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Patents vs Innovation

 
 
Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      11-27-2009
Looking at this item commemorating the invention of the transistor
<http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/12/14/ft_transistor/> points up some
interesting issues of timing.

The Bell Labs inventors got their transistor working in 1948. Apparently
their patents were accepted that same year. Under the US system, patents
last for 17 years, so these would have expired around 1965—roughly around
the time that transistorized electronic appliances became commonplace.
(Transistorized computers were already common, but remember that computers
were still a niche market at this stage.)

The same page mentions that the CMOS patent was granted in 1963. So that
would have expired in 1980—just about the time that CMOS semiconductor chips
started to become popular.

See the pattern here? It’s often claimed that patents promote innovation,
but it seems clear they actually prevent it, or at least hold it back. It’s
not until the patents lose their force that the innovation happens.
 
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victor
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      11-27-2009
Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
> Looking at this item commemorating the invention of the transistor
> <http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/12/14/ft_transistor/> points up some
> interesting issues of timing.
>
> The Bell Labs inventors got their transistor working in 1948. Apparently
> their patents were accepted that same year. Under the US system, patents
> last for 17 years, so these would have expired around 1965—roughly around
> the time that transistorized electronic appliances became commonplace.
> (Transistorized computers were already common, but remember that computers
> were still a niche market at this stage.)
>
> The same page mentions that the CMOS patent was granted in 1963. So that
> would have expired in 1980—just about the time that CMOS semiconductor chips
> started to become popular.
>
> See the pattern here? It’s often claimed that patents promote innovation,
> but it seems clear they actually prevent it, or at least hold it back. It’s
> not until the patents lose their force that the innovation happens.


The invention of the first transistor didn't stop the innovation which
produced the first silicon transistor at TI in 1954 or the first
integrated circuit in 1959.
In the case of the transistor patents facilitate and encourage
disclosure of innovations into the public domain for the common good.
Without patent protection the principles are more likely to be kept
secret. A company starting from scratch in 1965 would be at a
disadvantage compared to those already established players who had
licensed the patents.
The proliferation of transistor radios came from the development of the
electronics industry in Japan, the market for Japanese transistor radios
in the US grew from 100,000 in 1955 to 5,000,000 in 1968
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      11-28-2009
In message <hepsis$399$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org>, victor wrote:

> Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
>
>> In message <hepn4f$94e$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org>, victor wrote:
>>
>>> The invention of the first transistor didn't stop the innovation which
>>> produced the first silicon transistor at TI in 1954 or the first
>>> integrated circuit in 1959.

>>
>> None of which became popular until after the transistor patent expired.

>
> Rubbish, the large electronics companies simply licensed the patents as
> they do now


Silicon didn’t really take over from germanium until the 1970s—about the
time TI’s silicon transistor patent would have expired. And integrated
circuits had their small beginnings in the 1970s, but really exploded in the
1980s.

See, the pattern continues.

>>> In the case of the transistor patents facilitate and encourage
>>> disclosure of innovations into the public domain for the common good.

>>
>> Doesn’t work that way. In the US, you are actively _discouraged_ from
>> looking at existing patents. Why? Because if you are later sued for
>> infringement and it turns out you knew about the patent, even if you
>> thought it wasn’t relevant, then the infringement becomes wilful and the
>> damages are tripled.
>>
>> <http://techdirt.com/articles/20070814/015013.shtml>

>
> No one waits for patents to expire if there is a buck to be made, the
> royalty costs simply get passed on to the consumer.


This is about your disclosure claim, which turns out to be nonsense.
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      11-28-2009
In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Gordon wrote:

> Gentle readers, we are getting confused in this thread about patents and
> innovation. The inovation happens first, then the patent of the
> idea/innovation.


You’re confusing “invention” with “innovation”. Patents are only about
“protecting” the “invention”, they have little or nothing to do with
“innovation”. That’s why they’re a waste of time.
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      11-28-2009
In message <heqqip$q0o$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org>, victor wrote:

> The semiconductor industry just isn't a good example ...


Not a good example of patents in action? Does that mean that patents have
not been good for the semiconductor industry?
 
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JohnO
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      11-29-2009
On Nov 28, 4:13*pm, victor <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
> > In message <hepsis$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org>, victor wrote:

>
> >> Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

>
> >>> In message <hepn4f$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org>, victor wrote:

>
> >>>> The invention of the first transistor didn't stop the innovation which
> >>>> produced the first silicon transistor at TI in 1954 or the first
> >>>> integrated circuit in 1959.
> >>> None of which became popular until after the transistor patent expired.
> >> Rubbish, the large electronics companies simply licensed the patents as
> >> they do now

>
> > Silicon didnt really take over from germanium until the 1970sabout the
> > time TIs silicon transistor patent would have expired. And integrated
> > circuits had their small beginnings in the 1970s, but really exploded in the
> > 1980s.

>
> You don't know what you are talking about.


Not the first time and sadly won't be the last time.
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      11-29-2009
In message <heq4hh$cbk$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org>, victor wrote:

> Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
>
>> In message <hepsis$399$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org>, victor wrote:
>>
>>> Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
>>>
>>>> In message <hepn4f$94e$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org>, victor wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> The invention of the first transistor didn't stop the innovation which
>>>>> produced the first silicon transistor at TI in 1954 or the first
>>>>> integrated circuit in 1959.
>>>>
>>>> None of which became popular until after the transistor patent expired.
>>>
>>> Rubbish, the large electronics companies simply licensed the patents as
>>> they do now

>>
>> Silicon didn’t really take over from germanium until the 1970s—about the
>> time TI’s silicon transistor patent would have expired. And integrated
>> circuits had their small beginnings in the 1970s, but really exploded in
>> the 1980s.

>
> You don't know what you are talking about.


Friendly advice: please to engage brain before shooting off mouth. It makes
you look just that little less sad.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanium>:

From 1950 through the early 1970s, this area provided an increasing
market for germanium, but then high purity silicon began replacing
germanium in transistors, diodes, and rectifiers.

>> See, the pattern continues.


Like I said.
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      11-30-2009
In message <hepi38$92p$(E-Mail Removed)>, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

> It’s often claimed that patents promote innovation,
> but it seems clear they actually prevent it, or at least hold it back.


And when innovators start suing over their patents, that’s usually a sign
that they’ve stopped actually innovating. It happened to the Wright
Brothers, and here it is happening to Tivo:
<http://techdirt.com/articles/20091125/1306497092.shtml>.
 
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