Patent and Technology


October 25, 2012
Patent System Innovation

Patents and Technology
The New York Times
October 23, 2012

To the Editor:

In the High-Tech Patent Wars, an Inventor’s Lament” (Bits blog, Oct. 15) conflates perceived concerns about our patent system and hand-wringing about some high-profile lawsuits to conclude that innovation is threatened. Nothing is further from the truth.

For more than two centuries, American patent laws have supported innovations that made us the world leader in breakthrough ideas and technologies. While no system is perfect, we must avoid the urge to “fix” marginal imperfections with hammers rather than tweezers.

The misguided focus on the so-called smartphone war is a case in point. History is full of patent disputes involving novel inventions, from the cotton gin to the sewing machine to Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone. In each case the litigation abated, technology survived, often improved, and lives were made richer.

The shift to mobile technology that is defining the 21st century is supported by research and development investment motivated and protected by strong patent laws. We should not overreact or encourage regulation aimed at limiting inventors’ ability to enforce the fundamental property right contemplated by our Constitution.

Given the state of global competition, and an economy increasingly dependent on knowledge and innovation, we must preserve incentives to invent, not diminish them.

Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Qualcomm
San Diego, Oct. 22, 2012

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