Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Oct 2012 23:50 UTC, submitted by B. Janssen
Well known judge Richard Posner scores another home run. "I am concerned that both patent and copyright protection, though particularly the former, may be excessive. To evaluate optimal patent protection for an invention, one has to consider both the cost of inventing and the cost of copying; the higher the ratio of the former to the latter, the greater the optimal patent protection for the inventor."
by Brendan on Thu 4th Oct 2012 06:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Good read !"

Member since:
2005-11-16

That would be interesting indeed, but then how would development time and cost be measured ?

For software; I'd measure it in units of "uni students". Ask 100 different uni students to solve the problem and see how many "invent" the same invention. If all of them come up with the solution that's described by the patent, then it's a "zero uni student" patent worth nothing (declared obvious), and if only 3 come up with the solution described by the patent then it's a "97 uni student" patent worth about about 97 dozen bottles of beer.

Of course if none of the uni students "invent" the invention in the patent you'd expand your search - try 1000 uni students, then 10000, etc. If you ever run out of uni students, then you assume that most uni students have been inventing something better than the method in the patent and declare the patent "irrelevant on the grounds of obsolescence" (worthless).

For this system, the maximum worth of any patent is equal to the number of uni students available minus 1, multiplied by the price of 12 bottles of beer. If a country has 1 million uni students and a bottle of beer costs \$1; then the maximum worth of a patent is (almost) \$12 million.

- Brendan