A timely new book conveys the history of patents, their use and evolution, and how they have survived by remaining the same while still adapting in a manner relevant to new technologies and science.
Written by a patent attorney for audiences as diverse as business managers, inventors and entrepreneurs, as well as educators, investors and IP professionals, Once Upon a Time – The Patent, is as much about understanding where the patent might be going as much as where has it been.
Author Pascal Attali, Lead Intellectual Property Counsel for Dolby Corporation, traces the origins of patents from the glass blowers of 14th century Murano Island, a part of Venice, who are still creating, to today’s software and business methods, which are frequently challenged.
“Does the history of the patent contain lessons that allow us to predict its future?, asks the author. Attali is in impressed with the patent’s surprising ability to transform itself over centuries to fit the ideas of the time.
The book is balanced and thorough, more of a text book than a polemic, but raises interesting questions. Its premise: If the patent is to survive it may need to evolve.
The title implies a fairytale or myth that recall the romantically violent Sergio Leone epics, “Once Upon a Time in the West” and “Once Upon a Time in America.”
Acceptance of patents in most nations of the world, Attali reminds readers, is not to be confused with distrust if not outright hostility to them, especially as they relate to life saving drugs, like the Covid 19 vaccine.
Patent systems’ extraordinary capacity to adapt will be
more important than ever. So will the public’s ability to understand
how patents impact people, society and jobs.
“There is no guarantee that future generations will not want to move away from patents if they perceive them as incompatible with their new ways of thinking.”
He is of course referring to software and ecommerce.
Patent systems’ extraordinary capacity to adapt will be more important than ever. So will the public’s ability to understand how patents impact people, society, investment and jobs. They will also need the ability to discern the propaganda they hear about IP rights from vested interests.
Once Upon a Time – The Patent is available in paperback only. To read an excerpt or see the contents, go here.
A thoughtful review by Anastasiia Kyrylenko appears on IPKat.
Image source: amazon.com; ipkitten.blogspot.com