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Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Hates Patents. Well, not really

As noted on this Techcrunch post, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Weighs In On Patent Issues: They’re “Terrible” (h/t Geoff Plauche). But he is not really against patents. He is against “overbroad” patents and “bogus” patents. He thinks a solution would be to “improve” the quality of patents, by crowdsourcing, increasing PTO budget, hoping Congress “reforms” patent law, etc. The problem is not patents per se–after all, he says, “Patents are important.”

Schmidt accepts the common wisdom that patents are important, yet he sees the damage they wreak; so he is caught in a quandary. He cannot advocate patent abolition, he cannot point the finger at patents in general, if patents are “important.” All he is left with is complaints about “abuse” or “quality.” But he is wrong. The problem is not bogus patents, low quality patents, software patents, overbroad patents, bad Examiners, or patent trolls. Get rid of all these “problems” and the central problem still remains: companies can use state-granted monopoly privileges to stop competitors from competing with them.

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