State of Innovation

Patents and Innovation Economics

Pat Choate: Technology Theft as a Business Strategy

Dr. Patent Choate has an excellent article in the Huffington Post, please read the full article, that shows that patent reform is really about patent theft by some of the largest technology companies.  As Dr. Choate explains:

America’s largest big tech corporations are now using a business technique called “efficient infringement,” which means that they calculate the benefits of stealing someone else’s patented technology against the possibility of getting caught, tried in court and being forced to pay damages and penalties. If the benefits exceed the costs, they steal.

The sad thing about the large technology companies cited in the article is that they all grew faster in the 90s when we had strong patent laws than in this decade.  Their desire to weaken the patent laws dooms them and the rest of the country to slow or nonexistent growth.  Ultimately, their actions will result in technological stagnation in the US.

Dr. Choate then give the specific example of how the large financial services companies conspired to steal a start-up’s, DataTeasury’s, patented technology.  Then they used their lobbyists to get a clause inserted into the so called “Patent Reform” bill that would have given all the defendants in the DataTreasury case immunity.  As the article explains:

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and about a dozen other banks refuse to deal with the little company. Instead of paying up, those remaining banks have played dirty. In 2007, Washington lobbyists working for the banking industry had an amendment inserted into a pending patent-reform bill that would have granted legal immunity to all of DataTreasury’s defendants. The amendment died on the floor of the U.S. Senate after the press exposed the story.

As Dr. Chaote’s excellent book “Hot Property” vividly points out, lack of enforcement of intellectual property rights destroys innovation.  I particularly enjoyed his example of how Mexico’s failure to enforce copyrights has ensured that Mexico does not and will not have a recording industry – music or movies.  Theft always looks like a quick way to wealth, but it ultimately destroys the source of wealth creation.  These high tech companies would rather destroy America’s wealth than have to compete in the market on the basis of the technology they can develop.

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March 24, 2010 - Posted by | Innovation, Patents | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. […] Pat Choate: Technology Theft as a Business Strategy « State of … […]

    Pingback by Emerging Technologies America Has Fallen Behind On | Zone Electro | April 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] Patents are property rights and companies’ purposeful infringement of other people’s property rights is not a regulatory burden, it is the result of purposeful belief that they can get away with the theft.  It is called efficient infringement.  See “Technology Theft as a Business Strategy”  https://hallingblog.com/2010/03/24/pat-choate-technology-theft-as-a-business-strategy/ […]

    Pingback by Are Transaction Costs for Patents Too High? « State of Innovation | April 15, 2011 | Reply


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