A few weeks ago in our blog we talked about a couple of companies which decided to give away their patents in order to improve innovation and a more sustainable future helping other companies to produce cars which use a hydrogen driven engine.
Almost every day we hear about a patent war between big technology companies such as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Google… These lawsuits have opened a debate on the patent system that prevails in the US and in general throughout the Western world and it is necessary to pay attention to it.
Patents were created to promote innovation. If a company innovates then they protect this invention with a patent, and if another company wants to use this innovation has to pay an amount to the company that originally innovated. This makes sense, because it encourages companies to innovate as the world progresses.
However, having a patent system also slows down the competition. It is obvious that companies copy each other in many ways, but when a small inventor wants to create something new for example within the field of mobile technology it is impossible. There are too many patents describing every single detail that cannot be used on another phone. That is what interferes with the innovation of competitors. In fact there are so many big patents companies that buy small businesses to simply take their patent portfolio and even sometimes threaten to sue them for some of their patents if they do not sell the company.
Of course, big companies invest a big amount or resources in preventing other manufacturers from registering patents. For example Google has changed many features in Android to avoid getting in conflict with the competitors’ patents.
In conclusion, this patent system only allows big companies to patent their innovation (or the one they buy from others) and I think limiting innovation will not help our future.