Patents and innovation

Here is an interesting rant from and IP strategist (Jackie Hitter) Inventiveness and Patents Do Not Equal Innovation:

Few things infuriate me more than supposed experts who make statements along the lines of “patents are critical to innovation.” I have avoided stating my views widely in this forum because I didn’t want to get into a contest of one upmanship with my patent lawyer peers. However, in the last couple of weeks, several pieces of information have hit my radar screen that make this seem like the right time to go public with my views.
Let my position be very clear: we create a false dichotomy when saying “innovation is not possible without patents.” The issue is much more complex and nuanced than this: in a particular instance, patents may be critical to innovation, but they might also be only slightly important or-likely in the majority of situations-they might be wholly irrelevant to innovation.

Note that Jackie is not anti-IP. She is just anti IP-hype:

Ok, off my soapbox now. I need to edit a patent application for a start-up energy company where strong protection is the end-all, be-all for ultimate success. In short, the amount of effort we input into the patenting process will be exponentially proportional to the value of the innovation in the marketplace. The difference between our company’s patent strategy and that of most others is that we know the difference. I wish we were the rule, rather than the exception.

Her point is simple: patents are part of the innovation system, but only part that needs to be understood in context. And patents are bad measures of innovation.
Those are two points I completely agree with.

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