Why Has America Stopped Inventing?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Darin Gibby attempts to answer the question Why has America stopped inventing? by taking a close look at patent law. Statistics show that today we invent less than half of what our counterparts did a century and a half ago. In Why Has America Stopped Inventing? He compares some of America’s most successful 19th-century inventors with those of today.


Darin Gibby

Comments [17]

DarkSymbolist from NYC!

(For example, the last moon landing was in 1972, and abortion became legal in 1973.) You see a connection? LOL...

Dec. 07 2011 03:26 PM
JM from Queens

Combining prior art and repackaging it as an invention is suspect in my opinion. It amounts to abuse of patent law...

Dec. 07 2011 01:33 PM
Mitch from NJ

The comment $30K and five years, is really not completely accurate.

I have recent patents. It costs under 1K for the preliminary, and takes a day. One one year and $8K to $12K later you file the full patent application. Then after another year or so and some negotiation, you have a patent number. But you can use patent pending after the preliminary filing.

So five years is a misleading figure, and $30K depends on the law firm.

Dec. 07 2011 01:31 PM
MC from Manhattan

If any thing history has shown that moralists cause more harm to invention and science than so called moralists could ever do. It is the absolute certainty of the moralists position and their willingness to enforce their view of the world that is the single greatest danger to creativity and invention, lest it defy their particular interpretation of a tribal "god"'s will. This is, is it not? that very same biblical "god" that sought to deny humans the fruit of the tree of knowledge and eternal life solely because we could become not unlike this petty god "him"self?
I opt out of this pathology so please speak only for your self

Dec. 07 2011 01:30 PM
murray42 from Brooklyn

What do you think about the iniquities of the patent system, that work to favor large corporations with lots of money to pay expensive patent attorneys.

There is one large corporation that bought patents from other "inventors" and went after small businesses (like us) claiming we were infringing on the patent.

A number of experts in the computer telephony industry considered the patent to be bogus; the stuff in the "patent"w as common knowledge. However, it was going to cost me countless hours and tons of money to prove the patent invalid!

And if it was proven invalid, that was it -- I would get no compensation. In effect, it would just open up the field for me and a bunch of other people to make the "invention".

Is there any way around this problem do you think?

Dec. 07 2011 01:28 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Today, we live in a truly global economy, and our inventors compete with Asian and other inventors, and patents are now becoming international in scope. We can no longer expect that all the new great ideas are going to come from European or American brains. There are hundreds of millions of Asians, Latins, Africans an others who are sitting up nights thinking up ideas, and eventually getting patents So like everything else, in a truly global marketplace it is harder to always win.

Dec. 07 2011 01:25 PM
MC from Manhattan

"America has stopped inventing because it has become morally corrupt" Ed ... you really need to rethink your logic. Western European civilization is the most morally corrupt culture in human history and it is also amount the most inventive. There I said it .. a statement that is as logically imperfect and over reaching and hysterical as your attempt to bring your obsession with the abortion debate to this intellectual table.

Dec. 07 2011 01:22 PM
Alexander Klein from Plainview, Long Island

What current change in legislation would allow patent law to "get back on track" and allow innovation in America to flourish again?

Dec. 07 2011 01:21 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

MC from LIC, I think you have it 180 degrees backwards.. the guest is pointing out how the patent system is dysfunctional and not fulfilling its original mission and is NOT serving (American) society well.

He is no shill, only the messenger, and you are ready to shoot him.....

Dec. 07 2011 01:21 PM
Mitch from NJ

If we do not patent as much today, there are a few things come into play.

1) Few young americans pursue science and engineering majors while something like 80% pursue business majors.

2) The barrier to invention in many areas is now very high in terms of what you need to know, and often also in terms of what you need to spend to develop and build it.

3) Access to funding sets another very high barrier, At the idea stage, risk is high and access is zero, and for many venture funds this is the case until you are selling enough of your invention that you hardly need them.

Dec. 07 2011 01:19 PM
MC from LIC

Hmm. I'm skeptical. Is this lawyer a shill for patent trolls and other manipulations of this draconian system? Seems to favor big corporations. How do you deal with patent trolls?

Dec. 07 2011 01:16 PM
Phoebe from bushwick

What exactly does "patent pending" mean? Where do you have to be in the process? couldn't you just start the process and never finish?

Dec. 07 2011 01:15 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

There is no question, that wealth of a society will be soon measured in patents per capita rather than GDP per capita. However, most of the great breakthroughs today are being made in biology rather than in gadgets or widgets, and large corporations have too much control over what their employees create.

Dec. 07 2011 01:13 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

The guest is citing a superb example of one of FUNDAMENTAL problems (although not the only one) with our society today and why we are slipping behind -- our completely dysfunctional legal system -- cited by another guest in a different context very recently either on Leonard's show or on Brian's.

Dec. 07 2011 01:12 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Good point, there are other very serious moral crimes, like slavery, which almost ended the union. Others are serious but not on the same level. The past was certainly not pure. Still, today, the wrong we're committing is abortion, and on a big scale. And it makes sense to me that serious immorality crushes the spirit and stops creativity, artistic or otherwise. It is, you're right, the resulting Zeitgeist.

(For example, the last moon landing was in 1972, and abortion became legal in 1973.)

Dec. 07 2011 01:07 PM
fuva from Harlemworld

Well, Ed, the topic is "invention", strictly speaking, and not creativity, which is somewhat different. And while I agree that the current American zeitgeist is at least partially at issue here, is abortion really the only current "immorality' you can cite? And I guess America was morally "pure" back in the day when it was allegedly more inventive -- even with slavery, state-sanctioned terror, Gilded Era horrors, child exploitation, the repression of women, etc., huh?

Dec. 07 2011 11:07 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Aside from the law, America has stopped inventing because it has become morally corrupt (abortion in particular), and a morally corrupt country can't have creativity.

Dec. 07 2011 08:09 AM

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