Despite today’s polarized political atmosphere, it is possible to construct an ambitious and highly promising agenda of pro-growth policy reform that can command support across the ideological spectrum. Such an agenda would focus on policies whose primary effect is to inflate the incomes and wealth of the rich, the powerful, and the well-established by shielding them from market competition. A convenient label for these policies is “regressive regulation” — regulatory barriers to entry and competition that work to redistribute income and wealth up the socioeconomic scale. This paper identifies four major examples of regressive regulation: excessive monopoly privileges granted under copyright and patent law; restrictions on high-skilled immigration; protection of incumbent service providers under occupational licensing; and artificial scarcity created by land-use regulation.
Patents for mobile technology have been receding somewhat from the sky-high values seen earlier amid intense litigation and legal developments may be among the reasons [Ina Fried, Re/Code]:
Over the past couple of years, more patents are being overturned as part of a more extensive post-grant review process at the patent office. Various court rulings have also made it harder to get injunctions on standards-essential patents. Finally, the Supreme Court set new limits in a key case over software patents, known as the Alice decision.
More on Alice v. CLS Bank here.
Friend of Overlawyered Margaret Little recently reviewed for the WSJ a new book about Abe Lincoln’s greatest law case: “While Judd, like many a flamboyant trial lawyer, opened with the big themes of crime and political influence, it was the technical case advanced by Lincoln that won the day. Mr. McGinty illustrates how central Lincoln’s understanding of river currents, bridge engineering and steamboat operation was to the success of the defense. … (Lincoln was the only president to hold a patent, for a boat-lifting device.)”
- Yes: “Should the Legal Drinking Age Be Lowered?” [New York Times “Room for Debate”]
- “New police radars can ‘see’ inside homes” [Gannett]
- “‘Shopping cart’ patent beaten by Newegg comes back to court, loses again” [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica]
- “Utah woman can sue herself over fatal car accident, ruling says” [Salt Lake Tribune, Lowering the Bar]
- “Large Product Liability Awards Made Comeback in 2014″ [Margaret Cronin Fisk, Bloomberg]
- New York assembly ex-speaker Silver indicted; charges reduced from five to three [Reuters]
- “Your fruit may be patented.” [Dan Lewis, Now I Know]
The panel is packed with big names and many of them offer suggestions with a law or regulation angle, including Philip K. Howard (“Radically Simplify Law”), Derek Khanna (rethink patent and copyright law; related, Ramesh Ponnuru), Morris Kleiner (reform occupational licensure; related, Steven Teles), Arnold Kling (“Sidestep the FCC and the FDA”), Robert Litan (admit more high-skill immigrants and reform employment of teachers; similarly on immigration, Alex Nowrasteh), Adam Thierer (emphasize “permissionless innovation”), and Peter Van Doren (relax zoning so to ease movement of workers to high-wage cities).
- “Our mangled patent system,” Cato podcast [with Eli Dourado of the Mercatus Center] Critique of federal circuit [Dourado at Cato Unbound]
- Since SCOTUS’s June decision in Alice v. CLS Bank, many courts have struck down software patents as too-abstract [Timothy Lee, Vox]
- Iqbal-Twombly principles as remedy for patent trollery? [Daniel Fisher]
- ISP resists mass copyright enforcement enterprise’s demand for customer list [DSL Reports]
- Win for Personal Audio in E.D. Tex.: “Jury finds CBS infringes podcasting patent, awards $1.3 million” [ArsTechnica]
- “Premier League Uses Copyright To Pull Down YouTube Video Of Professor Advocating For Stronger Copyright For Premier League” [Mike Masnick, Techdirt]
- A new leaf? “Silicon Valley’s Most Hated Patent Troll Stops Suing and Starts Making” [Business Week]
- “Kanye West Sues Coinye Altcoin into Oblivion” [CoinDesk]
- Not new, but new to me: animated riff on Hindu “Ramayana” saga winds up in public domain because of inability to clear copyright on songs of Jazz-Age vocalist Annette Hanshaw [Nina Paley, “Sita Sings the Blues”]
- “Update: Supreme Court Issues Two More Patent Law Rulings” [WLF; Limelight and Nautilis]
- On copyright, more litigious not always better: “The Authors Alliance vs. The Authors Guild” [Alex Tabarrok quoting Virginia Postrel]
- “Thwarting ‘patent trolls': Not as easy as it sounds” [Michael Rosen, AEI] “Trolls and Trial Lawyers Should Curb Their Enthusiasm Over Patent Reform Timeout” [Cory Andrews, WLF]
- “I realized that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit” – [Elon Musk, Tesla; Brad Greenburg, Concurring Opinions]
- Ready for Hillary is latest political campaign to fire off takedown demand against satirical product [Paul Alan Levy]
More clarity, or even deeper confusion? The Supreme Court has agreed to revisit software patents in the case of Alice Corp. v. CLS International. “A system of property rights is flawed if no one can know what’s protected. That’s what happens when the government grants 20-year patents for vague software ideas in exchange for making the innovation public.” [Gordon Crovitz, WSJ, quoted at Marginal Revolution; Daniel Fisher, Forbes]