Thursday 26 June 2008

Prizes or patents?

Never mind the patent monopoly, go for the pot of gold! Republican candidate for the US Presidency John McCain has proposed a prize of US$300 million for the development of a vehicle battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars. The prize winner should deliver power at 30 percent of current costs. Said McCain of the $300 million:
“That’s one dollar, one dollar, for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency".
Senator Barack Obama calls the proposal "a gimmick". Click here for further comments in the Arizona Republic, Motor Trend, Las Vegas Sun, New York Times, and TPM Cafe

The proposal presumes, on the basis of the past few decades, that the patent system offers either an insufficient incentive or an unattractive means of exploitation. What do readers of this weblog think?

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