Robert Friedel's new book
"The Culture of Improvement"
in the Wall Street Journal today by Adam Keiper.
The contributions of famous entrepreneurs, including James Watt and Robert Fulton, are surveyed. Are Watt's legal strategems part of the story?
What about patents as innovation blocking mechanisms?
The reviewer quotes a passage stating that patents can divert attention away from the cumulative history of creativity.
Technology "proceeds by fits and starts;" R&D, best practices, and, yes, patents are part of the story. A visit to Amazon could be in order.
(off-topic of this post)
Look at this IP based protectionnism over here.
Now compare the number of economists that will complain about the above (I'll probably be able to count them with the finger(s) of one hand) and the number who spoke against social standards in trade agreements (all over the MSM)...
I can't speak for all economists - but I doubt many would support this particular IP protectionism. I count seven of our bloggers (John, Michele, Monopoly Buster, me, Andrea, Michael, and Stephen) having Ph.D's in economics, and I think I can say that none of us are in favor of this - and reading the posts some of us have spoken out against it, and I will do so here and now. In short: I entirely agree this is IP based protectionism.