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|Subject: [hangout] Re: [fairuse] More Economic of Copyright: Row Row Row Your boat
REUTERS Balance needed in US patent process-Fed's Ferguson Reuters,
04.05.03, 3:49 PM ET
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April 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. patent process needs to protect
intellectual property without stifling innovation, a balancing act that
challenges those involved with patent policy, Federal Reserve Board Vice
Chairman Roger Ferguson said on Saturday.
The question for officials involved in patent policy was "how to strike
the right balance to encourage innovation and rapid adoption of new
products and processes on the one hand, while limiting the damage from
granting monopoly power on the other," Ferguson told a conference
sponsored by the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank.
The conference examined the shift in the legal landscape caused by a
1998 federal appeals court decision that business methods were
patentable material -- a ruling that opened a patent-application
"How do we achieve this balance when not only is the technology rapidly
advancing, but the whole realm of patentable material is also
expanding?" Ferguson asked rhetorically in opening a discussion on the
policy implications of the court ruling.
He said intellectual property safeguards had likely played an important
role in fostering U.S. economic growth.
"Much of the increase of productivity that we've seen stems from the
simultaneous invention of new forms of economic organizations and of
innovation of business practices," he said.
"Economic gains are likely to be found not just in the invention of new
products but also in organizing the firms and markets themselves," he
said, adding that was an area in which business method patents would
Ferguson said, however, it was important to try to make sure patent
protection was not too widely provided.
"This whole issue is extremely important because innovation and
invention ... have been part of the great strength of the U.S. economy
over many, many years," he said.
"It's not really clear that this has historically damaged us, but the
challenge ... is it likely to damage us going forward because we're
patenting new things that we've never patented before?"
While conference attendees offered no final answer to that question,
many agreed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had been too lenient in
its patent-approval process, largely because it lacked needed resources.
Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, who addressed the conference on Friday via
satellite, had said a balance needed to be struck between those who
would innovate and those who benefit from innovation.
Copyright 2003, Reuters News Service
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