Last fall, then-PTO Director David J. Kappos delivered a speech on software patents, the PTO, and innovation, in which he strongly defended software patents. Below, Director Kappos, now with Cravath, Swaine & Moore, summarizes an article that he recently published in the Stanford Technology Law Review that expands on that theme. – Jason
"Investing in America’s Future Through Innovation" appearing in the Stanford Technology Law Review
By: David J. Kappos
While the smart phone patent wars have ignited debate about the patent system, the discussions are about far more than smart phones and software patents. These disputes, and the accompanying critiques, raise a more fundamental question about the willingness of the United States to invest in our future. We Americans need to make up our collective mind about whether we are satisfied with short-term gratification to get the newest technology at the absolute lowest price or whether we are willing to invest in the long-term. At their core, patents, and intellectual property in general, represent that investment.
Drawing on recent patent quality metrics, my article appearing in the Stanford Technology Law Review brings balance to the heated rhetoric surrounding the smart phone patent wars, explaining why the best evidence available shows that these disputes are not about low quality software patents or an ineffective patent system. In fact, and in contrast to the many critiques that offer no empirical evidence, the data shows that low quality patents are not the problem. Instead, the real issue is the historical tension between the necessary long-term incentives that form the basis for the patent system, versus the desire of consumers to have products and services today at the lowest prices possible. To move beyond the rhetoric of the current debate, we must continue to have faith in allowing our national innovation system to grow and develop as it has over 200+ years so that we and our children will have even more, and better, innovations to enjoy in the future.
The article is available on the Stanford Technology Law Review's website at: http://stlr.stanford.edu/2013/05/investing-in-americas-future-through-innovation/