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The New Cold War: Understanding the patent battlefield

Huge changes are currently taking place in the way new ideas are bought, sold and fought over. It is now not uncommon for companies to exist that do nothing except sue other companies for billions of dollars and the numbers are increasing at an incredible rate as I described yesterday in my post for Scientific American.

In related news, the US Supreme Court is currently debating once again whether patents of human genes should be allowed in an area affecting breast cancer research. Only recently I described on this blog an ongoing case of a pending patent affecting the development and uptake of a new psychological intervention. For an inside look at at the current scandal check out Village Voice’s recent exposé. For up to date, detailed analysis check out the excellent series being maintained by Wired magazine, if you work in the realms of science, technology or software you really should get informed. Patents were introduced with the best intentions of providing an incentive for innovation but have grown in to a monstrous mechanism allowing profiteering on a monumental scale by lawyers and bankers whilst well and truly cannibalising innovation in the process.

Thanks to Village Voice for allowing us to reprint the (top) image above.


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