The impact of IP laws upon innovation is not so clear cut. There are many examples of IP stemming the advancement of society in many different fields, from the arts to the sciences.

Take, for example, the arts, where artists build upon the work from their predecessors and peers. Are they being inspired, or stealing? There are an increasing number of lawsuits in this area.

The same can be seen with patent protection, where many companies now troll for patents not in order to be innovative and build our society, but to benefit from suing those that have employed (e.g. NTP and Visto suits versus RIM).

In health and science, what about the patents on human genes? Far back in 2005, National Geographic reported that 1/5th of the human genome had been patented. That's 1/5th of the genes that make up you and me. What impact will this have on R&D? Do you really think that these genes would not have been identified had there not been the capacity to patent them?

Conversely, open source believes that sharing is the way of the future. Even IBM has been involved in numerous open source projects and estimates it has saved tens of millions of dollars, if not more. We can see the advancement of open source Android versus Blackberry's proprietary's software, and how it has taken hold. Linux and Java are further examples. How about Wikipedia's success?

We must not arbitrarily defend patents and property rights when there are equally powerful alternatives.