent and saying success in the marketplace is one measure of who owns an invention. Another way of saying that is it's not enough to come up with a new idea. You must come up with an application of it that people like. This in part was Apple's position in he Apple vs. Samsung trial. I am not in total disagreement with that approach but find it troubling that a company could use other people's ideas, such as the touch screen and even some of the icons on the iPhone's home page, patent the appearance captured by the implementation, and then sue to hold competitors in check. It may be an increasingly minority position, but I think patents should encourage inventors and competition, not restrict implementations of inventions. Let the successful commercializers/productizers compete on the effectiveness of their designs, while paying the inventor his due. The system doesn't work that way. One reason is: inventors often don't patent their own work. Charlie Babcock, InformatonWeek
I think it is very appropriate for a university to study this question, and the Hoover Institution was created to explore government. Alas, it has a reputation as a "conservative think tank" just as the White House is viewed as being politically liberal these days. I think for this review to be effective, it will take an apolitical review, or perhaps bipartisan (or poly partisan). Patents ARE a government function, but we must make great efforts to keep the issue from becoming politicized. We can all see what that has done to immigration.
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