From Techdirt… this image was captured at the Republican National Convention.
At the Republican Convention, Matt Yglesias catches a funny picture of an AT&T poster touting the company’s enthusiasm for the patent system. It reads: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of more patents. AT&T: Averaging 2 patent applications per day. Proudly connecting political supporters in Minneapolis.”
Photo by Matt Yglesias at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
It’s interesting that AT&T is bragging about its pursuit of “more patents” rather than, say, more R&D spending or more innovation. AT&T isn’t exactly known for its record of high-tech innovation, so it’s a little surprising to see it hold itself out as a poster child for the patent system—particularly when we remember that AT&T and other telco incumbents have used the patent system to extort tens of millions of dollars from companies like Vonage that are actually innovating.
Aside from the “companies like Vonage that are actually innovating” bit Timothy gets it right. Patents are not innovation. They are a construct designed to protect innovation, but sadly have become a business model unto themselves.