Opinions and Editorials

Jan. 8, 2017

The Washington Times Opinion: Why a strong patent system is vital, by Greg Dolin

This post originally appeared in The Washington Times on January 8, 2017.

Last month was the 25th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, marking the end of the Cold War. Just a few years earlier, it seemed unfathomable that a world superpower would simply disband. And yet, the USSR was destined to lose its confrontation with the U.S. despite having more nuclear weapons, being first in space, having a larger army, and sitting on a much bigger cache of natural resources. The reason was the insurmountable American lead in innovation.

But why was there such a lead? Were the American engineers, chemists, doctors and other professionals innately brighter than their Soviet counterparts? Obviously they weren’t. The Soviet Union, like every other country in the world had people with inventive and inquisitive minds. My father, who was an engineer in the USSR and remained a successful one after immigrating to the U.S, didn’t receive an extra dose of smarts upon landing at the JFK airport.