Patents have become landmines

After many years trying to export the US ‘intellectual property’ laws to the rest of the world, China has find a way to use the stupidity of the American patent system against Americans.

Finally, commentators admit that Chinese patents will serve as land mines for foreign businesses. Doh! Great comment from @vwadhwa on TechCrunch:

This is a battle we can’t win. The Chinese economy will be littered with millions of stumbling blocks for foreign business. These companies will have to offer up their intellectual property in exchange for Chinese intellectual property—in the same way that IBM and Microsoft trade patents. Or they will have to pay license fees to enter the Chinese market. And China may challenge the U.S. globally with its new patents as it plans to do with 4G.

This was mainly the argument we used at FSFE to push the European Union to the reject the US-sponsored directive that would have legalized software patents in EU. European citizens won that battle and I’m so glad I had the possibility to help win it.  The suggestion from the author is:

It’s best to disarm before it is too late.That means reforming the patent system. We really don’t need software patents, and we really don’t need patents in other technologies that evolve rapidly.

Read the rest: Let’s Compete on Innovation Rather Than Patents.