Friday, December 20, 2013

Wall Street Journal Columnist L. Gordon Crovitz Rewrites History – Jimmy Carter Defeated Ronald Reagan in 1980 and He is Responsible for a Patent Problem

Does Any Publication Have More Contempt for Its Readers Than the WSJ?

Writing on the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal columnist L. Gordon Crovitz (the L apparently standing for ‘loony’) complains of a patent problem this way.

Jimmy Carter's Costly Patent Mistake

His 1979 proposal has led to ill-conceived protection for software ideas and a tidal wave of litigation.


Now this Forum has no opinion on the actual issues here, as we lack even a basic knowledge of what those issues are.  But gosh we are concerned that Mr. Carter did this apparently terrible thing.  So reading on here is what we found out.

Today's patent mess can be traced to a miscalculation by Jimmy Carter, who thought granting more patents would help overcome economic stagnation. In 1979, his Domestic Policy Review on Industrial Innovation proposed a new Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which Congress created in 1982. Its first judge explained: "The court was formed for one need, to recover the value of the patent system as an incentive to industry."

Wow, the problem, if there is one, dates from a law passed in 1982.  Gosh, wasn’t the President in 1982 Ronald Reagan, and wasn’t the Senate in 1982 under the control of Republicans?  Hadn’t Mr. Carter been voted out of office in 1980?  So how exactly is a law passed by a Republican Senate and signed by a Republican President the fault of Mr. Carter?  Yeah, we don’t know either.

Of course historical accuracy is not the point here, trashing a Democratic President and preserving the legacy of a Republican one is the point.  And what does this say about the WSJ’s opinion of its readers, of just how much the Journal holds those readers in contempt.  We don’t know that either, the scale of contempt doesn’t go that high.

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