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Dr. Goolsbee Diagnoses the Patent Mess

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, March 7 2011

It was a tip from Pauline Villager of California that sends Austan Goolsbee back to the white board, this time to lay out what team Obama (and, worth noting, many other observers) see as a fatal flaw in the American patent system: that there's simply not enough people and time allocated right now dedicated to vetting inventor's patent applications, which means both that creators have to wait forever to get patents and that the patents that eventually pop out of that mess are weak, duplicative, or indefensible. Goolsbee covers the topic in four minutes flat -- including time given over to saying that if the crustless peanut and butter sandwich is patentable, his own ma owes somebody a lot of dough.

Lucky for Villager, and Goolsbee, the Senate is at this very moment debating a patent reform bill.

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In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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