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Psimulus
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25 Aug 2008, 1:42 pm

I am no expert on patent law. From what I have read, it seems the patent system was supposed to level the playing field so as to promote creativity and inventiveness and also create an environment where anyone has the ability to contribute to the development of our species. This is not how it is at the moment though. It is nearly impossible for your average economicaly underprivelaged individual to secure a patent without outside assistance. Your thoughts, insights, opinions?



Fnord
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25 Aug 2008, 2:09 pm

Psimulus wrote:
I am no expert on patent law. From what I have read, it seems the patent system was supposed to level the playing field so as to promote creativity and inventiveness and also create an environment where anyone has the ability to contribute to the development of our species. This is not how it is at the moment though. It is nearly impossible for your average economicaly underprivelaged individual to secure a patent without outside assistance. Your thoughts, insights, opinions?

It is also nearly impossible for your average economically underprivileged individual to:

1) Have an understanding of basic scientific principles.
2) Purchase the tools and supplies needed for research.
3) Produce a working prototype of an invention (not needed, but useful).

... and after the invention is developed:

1) Secure the services of a patent draftsperson or clerk (for producing the patent application correctly).
2) Secure the services of a patent lawyer (patent searches, licensing, lawsuits, et cetera).

So, stay in school, go to college, get a job, finance your research, develop a truly unique idea, hire the right people, and the patent is yours. Simple, eh?


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0_equals_true
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25 Aug 2008, 2:32 pm

The first three depends. You can patent something theoretical it doesn't actually have to be made. Some patents are absolutely ridiculous they couldn't be done anyway. In fact, the more sensible the harder it is to patent because it will receive challenges.

Money and lawyers are the main problem. The patent system isn't fair. Most people who create something new aren't the people that secure the patent. Also the drug companies who claim that their extortionate prices are for research actually don’t do most of the initial research nowadays, and the people that do rarely get much of this money.

However what is even most controversial is this concept of evergreening. Some firms just assume that you should be allowed to patent something indefinitely. But is it good for the consumer, or the economy? I think it is bad. In majority cases it holds progress back, it is not good for competition and can artificially inflate prices. Personally I would be in favour of a maximum time to hold a patent. That is a good balance. It allows a firm to get a head start but doesn't stall competition indefinitely.


Fnord wrote:
Psimulus wrote:
I am no expert on patent law. From what I have read, it seems the patent system was supposed to level the playing field so as to promote creativity and inventiveness and also create an environment where anyone has the ability to contribute to the development of our species. This is not how it is at the moment though. It is nearly impossible for your average economicaly underprivelaged individual to secure a patent without outside assistance. Your thoughts, insights, opinions?

It is also nearly impossible for your average economically underprivileged individual to:

1) Have an understanding of basic scientific principles.
2) Purchase the tools and supplies needed for research.
3) Produce a working prototype of an invention (not needed, but useful).

... and after the invention is developed:

1) Secure the services of a patent draftsperson or clerk (for producing the patent application correctly).
2) Secure the services of a patent lawyer (patent searches, licensing, lawsuits, et cetera).

So, stay in school, go to college, get a job, finance your research, develop a truly unique idea, hire the right people, and the patent is yours. Simple, eh?



Awesomelyglorious
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25 Aug 2008, 2:48 pm

Psimulus wrote:
I am no expert on patent law. From what I have read, it seems the patent system was supposed to level the playing field so as to promote creativity and inventiveness and also create an environment where anyone has the ability to contribute to the development of our species. This is not how it is at the moment though. It is nearly impossible for your average economicaly underprivelaged individual to secure a patent without outside assistance. Your thoughts, insights, opinions?

Hmm... I think it is to promote creativity and inventiveness by providing a clear incentive tie to good creations. I don't think it was supposed to be designed so that patents could be attained in an egalitarian fashion, especially given that a lot of patents require significant capital investments to attain.

As for whether or not patents are a good system, that is a question of monopoly status vs effective incentive for creation of immaterial capital. If the patents are for too long a duration, then the efficiency lost due to monopoly status undermines the incentive gained for the creation of capital, if the immaterial capital is usually created mostly by other organizations, then the incentive for doing so can be too high as well, however, if no patents exist then immaterial capital will have much less incentive for it's creation and thus this can reduce economic growth through that means. The potential problems are long, but the potential solutions are hardly perfect either.



LostInEmulation
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25 Aug 2008, 2:56 pm

The (American) patent system is completely corrupted(? more like misdesigned). More and more stupid and trivial things are being patented, also, I completely disagree with granting patents on algorithms and software. A program is normally using so many little parts that it's virtually impossible to program without violating n+x stupid, trivial software patents! :evil:


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LKL
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25 Aug 2008, 9:43 pm

The patent system needs a total overhaul with respect to patents on genes. Right now, people can take out patents on naturally-occuring genes when they find them (or even when they isolate the gene's location to a certain chunk of chromosome); they can take out patents for naturally-occuring protiens when they find them (which may be coded for by the same gene that someone else has already patented); they can take out patents for cellular processes and other facets of biology, any and all of which might overlap with other patents, leading to lawsuits at best. It's a really screwed up situation - and that's before you even start addressing the morality of patenting something that occurs naturally.



NeantHumain
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25 Aug 2008, 9:52 pm

Not necessarily corrupt, but understaffed, underfunded, and directed by laws that really aren't good for innovation. The results are predictably poor.



Fnord
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26 Aug 2008, 10:52 am

Just because the US Patent System is typical of governmental bureaux, it does not mean that people can not innovate and invent. It only means that they'll have difficulty getting a patent.

Don't let the US Patent Department be your excuse for your own lack of inventiveness.


_________________
 
“I must acknowledge, once and for all, that the
purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis.”

— Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, in the Star Trek
episode "The Mark of Gideon" (ep. 3.16, 1969)