Thursday, July 28, 2011

NPR v. Patent Trolls

The incomparable This American Life has put together an hour-long show on the American patent system (Listen here for free).  Here's Robin Effron's take on the show:

[W]hat I found interesting about the reporting was the political take.  The reporters begin and end from an unapologetic stance that patent litigation is destructive (and believe me, there is no love for lawyers in this story).  They are entirely dismissive of the idea that patents in the high-tech world promote and protect innovation.  This is a perfectly reasonable position to take -- I've seen it done plenty in scholarly commentary and the mainstream press.  I've also seen the opposing position defended.  

What bothered me was the very hostile take on litigation.

 The talking points about meritless litigation and nuisance lawsuits could have been taken word for word from the tort reform lobby.  If this had been a story about the ability of plaintiffs to stand on their rights to sue big corporations for just about anything else (antitrust, employment discrimination, personal injury, consumer rights), my guess is that it would have been a story about how bad, bad corporate defendants work to keep plaintiffs out of court.  

Steve Clowney

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/property/2011/07/npr-v-patent-trolls.html

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