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I agree. Scholars may have overlooked so-called "peripheral disclosure" due to the difficulties involved in defining and measuring the concept. Most applicants are only confident fully disclosing their products at trade shows, launches, on the net etc, once they have a patent pending. The peripheral disclosure is often more informative for those in the same industry as there is no need for the additional legal layers. With advances in automated document processing, I wonder if you could link patent disclosure with related online material?
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Excellent post. I agree with Brann in that the prohibitively high cost of invalidating granted patents is often ignored in more academically-inclined debates. In my mind some creative thought needs to go into solving the problems discussed in the post. Some potential ideas (which are not necessarily good!): - Find some way to heavily reduce the cost of post-grant invalidity proceeding (there have been some interesting thoughts in the UK on this); - Have more rigorous obviousness examination, maybe making more use of third party observations; - Force the limiting of business method claims to more specific fields; - Create a "third" patent stream with rapid prosecution but limited rights somewhere between utility/design and full patents for software / business methods; - Cross-link searchable software copyright registers with patent examination; - Reduced cost / liability for non-manufacturers; - Educate on use of patents; etc.
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Barry Schwartz covered the same issues in his book, the Paradox of Choice. His TED talk can be watched here: . I've since read somewhere that the original "choice" experiments had some methodological issues (I'm afraid I can't remember the exact article). However, from personal experience I agree that a restricted choice (from 4-7 items or less) is more productive. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that irreversible choices result in happier individuals (see Dan Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness).
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Apr 26, 2010