Patent wars are pretty common these days in the tech world, where companies are suing each other over infringement of certain pieces of hardware technology, while others are suing over software features. Granted some of these cases do get out of hand and drag on for too long, but given that some companies spend years developing their technology only to have it “stolen”, we can see why they are so determined to fight till the end to make sure they are compensated for it.
However on the other side of the coin, there are some who believe that patents could actually hold back innovation, and recently two Nobel Prize-winning economists have stepped forward and claimed that software patents are actually inhibiting innovation.
One of the economists, Gary Becker, acknowledges that while patents help provide developers the peace of mind knowing that what they develop will be “protected” legally, he also believes that in the grander scheme of things, the abolishing of patents will help free up more developers who might otherwise be afraid that they could end up in court and pay huge legal fees in damages.
Economist Eric Maskin has expressed that he believes that patents are harmful, and that a company or an individual with a particular patent, can actually block or slow down the progress by putting up high licensing fees. Of course one could make an argument for either side, but these are some pretty valid points, with President Obama even going as far as to launch executive actions to combat patent trolls. What do you guys think?