How Patents Hinder Technology & Impair Innovation

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The concept of patents have noble intentions, but like all good intentions it travels a fast and fiery road southbound. Look at the state of the patent turf wars lately. Spanning from tablets to train stations, patent lawsuits are sprouting up everywhere and seemingly infect everything. The trend is particularly virulent among tech companies, where Google, Apple, Motorola, Samsung, Microsoft and many others are guilty of patent-mongering not just among each other but to small businesses, as well.

Instead of inspiring companies to create better technology and services, patents have become "the preshhuzzz" that are fatally coveted by companies hoping to not be outdone by their competition. Rather than play the game and try to win, patent owners more often than not choose to take their ball and go home. That alone would be bad enough, but it doesn't stop there: before patent owners go home, they also suffocate their competitors with chloroform-soaked handkerchiefs then shoot darts at all the other balls on the playground to make sure that nobody finds a way to play the game later.

I say most of this with only huge companies in mind, but lest we forget how small businesses are constantly affected by detrimental lawsuits of patent owners alleging infringement and demanding monetary compensation. It's a stifling atmosphere that's not good for business and hinders advances in technology. To demonstrate how patents are robbing our society of innovation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation put together an inforgraphic that shows how the use of patents have seemingly backfired on our society and allow "patent trolls" to grind their boot heels into the necks of creativity and invention.

How Patents Hinder Innovation - an EFF infographic

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