NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The case against patents

This is good.

From the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:

"Patent litigation typically involves dying firms, that have accumulated huge stockpile of patents but are no longer able to produce marketable products, suing new and innovative firms. A once proud firm – one of the first producers of microchips, and who in our generation can forget their first TI calculator – Texas Instruments was unable to make the transition to the PC revolution and became, for a while, the symbol of a dying company trying to stay alive by suing the newcomers. In more recent times, Microsoft has become the chief among the patent trolls."

"A system that at one time served to limit the power of royalty to reward favored individuals with monopolies has become with the passage of time a system that serves primarily to encourage failing monopolists to inhibit competition by blocking innovation."

"The current system favors a small number of blockbuster drugs that can be sold to millions of patients. The coming revolution in medicine will rely on carefully targeting hundreds or even thousands of drugs to the correct patients."

The Case Against Patents

HT: FT Alphaville

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