Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 30th Jun 2012 19:34 UTC
Legal Yesterday, we were treated to another preliminary injunction on a product due to patent trolling. Over the past few years, some companies have resorted to patent trolling instead of competing on merit, using frivolous and obvious software and design patents to block competitors - even though this obviously shouldn't be legal. The fact that this is, in fact, legal, is baffling, and up until a few months ago, a regular topic here on OSNews. At some point - I stopped reporting on the matter. The reason for this is simple: I realised that intellectual property law exists outside of regular democratic processes and is, in fact, wholly and utterly totalitarian. What's the point in reporting on something we can't change via legal means?
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The ideal system is where there is no IP except for protection of secrets (personal data etc.) and protection against misinformation (for example with trademarks). We obviously won't get a chance to vote the current system out, partly because democratic process is dysfunctional, partly because the system is already fueling itself and simply doesn't depend on our votes.

The dividing line for patents? To me, it would be either no patents at all (if they do 99% harm and 1% good we won't be off by much) or weighting the cost of protection against the cost of secrecy (if the design is clearly visible, because e.g. it is slapped on top of the product, what's the deal for us in granting the protection?).

You don't need patents for product identification either - trademarks work just fine. Here, the purpose is to make sure the consumer is not being cheated into buying a different product he intended to purchase. I have no problem with consumers buying replicas as long as they know they are not the original product.

The only reason the current system is so complex is because we have intentionally made it so. There were almost no IP protection laws (as there was no IP itself) in our history, including periods of greatest growth of our wealth. Equally well we could make a law against unauthorized breathing - you would see multiple "moral hazards" there too, as many people would try to circumvent the system/licenses/what not.

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