IPWatchdog Opinion: Silent Spring for Patents, by Raymond Van Dyke
This post originally appeared in IPWatchdog on March 9, 2017.
Over fifty years ago, Rachel Carson shocked the world, our government, and several large corporations, with her publication Silent Spring. She demonstrated that the zealous quest of big industry to wantonly use pesticides had deleterious implications, insidious side-effects of contamination of the ecosystem. Her book created a new dialogue and serious questioning of the benevolence of corporations to society.
Today, we face another crisis, one that is more abstract in nature, but just as insidious to our very wellbeing. Just as our ecosystem is a fine balance of many factors, many competing with each other, the inventive process is just as delicate. In our increasingly complex world, inventors conceive of new gadgets and new ways of doing things. Most of these innovators are individuals at small companies, and their idea is key to the company’s growth. These inventors file patents and endure the gauntlet of requirements of the U.S. Patent Office to get their patents, which often represent the entire value of the burgeoning company.