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Christiaan Stoudt

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The Democratization Of The Patent System

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Everywhere that you look there is a democratization that is happening to the world around us — democratization of information, democratization of society, and democratization of humanity. What is democratization? It is actually natures evolutionary force putting pressure on humanity to move forward in one specific way – giving more life to all. Anything that doesn’t have this belief at its core will ultimately be made extinct.

The democratization that I’m talking about is not a system on some political level, but actually an empowerment that is happening across the globe on personalized individual level. Corporations and the government alike talk about how important it is to them that we move society forward, but when you actually look at the model that they designed around it — all you see is control and limitation in a power based hierarchy.

One of the best examples of this is the patent system. At its roots the patent system was created as a democratization force because it allows an individual to create a piece of technology and own that technology in a way that their competitors cannot take it away from them. This is most important when the competitor is a larger force and has the ability to wipe that inventor off the face of the earth by undermining them through a price war, etc. So at one point in the evolution of our society, the patent system was needed because it gave empowerment to people. Where it has gone wrong, though, is that it has been taken advantage of and is now misused by corporations and patent trolls to limit innovation.

How this is done is basically a new individual cannot even create anything without potentially facing a lawsuit by a corporation or another individual that happens to own the patent on it. Even if you create something new, it is very likely that you infringe upon some other patent because of the general nature and overreaching ways that patents can be described. An example being that Apple owns the patent on a tablet even though it was common knowledge that the technology was going that direction because we saw it in movies like 2001 the space Odyssey decades before it was a reality. Another example is that Amazon recently acquired the patent on having a picture taken of something in front of a white background.

So what we really see happening here is that a law and society value was useful at one point, but is now a hindrance in another. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors has stepped forward and shown the mature visionary he is by understanding what stifling of innovation the patent system is causing. In this blog post he announced that Tesla would not take legal action against anyone that wanted to use their patented technology in good faith. He did this because he believes that electric vehicles are one of the ways to get past global warming. So he opened up his technology portfolio in hopes that the other car manufacturers take advantage of it. This is a perfect example of a company taking very new world changing technology and opening it up in a way so that anyone can take advantage of it while they both still make money.

The democratization of the patent system is coming. This process of democratization is only a matter of time because the lunacy of the excessive patents that are granted are overwhelming the system in general. We are already at a tipping point because you almost can’t do anything without infringing on some type of patent. We see countless legal battles between people and corporations as they try to fight for market share. The funny thing is many of these large corporations have a marketing campaign where they talk about how much they value innovation.

One of the best examples of a closed system is Apple. Everything you hear about them speaks about evolution and changing the world — yet they are one of the most closed systems that you see anywhere. Yes, they’ve done a lot of things that have opened up and allowed us all to move forward, but when you actually take a step back you can see that the design of what they release is still a closed system. If you don’t buy into it, you don’t get access to it. How is that really helpful to society and humanity in the long run? Imagine a world where Apple was open sourced and helped people innovate openly across corporations. We would be so much farther along because of all the great ideas they do develop and release.

We need to let go of the fear of the loss of control that the patent system actually represents. We need to have an open-ended sharing of technology across the globe. We are all one species and we need to start seeing ourselves as that. If I create something that is world changing, but you are able to market it or make it better — don’t we all win?

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Author Christiaan Stoudt

Christiaan focuses on transformation by helping businesses and individuals strategically evolve past their limiting paradigms allowing them achieve their true success and growth potential.

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