In my latest column on GigaOM, I speak to the meteoric rise of “patent reform” as an issue for Washington lobbyists. As Tim Lee points out in his latest entry, it isn’t always clear that patents=innovation. Irony note: it is Verizon — not Vonage — that is a member of the Coalition for Patent Fairness, which aims to reduce the burdens of patent litigation:
When Democrats took control of Congress last election, the lobbyists for all the big technology and telecom companies in Washington pulled out their wish lists, ripped them up, and re-arranged their legislative priorities.
Gone was the push for sweeping telecommunications legislation, hemispheric-wide free-trade agreements and limitations on Internet taxes. Only a Republican Congress and White House could agree upon those.
A new priority has emerged: overhauling the nation’s patent system. Seemingly out of nowhere, it is suddenly all the talk of Washington’s political-corporate machinations.