Christina Mulligan on patent scalability

by on April 3, 2012 · 1 comment

On the podcast this week, Christina Mulligan, Visiting Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, discusses Her new paper, co-authored with Tim Lee, entitled, Scaling the Patent System. Mulligan begins by describing the policy behind patents: to give temporary exclusive rights to inventors so they can benefit monetarily for their inventions. She then explains the thesis of the paper, which argues that the patent system is failing because it is too large to scale. Mulligan claims that some industries are ignoring patents when they develop new products because it is nearly impossible to discover whether a new product will infringe on an existing patent. She then highlights industries where patents are effective, like the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. According to Mulligan, these industries rarely infringe on patents because existing patents are “indexable,” meaning they are easy to look up. The discussion concludes with Mulligan offering solutions for the current problem, which includes restricting the subject matter of patents to indexable matters.

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