Who needs patent laws, anyway?

The evidence is that companies don’t rely on (patent laws) much. The basic underlying principle is that you shouldn’t be given a monopoly unless you get something for it, in other words if an innovator would innovate anyway, you shouldn’t give them a monopoly. In lots of areas basically 30 years of studies say they’ll innovate anyway.

So said Eric von Hippel, a prophet of user-driven innovation (what Wired cleverly called ‘Crowdsourcing’ in its June 2006 issue). I interviewed him in March 2006 for Diamond Weekly. The full interview as I submitted it is

von hippel Q&A

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