"Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington devoted the Oct. 14 Republican
radio address to a question that has been strangely absent from the
current presidential campaign – how best to keep innovation
alive in the technology sector. Most of the senator's address was
devoted to defending his home-state innovator, Microsoft (MSFT) .
But in the course of his defense of the software giant, Gorton
articulated a principle that is far more fundamental – and
"Republicans don't want software developers to have to check in
with the federal government every time they get a new idea," said
the senator. "We understand that the best role for government is to
allow our workers to continue to create new and better products
that enrich our lives – free from the federal government's
heavy hand of regulation."
"For here it really is the case that "software developers
have to check in with the federal government every time they get a
new idea." Under current law, they – or, more likely, their
lawyers – must determine whether underpaid and overworked
bureaucrats in Washington have issued a 20-year monopoly covering
their "new idea." If this monopoly has been issued, then the
software developer must get the lawyers to license the invention,
or find a way to invent around it. And no doubt, if the developer
chooses to invent around it, the lawyers will again have to review
the result to assure that no infringement remains. Thus the nature
of the patent cycle: a process created by lawyers that benefits
only one group with any real certainty – lawyers."
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