The concept of intellectual property and the protection of “it”, is quite confusing to me. In Boldrin & Levine’s paper (2007), they make note of the static state in which the steam engine was in for the latter part of the 1700’s. The idea was protected by a patent which Watt, the innovated, had placed upon it. The idea was a brilliant one but unfortunately has some drawbacks. Other innovators came up with ideas to make it even better. For Watt, this was a challenge as he could not use these ideas in his engine and they were patented. Basically two really great ideas could not come together as a modified grand machine.
Interestingly (or not), as soon as Watts patents expired, there was ‘…an explosion in the production and efficiency of engines’ (Boldrin & Levine 2007). Over the next 30 years steam engines were modified and improved dramatically. This could have happened years before, why was it so important to Watt that innovation and creativity was held back just to enable him to make a little bit more money.
At the moment Apple and Samsung have been battling it out in court over copyright and patents. Which is perfect timing to me writing this. The case is over copyrighted elements of Apple products, which Samsung have allegedly copied. The major one being that Samsung ‘…copied the look and feel of the iPhone and the iPad’ (SMH 2012). Putting it simply, the devices were the same shape. WHAT? Hold up, so phones can’t be rectangular now? According to Apple, they have patented the shape of the iPhone, which essentially is just a rectangle.
Why is there this need for a monopoly of certain markets? It is all about the power.
I can’t seem to get my head around this need, it seems greedy and selfish, but I guess we can see that this mentality has been around since at least since the industrial revolution.
As Boldrin & Levine (2007) said,
“Intellectual property laws need to strike a balance between providing sufficient incentive for creation and the freedom to make use of existing ideas.”
OTHERWISE, would there be any further creativity??
‘Apple vs. Samsung legal battles summarised’, 2012, Sydney Morning Herald, 31 August, accessed 1/09/2012, http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-technology/apple-vs-samsung-legal-battles-summarized-20120831-255xb.html
Boldrin, M., and Levine, D.K. (2007). Introduction. In Against Intellectual Monopoly (pp. 1-15). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press [URL: http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/papers/anew01.pdf%5D