Duncan Bucknell of the IP thinktank put together this weeks’ IP podcast
, involving himself, Jeremy Philips and me. We start out by discussing the notoroius and secretive progress of India’s Bayh Dole style legislation. I then take issue with Jeremy’s use of the words “pro IP” and “anti IP”, arguing that we’ve come a long way since this sort of rhetoric: we ought to now speak in terms of “pro innovation” and “pro creativity”. Jeremy rightly points out that no one in their right minds would ever admit to being “anti innovation” or “anti creativity”–rather the battle is really one around access to such innovations and creativity. I end with a quote from Fritz Machlup, a US economist:
“if we did not have a patent system, it would be irresponsible, on the basis of our present knowledge of its economic consequences, to recommend instituting one. But since we have had a patent system for a long time, it would be irresponsible, on the basis of our present knowledge, to recommend abolishing it”.
As a blogger rightly notes:
“Fritz Machlup was an influential economist who was the first to coin the term “information society”. I am currently reading his “Economic Review of the Patent System” written for the U.S. Congress in 1958….Unfortunately, I don’t think our understanding of patent economics has significantly improved in the last fifty years. Machlop’s report is still of great relevance today, at a time where the U.S. Congress is once again considering reforming its patent system!”
If you’re interested, you can hear all the fun arguments at the IP think tank podcast page. And if you’re an iTunes fan, then please subscribe (for free) to the podcasts by clicking on the link here.