[ExI] Problem with Pattents

Tom Tobin korpios at korpios.com
Fri Feb 22 16:19:20 UTC 2008

On 2/21/08, ABlainey at aol.com <ABlainey at aol.com> wrote:
> I have been thinking recently about patents and whether they are
> fundamentally wrong. As an inventor I have no problem with people getting
> credit where credit is due. , likewise no problem with monetary gain from
> one's endeavours however I get a biting feeling that patents are purely
> selfish and uncivilised.

My problem with patents (likewise copyrights) is that they represent a
bargain with society, and society is now getting a raw deal.  The
bargain went something like this: To encourage you to invent (or
author works), society will give you a monopoly on the use of your
idea *for a limited time*; in exchange, once that time is up,
society's public domain is enriched.

Give an inch and they'll take a mile, of course.

Today, the duration of these monopoly periods has been extended to
ludicrous terms: copyright by simply tacking on decades, and patents
by not scaling down the term to account for accelerating rates of
technological change.  Authors and inventors have come to view their
IP not as a bargain, but as a *right* — and damn anyone who wants to
take away their *rights* ... right?

There are some rumblings of change in the US Trademark and Patent
Office, particularly where the idea of "obviousness" is concerned:
this idea, that has been frequently ignored by patent inspectors, is
that patents aren't supposed to be issued for an idea that someone
skilled in the field would come up with as the natural solution to a
given problem.  Enforcing the "obviousness" rule again is a good step,
but I worry at how much damage there is yet to undo.  :-/

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