TIPping point

Economists invariably use that phrase when describing a period, such as last two weeks in the financial sector, that causes decisive far-reaching changes. Could a similar similar situation be developing in science and technology? A report by the NGO, The Innovation Partnership (TIP)suggests that the patent system needs drastic overhaul. They argue that endless circles of patent protection have stifled innovation, sharing and co-operation. It has achieved the reverse of what it set out to do, namely, create novel products and services by assuring investors that strong intellectual property defences would protect thier investments. Instead, it has created isolated fortresses of patents that cannot be linked to develop new products such as cancer treatments.

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