[ExI] Problem with Pattents

Kevin Freels kevin at kevinfreels.com
Fri Feb 22 18:40:55 UTC 2008

First of all, you have to remember that applying for a patent is 
optional. You are free to develop and market your ideas without getting 
one. I have done so on several occasions.
Of course there is a risk that someone else with more money and a better 
way to market your idea will see it, replicate it, refine it, and you 
won't make the money you thought you would, but that is the purpose of 
the patent which you aren't too fond of, so whatever you do, don't let 
the patent process discourage you from putting your ideas out there. 
Just do it!

I think patents still have a place but the process needs some serious 
revision. The idea that someone can patent an idea and then sit on it to 
prevent the competition from doing it is very bad indeed. There should 
be very short limitations on such things that state that a patent is 
only good for maybe 1 year unless the product is fully developed and 
implemented in that time.

The place for patents is very understandable when you consider the cost 
of bringing some products to market. Pharmaceuticals are an excellent 
example. Why pour hundreds of millions of dollars into research and 
development and the FDA approval process if someone can come behind you 
and sell the same exact thing without having to include those costs in 
their equation? If I had that kind of money to invest, I would find 
something else to put my money into besides new products. Maybe I would 
just wait for someone else to come up with new stuff.

Once you go down this road, you realize that the patent process actually 
encourages new development and not the reverse. Having everyone be like 
China is not the answer. As you have already noted, nothing "new" comes 
out of China.

Rather than throw patents out the door, what should be done is to 
re-write patent laws to where they make more sense. Get rid of the 
ability to sit on a patent without producing a product, and then flat 
out refuse to purchase products from countries that choose to ignore 

A note of caution. The US has become very reliant upon cheap goods from 
China. Doing such a thing would introduce massive levels of inflation. 
The only reason inflation has been in check for the last 20 years is the 
increasing outsourcing of manufacturing to China. Once that stops, the 
results may be very bad. Thus is the reason for the current situation 
and the likelihood that it will remain despite the obvious long-term result.

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 reasoning is that many super rich people and companies got that way 
> from patent license fees. In many cases the 'invention' was done by 
> some hard working minion of the company who probably didn't get much 
> more than their basic salary for the accomplishment.
> I know that as an inventor, I have sat on quite a few inventions, 
> simply because I didn't have the cash for patents. In several cases 
> this has led to someone else beating me to the market. Believe it or 
> not, my first invention was radar for cars that stopped you bumping 
> into things when you were parking. Sound familiar? So is my hard work 
> worth less than theirs? How many thousands of useful products are 
> currently gathering dust or being kept secret?
> It has made me wonder what would happen if the patent system were 
> scrapped.
> As I see it, the immediate effect would be a whole bunch of very cheap 
> pharmaceuticals hitting the market. I also think this is the only way 
> to create a truly competitive market place, where only the best 
> quality products (or versions of) for a reasonable price would survive.
> I can imagine it somewhat levelling the income levels of many people 
> as there would be many more companies in the world, with much flatter 
> structures. Not only that, but you would also be more likely to get 
> paid according to how much/how well you work, rather than how well you 
> can exploit others.
> I think this is probably a very timely subject with the possibility of 
> desktop production machines getting closer and closer. Imagine a world 
> where you can create anything you want in a desktop nano machine, but 
> have to swipe your credit card to pay some corporation patent licence 
> fees, just because they had the resources to beat everyone to the 
> patent office.
> New inventions are just progressions of existing technology, so given 
> the wheel it was inevitable that someone would build a cart. So why 
> are we paying the cart builders?
> It would be nice to live in a world where invention was done for its 
> own worth rather than the dreams of piles of cash. Wouldn't that kind 
> of world be better at inventing more useful and effective things 
> rather than the same old crap in a different package?
> Alex
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