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June 30, 2008


Hal Wegner displays astonishing senility in a disjointed and practically schizophrenic review of pulp fiction by academics Bessen and Meurer (B&M). Wegner: "The U.S. patent system is not working. It stands accused on all sides of stifling innovation instead of nurturing it. Some critics say the system is fundamentally wrecked, others that it can be fixed."

B&M: "The court's poor response to new technologies suggests that a single, centralized appeals court is not an effective institutional arrangement." The reference is, of course, to the CAFC. Wegner: "They have a point: Germany, Britain and Japan, for instance, have excellent patent justice thanks in large part to placing all patent cases before a patent-focused judiciary." Hal agrees with B&M, in that they are wrong. Huh?

Wegner: "The authors [used] an impressive databank of studies from scholars including federal circuit judge Kimberly Moore... The authors estimate the global patent value for U.S. companies in the chemicals (including pharmaceuticals) sector in 1999 was $12.4 billion compared with only $3.2 billion for all other sectors. In fact, the $12.4 billion figure is ridiculously low: sales of the top 10 drugs account for $40 billion in domestic sales alone -- with no patent protection, that $40 billion would vanish." So much for the "impressive databank."

Wegner: "[A]ll segments of the patent community recognize the need for reform." Not true. The reason patent legislation has not been enacted is because there are widely divergent views, particularly between inventors, big pharma, and big computer tech. So much for Wegner having his finger on the pulse of the patent community.

Certainly the computer tech sector feels patents are of great value. Otherwise, they wouldn't be spending so much money lobbying for patent deform, and forming an alliance to gobble up all the patents they can on the cheap. The problem is that the big chip-tech is being barraged for infringing inventions by the wee folk. 

The B&M premise is that patents are for corporations. All their numbers, which are wrong, are skewed to proving that patents are unprofitable to corporations.

Wegner does the patent community a grievous disservice by granting B&M any credibility. Or, perhaps it would be better put to observe that Wegner's views towards B&M destroys his credibility.

Previous Patent Prospector coverage on Bessen & Meurer: March 13, 2008; March 20, 2008; March 24, 2008; May 10, 2008.

Posted by Patent Hawk at June 30, 2008 9:58 AM | The Patent System


Hal Wegner's gone senile, you write. His views on B&M "destroy his credibility" you observe. Sorry Prospector, your "observations" reveal nothing about Hal Wegner, but quite a lot about wishful thinking you. I'll continue to read your blog though, cos you tell us about interesting cases.

Posted by: MaxDrei at July 3, 2008 10:10 PM