Patent trolls are a threat to competitive markets – and the UK may not be immune - Senior Fellow Keith Boyfield writes for CityAM

The Adam Smith Institute's Senior Fellow, Keith Boyfield, wrote an op-ed for CityAM about the threat patent trolls pose to markets.

LONDON’s technology sector is booming. Driven by big venture capital investments (tech firms attracted a record $1bn in the first nine months of 2014), and encompassing everything from finance to fashion, it is one of our greatest recent success stories. But this nascent sector also faces a worrying potential threat. A fresh menace to the workings of efficient markets is rapidly gripping the global tech industry, and it threatens to stifle innovation, raise prices, and constrain choice for consumers across the globe. The threat has been dubbed “patent privateering” and its impact on effective competition is already alarming.

Patent privateering refers to the practice whereby corporations wanting to defend their market share enter into private agreements with patent assertion entities (PAEs), or patent trolls as they are more commonly dubbed. These PAEs are effectively special purpose vehicles with no manufacturing capabilities; they are created to enforce patent rights and sue people. The more, the better.

Read the full article here.

Sam Bowman discusses the 'market-friendly' way of tackling inequality on Voice of Russia

Research Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, spoke to Voice of Russia about the 'market-friendly' way of addressing inequality.

CEO salaries and banker bonuses came under particular scrutiny. Sam Bowman is Research Director at the Adam Smith Institute, a libertarian think tank. He doesn’t think inequality is the problem:

“What’s really important is how much wealth people at the bottom have. It’s not really relevant how much money people at the top have, as long as they aren’t exploiting people at the bottom, which doesn’t seem to be the case. Usually inequality is a product of economic growth. Wealth tends to grow a bit more quickly for those who own capital.

“The really interesting story is equality around the world. One of the phenomena of globalisation is that as inequality grows in individual countries in the developed world, it decreases across the world because people in poor countries tend to get a lot richer because jobs such as manufacturing are moved to poorer countries. I think that’s a good thing.”

Read the full article here.

Sam Bowman's comments in defence of Lord Freud feature in The Daily Telegraph, The Times, and The Sun Online

Research Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, was quoted by The Daily Telegraph, The Times, and The Sun Online on his defence of Lord Freud’s remarks concerning work and disabilities. From The Daily Telegraph:

Scope, the disability charity, yesterday condemned Lord Freud’s comments but he was supported by the Adam Smith Institute, a free market think tank.

Sam Bowman, the organisation’s research director, said: “His point was that the market value of some people’s wages is below the minimum wage.

“This is often true of the severely disabled and can have appalling consequences for their self-esteem and quality of life.

“To point out that someone’s market value is less than minimum wage has nothing to do with their moral value as human beings.”

From The Times:

However, the Adam Smith Institute, a libertarian think-tank, defended Lord Freud, saying: “To point out that someone’s market value is less than minimum wage has nothing to do with their moral value as human beings.

“[Lord] Freud’s point was that we should help people in this situation by allowing them to find jobs paying below the minimum wage and topping up their pay directly to make up the difference.”

From The Sun Online

But the Adam Smith Institute said Ed Miliband’s attack was “shameless".

Sam Bowman, the think tank’s research director, said: “His (Freud’s) point was that the market value of some people’s wages is below the minimum wage.

“To point out that someone’s market value is less than minimum wage has nothing to do with their moral value as human beings."

And it emerged last night that Labour had considered a lower minimum wage for disabled workers back in 2003.

 

Sam Bowman's comments in defence of Lord Freud feature on Channel 4 News and ITV News

Research Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, was quoted by Channel 4 News and ITV News on his defence of Lord Freud's remarks concerning work and disabilities. From Channel 4 News:

Lord Freud was defended by Sam Bowman, from the Adam Smith Institute, a free market think tank.

He said: "Lord Freud has been shamefully mistreated by Ed Miliband. His point was that the market value of some people's wages is below the minimum wage.

"This is often true of the severely disabled and can have appalling consequences for their self-esteem and quality of life."

From ITV News:

Think tank The Adam Smith Institute has defended Lord Freud's comments regarding disabled workers.

Sam Bowman, research director, said the Conservative welfare minister had been "shamefully mistreated" by Labour leader Ed Miliband, who has called for Freud to resign after he suggested some disabled workers are "not worth" the full minimum wage.

Mr Bowman said: "His (Freud's) point was that the market value of some people’s wages is below the minimum wage. This is often true of the severely disabled and can have appalling consequences for their self-esteem and quality of life."

He added: "To point out that someone’s market value is less than minimum wage has nothing to do with their moral value as human beings.

"Freud’s point was that we should help people in this situation by allowing them to find jobs paying below the minimum wage and topping up their pay directly to make up the difference."

Press Release: Ed Miliband's attack on Lord Freud is shameful

Commenting on Ed Miliband's attack on Lord Freud's comments about the disabled, Research Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, said:

Lord Freud has been shamefully mistreated by Ed Miliband. His point was that the market value of some people’s wages is below the minimum wage. This is often true of the severely disabled and can have appalling consequences for their self-esteem and quality of life. Fixing this problem was the justification for Remploy, a government-funded firm that gave jobs to disabled people who could not find work elsewhere.

To point out that someone’s market value is less than minimum wage has nothing to do with their moral value as human beings. Freud’s point was that we should help people in this situation by allowing them to find jobs paying below the minimum wage and topping up their pay directly to make up the difference.

Even if you don’t agree with this method, it is motivated by compassion for the disabled and an understanding of the unpleasant side-effects of our minimum wage laws. Freud’s only crime was to speak bluntly: it is disgraceful to use his words against him in the way Miliband has.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07476 915072.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.