Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Mar 2012 19:04 UTC
Legal "Patent monopolies prevent innovation. It is a system that works against innovations, to protect the current corporations against competition from aggressive, innovative, and competitive upstarts. It allows the big corporations to crush competitive upstarts in the courtroom, rather than having to compete with their products and services." ...which happens to be exactly why the old boys' club of computer technology (Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM) wants to keep it this way. This is not a system for the people, it's a system for huge corporations.
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A first hand experience
by TADS on Mon 12th Mar 2012 19:51 UTC
TADS
Member since:
2010-11-01

Here's a software engineer's first hand experience dealing with software patents:

http://ploum.net/post/working-with-patents

It's not pretty, and this is a European scenario, I can only imagine what level the insanity must reach in the US.

Reply Score: 5

RE: A first hand experience
by SlothNinja on Mon 12th Mar 2012 20:20 in reply to "A first hand experience"
SlothNinja Member since:
2011-03-22

http://ploum.net/post/working-with-patents is an interesting take on one man's experience. But, please take it with a huge grain of salt. There are a lot of statements in there that are not quite correct from a legal standpoint.

As for the main article. I might take issue with some of the numbers and assumptions. But, I think the general premise isn't far off -- patents are a game of large corporations. Also, I think there is a very strong argument that in many, if not all, industries patents do not aid innovation and more likely have the opposite effect.

With that said, I think there might be a few industries that would not exist without patent protection. The pharmaceutical industry in particular comes to mind. The amount of money spent to develop, clinically test, and obtain FDA approval is astronomical. However, the ability to copy this work after the fact, while not trivial, is still several orders of magnitude less costly. Without some sort of exclusivity, it would be foolish for any company to spend the dollars needed to develop pharmaceuticals as they would never get their investment back out as others copied for less and saturate the market.

For other industries (e.g. software and electronics in particular), I think a good case can be made that innovation would continue at the present rate and possibly a greater rate, if there were no patents. I think part of the problem is tradition. People know the system that is presently in place and may appreciate that it has flaws. But, they are known flaws. You get rid of the current patent system. It "might" result in better world. Then again, there might be huge unforeseen problems that cause mass economic harm. No one wants to be the cause of such a downfall. Thus, what patent reform that takes place tends to be on the nature of baby steps instead of sweeping changes.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: A first hand experience
by Brendan on Tue 13th Mar 2012 04:14 in reply to "RE: A first hand experience"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

With that said, I think there might be a few industries that would not exist without patent protection. The pharmaceutical industry in particular comes to mind.


I wonder if there isn't a better way. I wonder if the pharmaceutical industry should be split into "research" and "manufacture".

The research should be a cooperative effort, where scientists worldwide have incentives to help each other and don't have any incentive to impede the progress of other researchers (via. patents, trade secrets, etc). Research could/would be funded by governments, academia, health insurance, etc. The manufacturing should be competitive, but manufacturers should compete on quality and price alone.

- Brendan

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: A first hand experience
by sid.art on Tue 13th Mar 2012 10:55 in reply to "RE: A first hand experience"
sid.art Member since:
2012-03-13

As far as "all of this anti-IP idealism does not apply to the pharma industry" type arguments go, i refer you to this :

levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/papers/imbookfinal09.pdf

It has me convinced.

Highlights the historical precedent for drugs-without-IP and the massive growth in the broader chemical industry in europe which was then lacking IP protection ( compared to the protected american industry )

Edited 2012-03-13 10:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27



Without some sort of exclusivity, it would be foolish for any company to spend the dollars needed to develop pharmaceuticals as they would never get their investment back out as others copied for less and saturate the market.


It would work in a different way. Those who are interested in the potential of new medicines would probably fund the research. Patients and their families would more often be stockholders. There would be many kinds of contracts, for instance with a floor salary for researchers and a bonus for actual achievements.

Or maybe the research would be funded by health insurance companies, who knows. In general we can't predict how future (free) markets will develop, but we can predict that they will clear.

Reply Parent Score: 3