Candle Under a Bushel

Innovation and Its Discontents by Jaffe and Lerner is available for advance purchase from Princeton University Press. The authors bang the pot of economics and the pan of investment banking upside the head of the U.S. patent system. The most disturbing thing they discuss, in my view, is how patently easy it has become to gain a patent, and once you hold a patent, how hard it is for others to contest it. Innovation is the playing field so far this century, which leads companies and individuals to want to hoard for competitive advantage. But it seems counterproductive for the U.S. Patent Office to strengthen the Idea Curtain.