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A Case for Weakening Patent Rights
|By Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab.
Wanted: Students to make a distributed future with solar-powered open-source 3-D printing.
Pearce Publications: Energy Conservation • Energy Policy • Industrial Symbiosis • Life Cycle Analysis • Materials Science • Open Source • Photovoltaic Systems • Solar Cells • Sustainable Development • Sustainability Education
- Lucas S. Osborn, Joshua Pearce, Amberlee Haselhuhn. A Case for Weakening Patent Rights. St. John’s Law Review. 89(4), pp.1185-1253 (2015). Open access preprint
This Article provocatively asserts that lawmakers should weaken patents significantly—by between 25% and 50%. The primary impetus for this conclusion is the under-appreciated effects of new and emerging technologies, including three-dimensional printing, synthetic biology, and cloud computing. These and other technologies are rapidly decreasing the costs of each stage of the innovation cycle: from basic research, through inventing and prototyping, to marketing and distribution. The primary economic theories supporting patent law hold that inventors and innovators need patents to recoup the costs associated with research, inventing, and commercializing. Because new technologies have begun—and will continue—to dramatically decrease these costs, the case for weakening patents is ripe for analysis.
- Open Source Database and Website to Provide Free and Open Access to Inactive U.S. Patents in the Public Domain