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The Problem With Patents
Posted: 10 December 2012 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Occam. - 07 December 2012 11:01 AM

Very good points.
Other problems with the patent system are a) that often the examiner in a certain area could make much higher wages elsewhere so less competent people are hired for that job, b) there are so many narrow areas of research and development today, that it’s unlikely that anyone could be proficient in them all.

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This is why the current head of the Patent Office, David Kappos, is looking into the use of crowd sourcing for patent review.  He appears to understand that the Patent Office itself is simply swamped and more or less unable to effectively review every patent it recieves, at least not without consuming most of the federal budget.  So he’s hoping he can get knowledgeable people from the fields involved to review them for a fee.  At least, that’s the impression I’ve gotten.

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Posted: 10 December 2012 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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As is so often the case, a good solution also brings other problems.  Patents are an alternative to trade secrets.  When someone develops something new it gives them a competitive advantage, and the competitors try to find out what it is so they can use it too and cancel that advantage.  If prospective patents are put out to “knowledgeable people from the fields” it allows them to start using the information before it’s protected by a patent.  This probably means that companies will move back to the trade secret method.

Occam

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Posted: 10 December 2012 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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macgyver - 10 December 2012 07:25 AM
Scott Mayers - 09 December 2012 02:30 PM

I don’t care how much a group or organization expends in research. I don’t think biology should be patented. If is isn’t feasible to have these private corporations fund their research in these areas, then a government corporation can and will step in to do it with the whole of society paying and benefiting in the research. The patents would be public property via government.

Well that certainly is an option. I’m not sure its smart to have only government funded research though. First, government funding is dependent on the political climate at any given moment. When the government is involved fiscal, religious, and philosophical forces often make it difficult to do any long term investment and planning on many fronts. Just look what has happened with stem cell research in this country over the past dozen years. I’m also not sure that the government is a particularly good arbiter of where to best invest every dime of the limited research funds that are available. I really think the current system which involves basic research often being funded by the government and practical research being done by commercial interests ( although there is obviously some crossover) makes the most sense.

We really have to keep our personal prejudices and biases out of this decision. The bottom line should always be “where do we want to put the incentives so that society gains the maximum benefit?” If that means that we need to protect the investments of companies doing biological research so that they are willing to take big risks and invest more money in promising research then we need to do that even if we find certain ideas philosophically distasteful.

There are some things that private industry does much better and more efficiently than the government.  If you shut that down by doing away with patent protection then a lot of good work just wont get done. Doing away with patents could slow down innovation and research very dramatically.

I hear you. But the problem can be dealt with by improving the government. The limited liability of private Corporations is too lenient. People in our western countries agree in the law of conservation for matter and energy but ignore it when it comes to economics. Everyone thinks it is absolutely normal to gain or profit from something but abnormal to lose. If a government incorporates something for itself (all the people), then the liability is still protected and so it’s okay to take a loss as a whole for something necessary. But when private corporations go bankrupt for loss, the investors do not lose anything while the society, usually through government, still pays. Governments, especially conservative ones, usually overspend ON PURPOSE. The purpose is usually to try to destabilize the trust in government in people just as yourself in order to transfer the powers over to a government of the wealthy. Encouraging patent control to them is more power to them in the long and short term. A private corporation cannot ‘care’ for the benefits to society beyond the profit incentives to its investors. Any attempts to do so always causes their shares to drop.

Check out: metronews.ca /news /canada /432912 /supreme-court-strikes-down-viagra-patent / * how we handled a recent case with Viagra. Maybe this could help out there too.

* I tried to link this and it was blocked for some reason.?? It’s a popular Canadian newspaper. I’m guessing that your federal government does not want you to see this! (take out the blanks and add http://)

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Posted: 12 December 2012 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Occam. - 10 December 2012 01:16 PM

As is so often the case, a good solution also brings other problems.  Patents are an alternative to trade secrets.  When someone develops something new it gives them a competitive advantage, and the competitors try to find out what it is so they can use it too and cancel that advantage.  If prospective patents are put out to “knowledgeable people from the fields” it allows them to start using the information before it’s protected by a patent.  This probably means that companies will move back to the trade secret method.

Good point.  I suppose they’d have to utilize some sort of waiver or nondisclosure or other legal agreement.  Maybe something that keeps a reviewer from capitalizing on a patent they reviewed for a certain number of years.

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