note to self
Curious that IP is not mentioned in this article: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8177af34-eb21-11e2-bfdb-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl
If IP law has become more expansive, then a given amount of investment in IP will yield higher total profits (including longer monopoly rent periods). IP law can become more expansive in several ways including longer periods of exclusivity (*), wider applicability – patents on software for example – if patents are issued on so many broadly applicable (and somewhat obvious) items it creates a surge in monopoly rents and also concentrates power since only large companies can navigate the existing IP landscape and fund legal departments able to handle the inevitable lawsuits.
Filing IP applications on a myriad of trivial items is probably much less expensive than other forms of investment. Investment in stifling competition rather than true net beneficial innovation. Silicon Valley seems like it innovates due to the huge share of patents issued, but what if many of those patents actually represent the triumph of a well-oiled, powerful machine that simply gets patents issued faster than others? “Innovation X” was obvious enough and would have either been “open source” with more restrictive IP law or more dispersed among other players in the economy. (**)
[Should follow up and expand on this]
* See for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Term_Extension_Act