Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Patent Explosion

Will the avalanche of posts ever end? Here's an update from my ridiculously long post with a ridiculously long title from yesterday... I found another article about the book (this time from Scientific American that I found through I/P Update, another IP law blog.

This article goes into much more detail about the authors' theories... but they don't sound any more right. Here they say that some changes in how patents are dealt with (first with the formation of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals, and second changing the funding for the patent office from tax-payers to fees collected from applicants, thus making the patent office a "for-profit" organization) have "resulted in an explosion in patents granted" from an annual increase of about 1% from 1930-1982 to almost 6% from 1983-2000.

I'm reminded of my statistics course discussion on correlation... just because two things happen at around the same time doesn't mean one is the cause of the other, because there might be another explanation. What could another explanation be here? What technology might have been emerging, and then exploding, in mainstream America in the early 1980's? Hmmmm, what am I writing this blog on right now?

Oh that's right! Computers! Those things really seemed to be useful to the average person and business in the early 1980's, didn't they? Do you think that has anything to do with the "patent explosion"1? What about the biotech boom of the 1990's on top of computers? That has nothing to do with it, huh?

Plus, everbody knows that you can cite made-up or irrelevant statistics to support your point... 69% of researches do it all the time.

1 Which is nowhere near as cool as the "Latin Explosion," , no matter how much us patent attorneys and agents wish upon a star.


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