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William Watkins Archive

William J. Watkins, Jr. is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute and author of the Independent books, Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution, Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy, and Patent Trolls: Predatory Litigation and the Smothering of Innovation.
Full Biography and Recent Publications

In Politics, Innovation Isn’t Always Progress



Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton called for innovative solutions for what ails America. For the former it was a new fence on our southern border that will supposedly be funded by Mexico; for the latter it was free (i.e., taxpayer subsidized) college tuition. Fresh ideas, they told us, could “make America great again”...
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Can Christian Adherents of the Freedom Philosophy Support Trump?



There has been much chatter recently about whether Christians with libertarian or conservative convictions can, in good conscience, support Trump. At the American Conservative, Rod Dreher says no. Over at Chronicles Tom Piatak challenges Dreher’s reasoning. Walter Block, who is behind the Libertarians for Trump movement, says that “The Donald is the most congruent with...
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SCOTUS, the Presidential Debate, and The Formula



The Supreme Court will be a major issue in tonight’s presidential debate. Justice Scalia’s seat is just part of the story. At 83 years old, rumors have long been swirling about the health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a solid vote for the liberals. Moreover, Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee who often votes with the...
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Patent Reform Is Not a Left Wing Thing



Over at R Street, Zach Graves has a good piece up looking at the American Conservative Union’s opposition to patent reform pending in the Congress. He points out that the sponsors of the much maligned legislation are not looney leftists, but solid leaders on the Right. The American Conservative Union’s own scorecard ranks members sponsoring...
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Patent Trolls Still Alive and Kicking



Over at Techdirt, there is a good story up on how a patent troll attacked a startup and the litigation costs so distressed the startup that it was forced to sell out to another patent troll. Peter Braxton created Jump Rope Inc., and developed an app that allows users to pay a fee to...
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Shifting from Quantity to Quality in Patent Applications



VentureBeat has published a good piece on how “innovators are now moving away from creating untargeted, mass-produced innovations that aim only to secure as many patents as possible, and they’re moving toward precise innovation centered around specific product and market needs.” The American patent system has long been suffering the consequences of the issuance of...
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Patent Trolls Suffer Setback



It is always good news to hear about a patent troll taking one on the chin. According to this article from the BBC, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has invalidated parts of a patent claimed by Personal Audio. The patent at issue claimed all rights on “a system for disseminating media content representing...
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Republicans Split over Patent Reform



The Washington Times has an interesting article on the division among Republicans on patent reform. According to the article: Two dozen prominent conservative political groups, led by the influential American Conservative Union, the Club for Growth and the Eagle Forum, sent a letter Wednesday to House Speaker John A. Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch...
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New Study Links Patent Trolls to Decline in R&D Spending and Other Ills



A new paper (“Patent Trolls: Evidence from Targeted Firms”) written by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Texas offers more evidence of the harm that patent trolls cause to the American economy. The data show that (1) trolls target companies flush with cash, (2) seek targets likely to settle rather than litigate, and (3)...
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Tech Companies Work to Tame Patent Trolls without Government Help



In the wake of Congress failing to pass patent litigation reform this year, the private sector has gotten into gear and has taken matters into its own hands. Tech companies have formed LOTNet. This article from Motherboard sums up this new idea: As they say, if you can’t go through, go around. Enter the License...
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