A patent is a title of protection that certifies the exclusive right and authorship to an invention, model or industrial design. Depending on the subject of patenting, the term for issuing such a document is also determined. It usually ranges from 10 to 25 years, after which it can sometimes be extended. Patents first appeared in Venice in 1474. In Russia, the basic concepts of such a right were legalized in 1830.
We know that today all intellectual property in terms of inventions around is protected by patents. The situation is somewhat similar to the one that happened in due time with copyright.
Until the free exchange of files appeared, few people worried about the problems of preserving copyright, but there were plenty of myths in this environment. But you can at least start with the myths debunked below.
If the invention cannot then be protected by a patent, then no one will simply invent anything. In fact, people are constantly inventing something and doing it for a variety of reasons. Some people just have to invent something new in their blood. But from a financial point of view, people do not work at all for a valuable piece of paper, but for the money that can be received for their embodied ideas. Almost all industries receive money from the sale of goods and services associated with some kind of patented innovation. By themselves, these certificates do not sell a product. Almost always, society is deprived of the right to an invention for a period longer than the life of the product itself on the market. As a result, new products quickly become obsolete and begin to gather dust on the shelf. Therefore, companies are constantly coming up with something new. Otherwise, they will have nothing to trade, and they will quickly go broke. As you can see, the meaning of inventions is in constant development, and not in simple patenting.
Patents only stimulate innovation. In fact, these documents not only do not promote innovation, but also hinder them in every possible way. Indeed, a patent is inherently a prohibition against the entire world to use open technology. This right is granted only to the owner of the document. If you consider that patents contribute to general progress, then some factors should stimulate people to invent more than an outright ban on doing it. Only there are no such factors. It is customary in the marketplace to use their patents to protect their business from destructive competition from competitors. As a result, enterprises compete not in the development of the best and quality goods and services, but in disputes between lawyers. As a result, progress turns into "king of the hill". In this case, there is no need to talk about any innovations or a healthy and competitive market.
If a startup is not initially protected by patents, then no one will finance it. It turns out that patents are downright hateful for professional investors. After all, for them it is a real tumor on the body of the entire economy. If any company has the finances, then it should be prepared that at any moment from any side it can be charged with infringement of someone's patent. Many are simply speculating on their copyright. It is estimated that such patent attacks consume a tenth of all development investment annually.
With the help of patents, you can control the level of innovation. In this case, it would be appropriate to apply the metaphor of a broken window. If we evaluate innovation by the number of those inventions that have not been published in 20 years (on average) of the validity of their patent, then this is absolutely devoid of any sense. Although some statistics exist, they do not justify their application to measure innovation potential. This is especially critical when it comes to prohibited developments.
The main problem with the patent system is the so-called "trolls". If you stop all their actions, then the whole system will come into balance. As already mentioned, patents have always come across innovations and it is not necessary to blame everything on trolling. The industrial revolution could have happened 30 years earlier if it had not been for Watt's patent for a steam engine. In those days, the mere use of this invention could lead to going to prison. For a quarter of a century, the development of aviation has stopped, and the reason is all the same patent wars. The appearance of radio stations was postponed twice, each time by a decade. This happened for the first time in 1920, and then after the opening of FM radio.
Only patents can protect the poor inventor from the raking hands of big corporations. A patent will only help if this poorest inventor has enough money to defend his rights in court for a long time and successfully. Usually, the creators of new products are helpless in front of powerful corporations. These people cannot always afford to even pay for a patent application. In Europe, on average, it costs 50 thousand euros, this amount also includes legal advice. After filing a patent, the inventor will most likely have to fight in endless courts with corporations that can easily spend millions of dollars on something important to them. So you shouldn't talk about protecting a small entrepreneur, it looks more like a bad joke. For small and medium businesses, it is best not to deal with patents at all. Only politicians continue to stubbornly insist that these rights are of great benefit.
Patents make all the details of the technology known. It is better to use trade secrets together. In fact, both of these approaches are wrong. Both trade secrets and important know-how relate solely to the process and not to the final product that needs a patent. And how many people read those same patents? It uses such a technically complex language that not every educated engineer will be able to understand all the details and nuances of the device. As a result, it often happens that many patents overlap. This, in particular, has happened with network connectors. And commercial secrets are not so bad. After all, they have become an integral part of healthy competition. And this is correct - after all, few people want to share useful developments with competitors.
The economy needs patents, and active licensing can be cited as proof of this fact. The system, which is based on patents, only constantly draws resources from all market participants. As a result, a certain sword of Damocles hangs over all of them - no one knows when and from which side the thunder will strike. To eliminate the danger from competitors and their allegations of patent infringement, you need to build your own patent portfolio. This will make it possible at the necessary moment to strike back at the enemy. As a result, such a system has become a swamp, into which companies are sinking deeper and deeper. They spend money not on new research and development, but on endless showdowns who violated what. If an entrepreneur is willing to pay royalties for the use of a patent, this does not mean at all that he is in fact legal. It's just that a businessman understands that it is better to make deductions than to spend money on lawsuits and proof of the patent owner's wrongness. As a result, a real vicious circle appeared. The business ceases to dispute any claims and simply acquires a license. Politicians rejoice at the rise in taxes and profits from those very licenses. This suits everyone, and the system is only getting stronger. As a result, entrepreneurs have fewer and fewer chances to win the trial, breaking out of a string of extortions. In such a situation, only lawyers can benefit. True, this rule also has its own exception - pharmacology. It is customary there to use the power of the patent monopoly to parasitize on taxes. As a result, in Europe alone, up to 83% of drug companies' profits come from the taxes of ordinary citizens.
You cannot just give up patents, because there is simply no alternative system for rewarding an invention. We have already discussed how patents harm both the economy in general and innovation in particular. To move from this dead center, you do not need to invent another brake, you just need to take your foot off the "pedal". After all, if we are hit on the head with a hammer, then we will not look for another tool to replace.
With regard to patents, all practical issues are morally motivated. Everyone should have rights to their invention. In fact, only our right to create something with our own instrument and based on our own ideas can be morally justified. And patents give the right to a certain person to prohibit from doing this, since he was able to invent it earlier and draw up the corresponding document. And it doesn't matter whether the discovery was made independently of another person. Now, even if he never was going to implement his invention, the rights would still belong to him. The patent will act as a brake on development. Therefore, speaking of the right to own your product, you must first abandon patents. After all, it is they who do not allow to do this.