A British inventor has urged the UK government to bring upon essential changes in the patent law to prevent people stealing ideas and make intellectual property theft a criminal offence.
Trevor Baylis, the inventor of wind-up radio, has written a letter to the business secretary Lord Mandelson, urging him to come forward with over the fundamental modifications in patent laws to safeguard enterprising Britons from intellectual property rights violations.
As of now, people can submit an application with the UK Intellectual Property Office for a patent to make their ideas safe against stealing. However, patent-holders have to sue those they believe have picked their ideas illegitimately.
Discussing the issue, Mr Baylis said in an interview with the BBC: “There are lots of people out there who are affected by the problem but not all of them have the money. If I steal a car I could be sent to jail but if I were to steal an idea you would have to sue me.”
He further argued that if patent theft is made a criminal offence - in the same way as it is in the case of theft of music and literary works - then the state, not the individual, would have to bear the costs of taking action in a criminal court.
Mr Baylis has a point. It can be all too easy for some to snatch the bright ideas of those who have toiled away and the onus is on the victim to actually sue the culprit, which can be a rather frightening experience. The problem lies in the fact that people do not seem to care much about losing an idea - which might be worth millions - as long as it is not theirs.