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Too much R&D, not enough R - Nathan Myhrvold Will Not Apologize for Patent Trolling | 119 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Too much R&D, not enough R - Nathan Myhrvold Will Not Apologize for Patent Trolling
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 19 2012 @ 10:54 AM EDT
Continuous improvement is great, once a product and a market
exist. At the start, that often isn't true. There are
plenty of markets where the time to develop the market
(assuming a product exists) is > 5 years - which is more
than the time to copy.

You're absolutely correct regarding bloating in pharma. I'm
a bit dubious regarding potential cost savings - unless
people just 'suck it up' and accept that we'll have
occasional babies with flippers, et cetera. Trying new
drugs is intrinsically dangerous because there are so many
interactions - and doing enough trials to locate rare
interactions is expensive. Honestly though, a lot of
medical costs are driven by the rather inefficient
reimbursement regime in the USA. (Don't worry, we'll pay
for anything showing a measurable benefit - please ignore
cost-effectiveness. (head-slap))

Offensive/defensive use of patents scales down really poorly
- you are absolutely correct. It even scales upwards poorly
- in that many industries have so many patents that large
players derive very little competitive advantage from a
patent and the potential for serious problems. (MAD) On
the bright side, for small companies, patents do play a
positive role in the 'build or buy' decision for a large
company.

I like the idea of pooled resources - sometimes. The
problem I've seen is that committees of business managers
tend to agree on safe, expensive solutions that never
actually work. For an example of a many-billion dollar
mistake on a pooled project, look into extreme ultraviolet
lithography. The need for the technique has been mostly
replaced by the use of high-index fluids. Part of the
solution here is probably to promote competent technical
people with limited people skills (Jobs) over charming,
competent, organized people with limited technical ability.
But, the other part involves figuring out a way to reward
foolish independent experimentation. I'm not claiming that
patents are ideal, or even good - just that they do
sometimes serve that purpose.

--Erwim

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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