Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 1, 2014

How to Reform the Patent System

Gary Becker argues that the “patent system as practiced in the United States is too broad, too loose, and too expensive” and he offers a number of solutions.

“The current patent length of 20 years (longer for drug companies) from the date of filing for a patent can be cut in half without greatly discouraging innovation… In narrowing the type of innovations that are patentable, one can start by eliminating the patenting of software. Disputes over software patents are among the most common, expensive, and counterproductive. Their exclusion from the patent system would discourage some software innovations, but the saving from litigation costs over disputed patent rights would more than compensate the economy for that cost.”

“In addition to eliminating patents on software, no patents should be allowed on DNA, such as identification of genes that appear to cause particular diseases. Instead, they should be treated as other scientific discoveries, and be in the public domain.”

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