Patent law concerns laws involving concrete inventions and abstract innovations. It is also a legal field that maintains accountability and justice for people’s ideas and creative endeavors. The laws prevent the wrong-doings committed by patent trolls (entities that sue others on the basis of using a patent that the entity purchased solely to gain suing grounds), competing entities (Apple and Samsung have competed among patents for many years and accuse one-another of breaking laws), and information thieves (e.g., copyright infringement, illicit use of patented materials). Without patent law, there would be little to no incentives for creative individuals to disseminate their works, ideas, and knowledge to the public. The creators would have less security in keeping their associations with their inventions/products. Ultimately, patent law provides benefits to individuals who share their minds with the public through rewards (e.g., money, ownerships) and securities. Patent laws also enable advancements in technology, science, and social entrepreneurship. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) serves mechanisms to translate people’s ideas from their complex minds to a tangent reality.
Countries that support transactions associated with patents (e.g., the United States government and Silicon Valley, despite the FBI and Apple not agreeing on data-related issues) intractably defend freedoms that cultivate the creativity required for innovation. Such freedoms include freedom of speech (for exchanging critical thoughts), freedom for the movement of ideas (it can take a team to build something), and freedom of the press (your works have to be presentable to the public in order for it to contribute to society and the creators). Can you imagine an innovative society under totalitarian control (e.g., Syria)? Can you create something without the ability to public, speak, or write about it without your government’s consent? For both questions, my answer is no. I believe the glories of innovation must come with the glories of freedoms.
Some of Silicon Valley’s bywords include genius, progress, and revolutionary. The passage of Silicon Valley’s advancements and culture-setting endeavors derive from the exchanges and securities facilitated by patent laws. Inventors would rather work in Silicon Valley as opposed to pre-war Syria.
Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are the first four SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) countries that come to my mind upon the subject of SWANA’s patent law landscape. Egypt hosts a wide range of start-ups (https://angel.co/egypt) that outnumber their neighboring competitors in terms of quality and quantity. Jordan’s burgeoning entrepreneurship culture is reflected through its hosting of entrepreneurial conferences (e.g., Techwadi recently held a series of workshops in Amman) and amiable business sphere. Moroccans are leading in the construction of Arabic educational tools, and the world’s first medieval city, Marrakech, hosted the 5th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (http://www.gesmarrakech2014.org/en/home). The United Arab Emirates will host the world expo in 4 years.
Each of these nations’ economies have experienced substantial changes and culture shocks associated with entrepreneurial activities and entrepreneurial demands for streamlined online platforms, money exchange mechanisms, and access to public spaces to host public events. The culture shocks have led to these countries’ citizens and governments to either negotiate compromises with their authorities (which, in and of itself, reflects a democratic activity: meaningful dialogue between authorities and people that is based on wants and needs) or convince governments to proactively support entrepreneurship with little impetuses. The latter action paints an insufficient, yet large effigy of the United Arab Emirates. Their efforts behind the development of their Expo 2020 bid stem from government aspirations (primarily Dubai’s government) that did not require demands from its populace and offer mutual benefits to both ruling authorities and denizens alike. Overall, the UAE is welcoming notions of public life and public dialogue through its investments for Expo 2020.
Patent law infrastructures are integral to the futures of education, economies, and technologies for any given society. They enable builders of society to breach stubborn barriers for the betterment of their communities. Take Google and Tesla, two entities of entrepreneurial genesis, and their creations. From driverless cars to blazing internet speeds, they unite urban and rural communities. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and the UAE are hosting conventions, inventathons, exhibitions, and workshops to spur contributions, ideas, and, inevitably, freedoms. Why not have Damascus lead the way in nanotechnology and transportation? Why not have a Silicon Levant? Why not benefit Syrian education through innovation-derived principles? A crucial, if not first, step is to develop patent laws that would incentivize innovation and hinder authoritarianism. With tides in inventions and ideas comes inherent improvements in human rights, schooling, standards of living, and pursuits of happiness.