How Patents Are Harming Small Companies Too

from the it's-not-big-vs.-small dept

One of the more annoying things about the whole debate on patent reform is that some have tried to position it as "small companies" vs. "big companies." That's not even close to true. While there have been plenty of high profile fights between patent holders vs. big companies, that's only a small part of the issue. And, in fact, it's often smaller, more innovative companies that are the most harmed by patents. Joe Mullin has a great post looking at how small mom-and-pop photo sharing sites are being hit with a bunch of patent infringement lawsuits. Basically, a few different companies are all claiming that they own patents on the ideas behind photo hosting online. But, of course, since the idea is so obvious, there are a lot of photo hosting sites out there, including many run as small businesses. Yet, they're getting hit by patent infringement claims which seem ridiculous to them. But... since the cost of going to court (or, even getting a patent lawyer to talk to them) is so outrageous, some are choosing to settle -- even though it's taking away from being able to do valuable things, like invest in the business. It's a sad story of patent holders (often with no product being offered themselves) harming lots of small businesses.

This is a big issue. Whenever the rather vocal group of angry inventors show up in our comments defending the patent system at all costs as being "necessary" for "the little guy" they seem to conveniently ignore all the "little guys" harmed by the patent system. What about the guy who thought the idea was obvious and didn't bother to get a patent, but now has to fight off an infringement suit by someone who did get a patent on the idea? What about the guy who invented the same thing just slightly later, but understands the market better and can do a better job bringing the product to market? What about the guy who can put a bunch of different ideas together to make a much better product, but is unable to because multiple patent holders all want a huge % of his earnings? Time and time again we hear stories of small businesses who feel the patent system is holding them back in significant ways -- and it's a true shame.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Jim, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 8:42pm

    I'm one of those little guys

    There are so many people filing for patents, and so many garbage, totally obscure, patents issued for ever little thing, that you can't cut an innovative fart without infringing on someone's non-existent "invention." I will admit that I've filed a few myself. Even though, I would be very happy is all software and business model patents, at a minimum, were done away with. I have no doubt that the net effect of such patents on society, and most little guys, has been very negative.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 9:39pm

    Re: I'm one of those little guys

    "...all software ... patents, at a minimum, were done away with. I have no doubt that the net effect of such patents on society, and most little guys, has been very negative"

    Punky,

    You should throw away your comp then

    Seriously, why are you so retarded ?

    WTF is wrong with you, techdirt lemming-punk creatures ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 9:45pm

    Mikey is a puppet

    "This is a big issue. Whenever the rather vocal group of angry inventors show up in our comments defending the patent system at all costs as being "necessary" for "the little guy" they seem to conveniently ignore all the "little guys" harmed by the patent system."

    Yeah, right...

    as if you don't know that patent system is not for protection of the little guys but for promoting the progress
    But you know it, Mikey , yes ?

    YOu are born demagogue, pal

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:01pm

    I think the biggest issue with the patent system is sorting out what is obvious. The patent office seems to leave that up to the courts. Because of that there are a lot of garbage patents. That does not mean that we need to throw the whole system out. We just need to improve the system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Jim, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:13pm

    Re: Re: I'm one of those little guys

    "Punky, You should throw away your comp then Seriously, why are you so retarded ?"

    It takes a lot of courage to call someone retarded from far away using a keyboard, Angry Dude.

    Post a comment that adds value to the discussion or GTF out of here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:48pm

    Re: Mikey is a puppet

    as if you don't know that patent system is not for protection of the little guys but for promoting the progress
    But you know it, Mikey , yes ?


    I do know it. In fact, I repeat it all the time. It's for promoting the progress.

    It's your friends who insist it's for protecting the little guy. It's so great to see, yet again, that you agree with me on something. We'll win you over yet, Angry Dude!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Sailingmaster (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 11:28pm

    It's just such a serious mess.

    Thanks mostly to lobbying by companies like Disney, Patent, Copyright and Trademark laws have become far too complex. Not to mention the effects of a certain Texas court system to help muddy the waters further.

    From a layman's perspective though (at least this layman), to quote Clint Eastwood: "it's a clusterfuck." Best description that I can think of to describe the entire mess.

    I know that many of the articles I read concerning the use of IP laws make me angry. In many instances it amounts to nothing more than legalized extortion.

    The entire system needs to be overhauled.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    celina (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 11:43pm

    , it's often smaller, more innovative companies that are the most harmed by patents. Joe Mullin has a great post looking at how small mom-and-pop photo sharing sites are being hit with a bunch of patent infringement lawsuits. Basically, a few different companies are all claiming that they own patents on the ideas behind photo hosting online. parking sensor

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Matt, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 12:15am

    Devious

    The problem is the fact that the internet is so new. Its so new, that old age patent laws, like the one we hear being abused above, are allowing small internet businesses to suffer. Congress really needs to update the law with regards to Internet regulation.

    - Matt
    Registry Cleaner Help

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Paul Brinker (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 12:17am

    Even if we manage to make all pattents invaladated, what stops trolls from firing off 1000 letters to people who are "infringing" just to collect some cash?

    Thats the problem here, whats needed is a looser pays system which automaticly kicks in when there is a major differnce in the financial ability of one side. To make it even better force a bond to be posted as part of the lawsuit in case of a loss.

    This isent a bad idea at all outside the pattent system eather.

    Think about John Doe vs RIAA:

    RIAA to post this suit we require a 1 Million bond to be posted PER John Doe to cover his costs in the case you fail to prove your case. Now this would slow down the lawsuit system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Norm (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 2:10am

    Re: Devious

    I agree with you, but the problem with "updat[ing] the law with regards to internet regulation" is that Congress really does not understand technology. Regulation, while necessary IMO, can have drastic and unintended consequences when the underlying medium is not fully understood. Not to mention the influence of lobbyists which rarely represent the good of the people. The obvious example is the DMCA which is commonly used as a strong-arm tactic against people that can't afford to go to court. (I know about the whole counter-notification thing, but that doesn't change the fact)

    I obviously don't know a solution, but I lack faith in Congress to come up with one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Jerry Leichter, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 3:43am

    Obviousness

    One significant cause of problems with patent law is that the courts pretty much gutted the "not obvious" requirement over the last 30 or so years. That may have begun to turn around, but ... perhaps the example here should inspire a legal doctrine. I would propose: A patent shall be deemed invalid due to obviousness if several infringing uses have been independently developed, none of which has been the subject of a patent filing. "Several" might be pinned down to something like "three or more". "Independently" means not based on the patent application or on each other - the best proof being development before the patent is published and introduction to the public by separate parties at about the same time. The level of proof of "independence" required of the defendant should be low; the plaintiff should bear the burden if it claims that there was sharing among the allegedly independent entities (since, in fact, if others seem willing to share the idea, that itself is evidence that "those skilled in the craft" don't think of the idea as patentable).

    You'd think that this would go without saying, but it's a sign of how meaningless the "non-obviousness" requirement has become that in fact no such doctrine exists. The recent patent claims concerning ongoing transactions at e-commerce sites - in which an idea "re-invented" without a thought by every major player is being claimed as patentable - is a case in point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 4:51am

    "Basically, a few different companies are all claiming that they own patents on the ideas behind photo hosting online. But, of course, since the idea is so obvious, there are a lot of photo hosting sites out there, including many run as small businesses. Yet, they're getting hit by patent infringement claims which seem ridiculous to them."

    Photo share hoting online as a business is obvious NOW. But at some point in the past, it wasn't obvious.

    What I don't understand is this: Mike, you are all for "innovation", and yet pretty much every example you support (including remix music and sampling) suggests that you support people going over and over the same thing again, and specifically NOT innovating. The first photo share hosting was innovative. The 101st isn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Big Al, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 5:45am

    Re: Re: I'm one of those little guys

    Excellent post, angry dude - now please try to coherently explain to one of our clients why:
    a) his software is taking around three time as long to write while our patent searchers ensure that we aren't reinventing the (patented) wheel and
    b) why the software is costing around 4 times more than it would have done x years ago before this patent nightmare (because we have to pay these guys).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 5:45am

    Yes, it is true. Patents do negatively impact companies...companies that are not as innovative as their competitor. And it is also true that many less creative folks or die-hard socialists would benefit from a society without patents.

    However, luckily for the rest of America, there are people who want to see innovation rewarded. And even though the patenting process before the PTO isn't perfect, it is overall a great system that has helped to create a vibrant economy in the USA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Big Al, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 5:47am

    Re: Mikey is a puppet

    See above.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Big Al, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 5:51am

    Re:

    "helped to create a vibrant economy in the USA." - Is that the same economy that is trillions of dollars in debt and is tanking as we speak?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 5:59am

    @ Big Al: "Is that the same economy that is trillions of dollars in debt and is tanking as we speak?"

    That was a banking issue that revolved around incredibly irresponsible lending practices.

    The biotech/pharma/electronics boom of the past 20 years is the boost I was referencing. Much of that would not have been realized without patents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re: I'm one of those little guys

    "You should throw away your comp then"

    This assumes computers won't exist without patents. I don't believe that for a second. If anything, they'll be more advanced by now. After all, computers have advanced the most during a time of open standards. The hindrance of their advancement is occurring now that stupid intellectual property is getting in the way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Mechwarrior, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re: I'm one of those little guys

    You never heard of opensource hardware/software? How the hell did the first computer ever get made? If xerox had its way, it would have been patented back to the stone age.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    "Photo share hoting online as a business is obvious NOW. But at some point in the past, it wasn't obvious."

    It wasn't obvious before the technology (ie: the Internet with sufficient bandwidth) existed to host photos. It's obvious enough, given the existing technology, that many people would independently do it. Hence patents aren't needed for their invention and patents only get in the way of progression.

    "What I don't understand is this: Mike, you are all for "innovation", and yet pretty much every example you support (including remix music and sampling) suggests that you support people going over and over the same thing again, and specifically NOT innovating. The first photo share hosting was innovative. The 101st isn't."

    You want everyone to stop hosting photo sharing because of some bogus patent? That's the opposite of innovating, that's going backdwards. How can we innovate when we have laws that make us go backwards? By allowing now allowing bogus patents to get in the way of the free market then new corporations have to innovate to stay ahead.

    Secondly, if this company was attracting a customer base they are probably filling some niche that everyone else has overlooked. Hence they are being innovative in some way. Letting patents get in the way only hinders their innovation.

    It also prevents them from further advancing ideas because, instead of advancing an idea, they have to waste time and resources with pointless litigation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re:

    sp/By allowing now allowing bogus patents/By not allowing bogus patents ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Azrael (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:36am

    Re: It's just such a serious mess.

    " The entire system needs to be overhauled. "

    No, the entire system needs to be taken down for good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Azrael (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:37am

    Re:

    Spam. Please take it down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:38am

    Re:

    "Patents do negatively impact companies...companies that are not as innovative as their competitor. "

    Patents negatively impact companies that want to advance a technology. The non innovative companies are the ones who get a bunch of bogus patents so they can troll them at any company that wants to invent something (case in point). Why can't companies compete without having burdensome government regulation intervene by granting them monopolies (ie: patents)?

    "And it is also true that many less creative folks or die-hard socialists would benefit from a society without patents."

    If anything is socialist it's the patent system. The patent system gives the government more control over how resources are allocated (by granting government sanctioned monopolies).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re:

    Here is an example of a non innovating company suing for patent infringement. They are only hindering advancement.

    http://thepriorart.typepad.com/the_prior_art/2009/06/enhanced-security-research-v-ju niper-juniper-v-peter-shipley-esr-v-cisco-et-al.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Azrael (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    Re:

    " RIAA to post this suit we require a 1 Million bond to be posted PER John Doe to cover his costs in the case you fail to prove your case. Now this would slow down the lawsuit system. "
    This is exactly how it is in Romania. The result: 0 (zero) lawsuits against individual file-sharers and 5-6 anually against commercial forgers - all ending with prison sentences. Best solution overall.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    Re:

    "The biotech/pharma/electronics boom of the past 20 years is the boost I was referencing. Much of that would not have been realized without patents."

    True to some extent, false in many others.

    As for big Pharma they've become notorious for changing inactive ingredients in medications to get a patent extension. In short, they've changed the colour of the pill and one or two other minor things without changing the active ingredient itself. Like that was needed, right?

    If, by electronics, you're referring to the current computing situation much if not most was done before the idiocy of patenting software, you know, when copyright would do. Or simply released into the public domain.

    To one extent or another that's still true. I do think you've heard of FOSS, right? Or that it's so stable and effective that it runs things like the Mars rovers. All without the incumberance of patents.

    Face it, what has make the USA great has been the tradition of "you gotta itch" scratch it of it's inventors and developers big and small not the inconsistent and badly written patent laws as they currently exist.

    Patent, like copyright, working ideally protect the inventor (big or small) as well as their customers (also big or small) and allow for further refinement.

    It was never, ever, intended as a make work project for lunatics with access to mailing lists to fire off thousands of infringement letters regarding possible infringment and thereby employing countless leeches...oh...sorry...lawyers.

    ttfn

    John

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    Re:

    "The biotech/pharma/electronics boom of the past 20 years is the boost I was referencing. Much of that would not have been realized without patents."

    Evidence?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re:

    "The biotech/pharma/electronics boom of the past 20 years is the boost I was referencing. Much of that would not have been realized without patents."

    The problem is that it's easy for morons to make this statement, but substantiation is a whole different issue. Computers advanced due to open standards. Remember apple and Macintosh verses IBM/Intel and such. Apple used to have their stuff proprietary and so it suffered, everyone developed on open platforms where they didn't have to deal with stupid patents (and hence it advanced). There is simply no evidence for this statement, all the evidence suggests that patents only hindered inovation. That's why IBM and such were traditionally in favor of open platforms, it allowed people to freely build software which increased the value of their hardware.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re:

    and now that patents are interfering with the free market innovative profess innovation is slowing down substantially.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    sp/profess/process *

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re:

    "The biotech/pharma/electronics boom of the past 20 years is the boost I was referencing. Much of that would not have been realized without patents."

    This isn't true either. Many innovative vaccines were made without the interference of intellectual property (ie: polio). If anything, medical advancement has slowed down substantially in recent years do to intellectual property. It has advanced the most during a time when intellectual property was lacking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The fact that we are more medically advance now than during the years that patents didn't exist in that field isn't a measure of the rate of medical advancement. We still benefit from the advancements that were created when patents were absent. Sure we have advanced since patents started interfering and slowing down the advancement process but the point is the advancement is now occurring at a SLOWER rate due to intellectual property (but there is still advancement).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:00am

    Way, Waay, Waaay Baaak!

    Something like twenty-five years ago, in a children's zoo, I watched a little human girl of two showing a Polaroid picture through a glass window to a little boy gorilla and a little girl gibbon (siamang), of about the same age and mental development. They looked at the picture together, with expressions of interest, in a community of mind. The little (human) girl has since grown up to be a computer programmer. The most recent common ancestor of the trio was, I believe, about fifteen or twenty million years ago. If there is an invention in Flickr, it dates back to what Lewis Mumford calls "the dreamtime long ago."

    It would seem to be a reasonable requirement for patent examiners that they be old enough to have coherent memories from before the patent horizon. Let us say a minimum age of thirty at recruitment, with forty being preferable. That would provide a certain minimum instinctive skepticism, and it would also make patent examiners less... um... manipulable by patent applicants and their lawyers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:00am

    Re:

    "Patents do negatively impact companies...companies that are not as innovative as their competitor."

    Why can't people compete without getting the government involved (ie: having the government sanction monopolies/patents)? Why does the government have to interfere with the innovative process? Keep them out of it. Then you have the nerve to call us socialist when you're the one who wants the government to get involved just because you can't compete.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re:

    When millions and millions of dollars have to be placed upfront for R&D, such as with new drugs, the people fronting the money will not do so without the exclusionary rights of patents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    All you have shown me is that there is a non-practicing entity suing an infringer of his patent. You have not shown why the patent is not valid. The judge even dismissed the infringer's motion.

    BTW, if his patent was not innovative, why was Juniper copying it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Really? Which vaccines?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Sure we have advanced since patents started interfering and slowing down the advancement process but the point is the advancement is now occurring at a SLOWER rate due to intellectual property (but there is still advancement)."

    Could you provide a timeline to support your argument? When did patents start slowing things down? Have we deviated from Moore's law?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The problem is that it's easy for morons to make this statement, but substantiation is a whole different issue. Computers advanced due to open standards. Remember apple and Macintosh verses IBM/Intel and such. Apple used to have their stuff proprietary and so it suffered, everyone developed on open platforms where they didn't have to deal with stupid patents (and hence it advanced). There is simply no evidence for this statement, all the evidence suggests that patents only hindered inovation. That's why IBM and such were traditionally in favor of open platforms, it allowed people to freely build software which increased the value of their hardware."

    Why don't you check out the Orange Book sometime, you loser.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "When did patents start slowing things down? Have we deviated from Moore's law?"

    Patents haven't interfered with the innovative process there yet. This is a good example, where patents aren't involved, innovation still advances.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I already gave examples (ie: it was open standards and the lack of proprietary nonsense that helped advanced PC's). The thermometer, telescope, and typerwriter were invented without patents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The steam engine didn't need a patent to invent either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    IP doesn't get in the way when there is true innovation. IP "gets in the way" when people are attempting to jump onto the top of another's ideas and add a small grain of sand and call it their own.

    There are certain parts of the IP world that are getting some abuse or stretching. But it is like an iceberg, most of what is going on isn't above the surface, isn't where you are being told to look. If you could truly understand the whole thing (and most of us including myself don't entirely understand all the implications) we might not be so interested in tossing it out.

    Can you imagine getting your news by only hearing 2 words at a time? That is pretty much how Techdirt treats Patents and Copyright, highlighting the latest outrage of the week, while never pointing out the good that occurs every day without fanfare, happenings so mundane that collectively we don't realize.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Pennecillan, Smallpox and Polio vaccines, Quinine, none of these advancements required patents. Now that we have a patent system medical advancement has slowed down (that's not to say there is no medical advancement. Sure we have medical advancement but the patent system is slowing down the process).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The steam engine didn't need a patent to invent either."

    Whatever, master of the non sequitur.

    You are correct, steam engines do not invent things. However, there are plenty of patents in the area of steam engines. These patents were likely obtained by individuals who made discoveries that had commercial viability.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Having patents != innovation. That's the point, the patents HINDER innovation.

    "These patents were likely obtained by individuals who made discoveries that had commercial viability."

    They were likely made by patent trolls who want to prevent anyone from advancing an idea without paying them royalties. This only hinders innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "IP doesn't get in the way when there is true innovation."

    Yes it does, because someone has to go through a patent search to make sure that "true innovation" isn't patented by some evil patent troll. It does get in the way because anything anyone can possibly invent is already someone elses intellectual property and hence it never advances. Hence we can't innovate on top of that innovation since the initial innovation was never advanced because stupid patents get in the way. It prevents innovation and it prevents the advancement of innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Pennecillan, Smallpox and Polio vaccines, Quinine, none of these advancements required patents. Now that we have a patent system medical advancement has slowed down (that's not to say there is no medical advancement. Sure we have medical advancement but the patent system is slowing down the process)."

    Great examples! Do you have any that took place in last 25 years? Are you aware how vastly outnumbered the unpatented innovations in pharmaceuticals are compared to patented?

    Tell me, do you really think that businesses or people with cash want to invest in a pharmaceutical that can be copied the next day?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Pharmaceutical corporations spend more on marketing and advertising than they do on research and development (and that's with our patent system). Much of the R&D is funded by tax dollars and then pharmaceutical corporations exclusively reap the benefits of patents. If we can find the money to explore the location orientation of every star and galaxy (which currently has zero economic benefit to the average American) we can find the money to fund medical research without patents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "They were likely made by patent trolls who want to prevent anyone from advancing an idea without paying them royalties. This only hinders innovation."

    It's called "incentive".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    sp/location orientation/location and orientation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Incentive to hinder the advancement of ideas? How is this good for innovation and aggregate output?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Great examples! Do you have any that took place in last 25 years? Are you aware how vastly outnumbered the unpatented innovations in pharmaceuticals are compared to patented?"

    That's not because patents advance innovation, that's because people get patents on everything. That's not to say that patents advance innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But most of the patents these days are on me too drugs where they change inactive ingredients. No new breakthroughs (ie: cures to cancer and Aids), before the patent system we had breakthroughs that effectively solved huge problems. Now we have tons of patents and no advancement. More patents =! more advancement. The fact that there exists more patents does not mean that things are advancing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Tell me, do you really think that businesses or people with cash want to invest in a pharmaceutical that can be copied the next day?"

    Well, as it stands now (with patents), many pharmaceuticals are funded by tax dollars and pharmaceutical corporations spend more on marketing and advertising than they do on R&D.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, financial incentive for the public. It's a quid pro quo, Mr. Silly Pants. Kinda works like this - disclose your new idea, get rights to exclude, and go try to make money.

    I know you feel bad b/c you don't have any creative ideas that can make money, but it is sad that you would try to drag others down with you. Sure, life for you would be better if there were no private companies at all - just one big government. But not everyone feels that way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Kinda works like this - disclose your new idea, get rights to exclude, and go try to make money."

    We don't need you to disclose an obvious idea for it to advance, someone else has already thought about it without your help. People do independently come up with similar ideas without your help. It's sad that you need the government to get involved just because you can't compete in the marketplace.

    "just one big government."

    You keep forgetting, patents involve government intervention. You're the one who wants the big government to intervene just because you can't compete in the marketplace.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    " "just one big government."

    You keep forgetting, patents involve government intervention. You're the one who wants the big government to intervene just because you can't compete in the marketplace."

    Government intervention? So that's why patents are bad? Because there is a governmental agency involved? Just like the FDA, right? Government that is hurting the public?

    Look, the role of the PTO is relatively minor. Besides, the PTO runs fully off of the fees from the patent applicants, not tax dollars. So, get a clue and get off wacky weed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Government intervention? So that's why patents are bad? Because there is a governmental agency involved? Just like the FDA, right? Government that is hurting the public?"

    You're the one who brought up the government. I'm just pointing out that it is YOU who wants government intervention, not the other way around. The current patent system is bad because it hinders innovation.

    "Look, the role of the PTO is relatively minor. Besides, the PTO runs fully off of the fees from the patent applicants, not tax dollars. So, get a clue and get off wacky weed."

    Doesn't matter who funds them, it's a form of government intervention. Their decisions are government sanctioned, they give people standing to sue for patent infringement (and court decisions are government binding).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Alex, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    "the PTO runs fully off of the fees from the patent applicants, not tax dollars."

    surely that's part of the problem: relying on fees from applicants means that it has a perverse incentive to approve as many applications as quickly as possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You're the one who brought up the government. I'm just pointing out that it is YOU who wants government intervention, not the other way around. The current patent system is bad because it hinders innovation."

    No, not really. I'd be happy with a private entity issuing patents in place of the PTO. All I ever said is that we are better off with patents than without them.

    What's really strange, is that you are such a socialist, yet you decry government. What's up with that? Maybe you are an anarchist?

    Regardless, your thoughts and comments are very disorganized and your writing is very poor. Also, you make poor conclusions on false facts. But other than that, you raise some great points.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Patent Man, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 9:02am

    Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    "surely that's part of the problem: relying on fees from applicants means that it has a perverse incentive to approve as many applications as quickly as possible."

    Really? You have proof of that?

    Gee, with your "money logic" I wonder what else we can conclude. How about this? The Organic Foods industry must be fabricating all this misleading info about pesticides and hormones in foods just so we will buy organic (proof: the organic food companies are making money). Brilliant!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "No, not really. I'd be happy with a private entity issuing patents in place of the PTO. All I ever said is that we are better off with patents than without them."

    They can issue patents but those patents shouldn't be government enforced. Meaning lets keep the government out of it, anyone can "infringe" on those patents ALL they want and the government, nor anyone else, can stop it. Otherwise, in effect, you have a government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "No, not really. I'd be happy with a private entity issuing patents in place of the PTO. All I ever said is that we are better off with patents than without them."

    But then that "private entity" becomes a government, because their decisions are being forced upon everyone (their decisions directly affect law). Lets just call the patent office a private entity, or the FDA, etc... Labeling it a private entity is arbitrary, it doesn't make it so. It has governmental authority, it's a government agency, because the effects are the same. It won't act in the best interest of the American people, it will act in its OWN best interest. It's a distortion of the free market just the same.

    "What's really strange, is that you are such a socialist, yet you decry government. What's up with that? Maybe you are an anarchist?"

    What's amazing is that you claim to be a capitalist yet you want more government intervention.

    "egardless, your thoughts and comments are very disorganized and your writing is very poor. Also, you make poor conclusions on false facts."

    Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they make poor conclusions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Bettawrekonize, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    "Really? You have proof of that?

    Gee, with your "money logic" I wonder what else we can conclude. How about this? The Organic Foods industry must be fabricating all this misleading info about pesticides and hormones in foods just so we will buy organic (proof: the organic food companies are making money). Brilliant!"

    I think the most dangerous societies are those that assume that any faction of the population is immune to corruption. We shouldn't assume that the patent office is somehow immune to corruption and won't do anything in their own best interest. Of course they act in their best interest and if it's more profitable for them to speed things up (at the cost of quality) they will do so. I don't buy this nonsense that they are anything but self interested.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Bettawrekonize, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Re: Obviousness

    "The level of proof of "independence" required of the defendant should be low; the plaintiff should bear the burden if it claims that there was sharing among the allegedly independent entities "

    I think a problem with this is that the requirements to prove the "burden" are somewhat arbitrary and this will turn into some subjective war where not much is required. I already came up with a better solution. Require a larger than majority vote (among juries or justices) for a patent to hold water. The juries are supposed to represent the general population and if just over 50 percent of the population believes an idea is obvious enough to be considered prior implementation of something inevitable (ie: patents aren't needed for that idea to advance) then patents will only hinder the advancement of that idea (since a huge percentage of the population believes the idea is obvious, someone else will come up with it). Lets require a 2/3 vote or a 3/4 majority vote (among 12 juries or justices) in favor of a patent for it to hold water, otherwise, the patent fails.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Obviousness

    Something should be considered obvious only when an overwhelming percentage of the population would not come up with the same solution, given the same problem. If, in a jury trial, 60 percent of those voting believe the idea isn't obvious, that' 40 percent that believes it's obvious. So it should be considered obvious. To ensure that obvious ideas don't hold water we need to require a higher percentage of the population agreeing that an idea isn't obvious and hence a higher percentage of a jury of 12 voting in favor of upholding a patent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: I'm one of those little guys

    "a) his software is taking around three time as long to write while our patent searchers ensure that we aren't reinventing the (patented) wheel and"

    The fact that people already came up with the idea before looking to see if someone else already has a patent on it is evidence that we don't need the patent holder to come up with the idea, the patent simply gets in the way of advancing the idea. People came up with the idea unaware of the existing patent (we simply have to search for patents after the fact) which means the patent wasn't necessary to advance the idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "They were likely made by patent trolls who want to prevent anyone from advancing an idea without paying them royalties. This only hinders innovation."

    Wouldn't innovative people find a better way to do something that didn't use the patent? By your logic, a lack of patents would hinder innovation because everyone would just do the same thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Gene Cavanaugh, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    patents harming small companies

    I agree wholeheartedly, but it is disingenuous to think the problem is patents per se.
    The patent system (really the IP system) as envisioned by the founding fathers would be (and was) a very good thing.
    The problem is the ABUSE of the patent system as it presently exists, which is due to two things:
    1. The USPTO depends on FEES, not public money, so they have to allow as much as they can or run out of money!
    2. Politicians are getting greedier and greedier (for campaign funds if nothing else) and so are dependent (belong to) the large companies causing the abuse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Wouldn't innovative people find a better way to do something that didn't use the patent?"

    When there are few optimal solutions to a problem many people will independently find the solution. We don't need the government granting unnecessary monopolies that only hinder economic progression just because some unnecessary special interest group can't compete in the market place.

    Also, often times an innovation is built on top of a previous one. Ie: software is built on top of hardware. If you have a patent that prevents people from building software on that hardware then no advancements are made. It's these patent trolls who arbitrarily patent genes. If a solution requires the usage or manipulation of a specific gene an innovator is not allowed to implement the solution and hence the solution never advances.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Wouldn't innovative people find a better way to do something that didn't use the patent?"



    That's another problem, patents are so broad and plentiful that virtually anything anyone does infringes on someones intellectual property. This prevents things from getting advanced.

    Often times there is no better way, the other ways of doing it are worse, which is why the corporation independently came up with something that uses the already patented (unaware of the fact that it was patented when they came up with it, which is just evidence that the patent wasn't necessary for someone to come up with the solution. The patent just prevents the advancement of innovation). Or the company came up with something tat improves the already patented way (like coming up with software for hardware) but since the already patented way overlaps with the improvement (ie: using software requires hardware) then the new way doesn't get advanced. Again, this happened in the case of Apple, they made everything proprietary and IBM made things as open platform as possible. Hence PC's advanced as a result, because people were allowed to build on the hardware without having stupid intellectual property get in the way. With intellectual property on hardware people can't advance the hardware by building software.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    "Really? You have proof of that?"

    The U.S patent office granted a patent on swinging sideways.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2178-boy-takes-swing-at-us-patents.html

    I can come up with many more examples of bogus patents. They grant ALL SORTS of bogus patents left and right. Part of the reason for this is because they rush through the process. and why should they take the time to ensure the quality of their patents when it's not in their best financial interest (since the opportunity cost of that time is more money)?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Another example of this is the steam engine.

    "The story of the steam engine is instructive here. The steam engine was basically useless until AFTER Watt's patents expired and people could finally put in place the more useful innovations they came up with to make hte product actually WORK."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080319/185012591.shtml

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: Mikey is a puppet

    Techdirt: It's for promoting the progress.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    get real, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    "The U.S patent office granted a patent on swinging sideways."

    The exception rather than the rule. However, your approach of throwing the baby out with the bath water is much better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    Dave the inventor, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The story of the steam engine is instructive here. The steam engine was basically useless until AFTER Watt's patents expired and people could finally put in place the more useful innovations they came up with to make hte product actually WORK."

    Not true, but I know that your misrepresentaion makes you feel better about your preconceived notions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    "The exception rather than the rule."

    No, this is the rule, not the exception.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Socialism sux, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:41pm

    Not sure what all you peeps have against protecting intellectual property, but maybe you just equate your own failures in life with something that you think should be a shared loss.

    Just say that there should be no such thing as a reward for a creative ideas. Admit that you want all people to treated equal regardless of the contribution.

    For example, if someone makes a film for lots of cash, you should be able to walk into a theater and tape it, and then turn around and show it to others for your own profit. I mean, otherwise, it would not be fair to you to make you work to earn a living. Screw the guy who came up with the idea and all the hard work he put in. He is a capitalist pig. He should go to hell for thinking he should be paid. Money is evil, man.

    Rage against the machine! Rock on!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    universal healthcare, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:45pm

    I should not have to work. Work is hard. Give me mone to buy pot and things like that. Give me free health care. Anyone who took out loans to go to med skool and charges for health care is evil. They should work hard so I don't have to. They should take care of me. If they ask for money they are evil.

    Word, man.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    not true, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Yes true"

    No, not true. WTF, you don't get it, loser.

    Just be happy you are not part of some third world country even though your mentality is. You are worthless. You contribute nothing. Have a great weekend.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Messrs. Boldrin and Levine tell a nice story up to the point they proclaim its punchline to be "patents hurt the steam engine industry." Perhaps the next time they tell their story they might consider whether or not they have established and presented a firm foundation for causality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    identicon
    U is a tool, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:52pm

    "No, this is the rule, not the exception."

    Nope. Exception. Your world of losers sitting around in a commune doesn't count.

    "If it is yellow, let it mellow, if it is brown, flush it down."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    identicon
    Lovable loser, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 6:56pm

    I hate all laws that support intellectual property because the people who have intellectual property intimidate me.

    My dad never instilled in me a sense of self confidence. So now I want the world to suffer. Please join my cause.

    Do you think that peanut butter feels nice between the toes?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:11pm

    Re:

    "Nope. Exception. Your world of losers sitting around in a commune doesn't count. "

    The fact that you label it an exception doesn't make it so. The evidence suggests that you're wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:14pm

    Re:

    "My dad never instilled in me a sense of self confidence. So now I want the world to suffer. Please join my cause."

    You can't compete in the open market so you want to punish the world by having the government intervene and granting you patents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:17pm

    I just posted a bunch of links with bogus patents but unfortunately it didn't get posted. It said it will be reviewed by staff before posted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:27pm

    Re: I'm one of those little guys

    Jim,

    It sounds to me like you are a cog in some big corporation. Most certainly many of these companies files hordes of incremental inventions. It also sounds like you resent your situation.

    Big companies like to talk about innovation while they are combining others inventions without authorization into their products. For all their innovation they do not produce the important inventions. What they lack in the ability to produce significant inventions they make up for with innovative media hype.

    I can understand why living in this environment eats at you.

    The solution is to leave the corporate world and become an independent inventor. Break out of the stifling corporate environment. Start a business, create jobs and prosperity for both yourself and your community. This is the essence of the spirit which has made America the land of opportunity.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 - (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:27pm

    Re:

    You don't want to work to advance innovations so you just want to get a bunch of patents and freeload off of those who do work hard to advance good ideas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:29pm

    Re:

    "Not sure what all you peeps have against protecting intellectual property, but maybe you just equate your own failures in life with something that you think should be a shared loss."

    Or maybe you equate your failure to advance good ideas with the idea that the government should grant you a monopoly so that you can exploit those who can advance it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:30pm

    Re:

    "For example, if someone makes a film for lots of cash, you should be able to walk into a theater and tape it, and then turn around and show it to others for your own profit. I mean, otherwise, it would not be fair to you to make you work to earn a living. Screw the guy who came up with the idea and all the hard work he put in. He is a capitalist pig. He should go to hell for thinking he should be paid. Money is evil, man."

    You are putting words in my mouth and building a strawman.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:33pm

    Re: Re: I'm one of those little guys

    I never said that patents or intellectual property shouldn't exist whatsoever, I just think that the current patent system is causing more harm than good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:37pm

    TechDIRT hosting ads for invention promoters.

    Invention promotion fraud costs aspiring inventors typically something between $10,000 and $50,000 and years of delays waiting on false promises. This is an industry defrauding people for over $500 million a year.

    So why is TechDIRT hosting ads for companies like these?

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 - (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97.  
    identicon
    A chicken passeth by, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:06pm

    Well...

    "So why is TechDIRT hosting ads for companies like these?"

    Everything in this silly world starts to make sense when you think in terms of money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Re: Mikey is a puppet

    "by Mike Masnick - Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:48pm

    as if you don't know that patent system is not for protection of the little guys but for promoting the progress
    But you know it, Mikey , yes ?

    I do know it. In fact, I repeat it all the time. It's for promoting the progress."

    Promoting progress is best done by protecting independent, academic, and small business from big corporate thieves. It is rare that big companies produce breakthrough inventions. They file lots of insignificant patents and generally steal from small entities all the important stuff.

    Over thirty percent of patents are by domestic small entities. Well over ninety percent of job creation is by small entities. Those small entities need to be protected from anti competitive large entity parasites.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 - (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And where patents are involved, innovation advances.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  100.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, all the steam engine patents should be...what...? Unwritten? Regardless, many of the innovations developed for the steam engine, in addition to the steam engine, were patented.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The patent system is slowing down the process of medical advancement? Okay, calculate the places where patents have been a part of advancing medicine and places where patents have, in your words, slowed down the advancement of medicine and prove that the net is a negative.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Patents also advance innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:50pm

    Re: Re:

    These people are suffering from the Little Person Syndrome. It has nothing to do with physical traits.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 - (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    lol...So essentially, all advancement has stopped? Is that your point? I would love to see you prove that.

    Incidentally, you do know that of all the 7.4 million or so U.S. patents that have issued, only about 1.7 million are still in force, and maybe less. That means that roughly 5.7 million patented innovations are available to be exploited by anyone that wishes to do so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What is your reference for your assertion that "most of the patents these days are on me too drugs"?

    Incidentally, since patents are only granted on something that at least appears new, the regardless of whether that new thing goes into production, knowledge has advanced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  106.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are silly. Do patents hinder innovation? Yes. Do patents help innovation? Yes.

    Do highways harm people? Yes. Do highways help people? Yes.

    Do computers harms thousands and possibly millions of people? Yes. Do computers help millions of people? Yes.

    Saying that the "current patent system is bad because it hinders innovation" is like saying "seatbelts are bad because people die with seatbelts on" or like saying "innoculations kills people." You statement is silly because it provides no objective comparison of the benefits of the patent system in comparison to the downsides of the patent system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    Actually, that is not true at all. In fact, it is in the PTO's best interest to reject all applications until an applicant is required to file a continuation, an RCE or an appeal, which generates more revenue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  108.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 9:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    If they were truly self-interested they would reject all patent applications in order to force applicants to file appeals, RCE's and continuations, which generates substantial revenue. The fact that they grant any patents at all shows that they are not completely self interested.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If there are a limited number of optimal solutions to a problem, then the solution should, by definition, be obvious. In fact, that is what federal courts have already said. It just takes time to these things to work their way though the system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  110.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The current patent system is bad because it causes more harm than good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This doesn't mean patents have helped advance any knowledge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  112.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "lol...So essentially, all advancement has stopped? Is that your point? I would love to see you prove that."

    I didn't say stopped, just has been substantially slown down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  113.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except the evidence suggests you are wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  114.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    Evidence?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  115.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What is your reference for your assertion that "most of the patents these days are on me too drugs"?

    Advancement was much more innovative before patents got involved. They solved huge problems like polio and such. Now that patents are involved they hardly progress with newer diseases anymore (ie: Aids and cancer, etc...) because the incentive is for them to just change the inactive ingredients and get a new patent (ie: to get a patent on a new me too Aids drug rather than to cure Aids).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  116.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What does this have to do with weather patents cause more harm than good? Yes, the fact that patents eventually expire is good; yes, it takes much too long for patents to expire; no, this does not mean that patents cause more good than harm. You're also assuming that patents were required for those innovations to occur. Can you prove this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  117.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I would love to see you prove that."

    Monopolies are bad for society, government sanctioned monopolies are even worse, unnecessary government distortion of the free market is bad. If anything, the burden of proof should be on you to prove that patents have accelerated the advancement of technology. Pointing to the fact that technology has advanced does not mean that patents are responsible for accelerating that process (it could be that patents have slown down the process but that doesn't mean that our hindering patent system will completely stop the advancement of technology. We still benefit from prior advances and we still benefit from the advances that occurred before the patent system was in place). There is no reason to assume that technology won't advance without patents and given the huge economic inefficiencies that government sanctioned monopolies cause substantial justification of our current patent system is warranted. Not to mention that the evidence suggests that patents have only hindered innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  118.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:32pm

    Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    If they keep on rejecting applicants eventually no one would apply for patents (since they will simply get rejected) and the PTO would stop generating revenue. It is in their best interest to find the best acceptance/rejection combination that maximizes their revenue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  119.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:42pm

    If anything here is yet another example of where advancement has gone backwards.

    http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/pharmacy_qa/dealing_with_the_quinine_ban.php

    quinine was used for leg cramps and has helped many people who can't otherwise be helped. Why should we deny these people access to quinine?

    Sure, some people may get hurt by misusing it (but A: doctors should ensure those people don't misuse it and B: people get hurt from many legal drugs). However, the FDA has banned quinine, likely because now there are other patented products on the market and quinine competes with them. Why should we assume that the FDA is anything but self interested? They are self interested, just like pharmaceutical corporations are, and conflicts of interest abound.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  120.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:45pm

    Here is another example of how conflicts of interest, thanks to patents, have distorted the market and caused corruption.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/026359_CDC_rotavirus_vaccination.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  121.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    Oh yes, the government, governmental agencies, and big corporations are all truly benevolent. They never do anything wrong. When Bayer sold Aids tainted blood overseas with the allowance of the FDA, they were all being so benevolent. They had everyone's best interest in mind, not their own. That's why no one went to jail or got punished for the actions of Bayer or the FDA. They meant well. When Merck hid studies about Vioxx, they just meant well. And preemption laws that would prevent the discovery of such important data (since it was the discovery process that was responsible for discovering this) are good. Courts should uphold them because then we know that these corporations won't ever do anything wrong again (or, rather, they won't ever get caught and then they can go on pretending that they do nothing wrong because getting caught is too risky. Forget the fact that no one went to jail for the Vioxx scandal even when they did get caught and forget the fact that preemption only lowers their chances of getting caught and they were still willing to performed the scandal even without preemption so there is no reason to assume they won't perform more scandals with it).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  122.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 11:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    Also notice, in the Bayer incident, government officials who were involved in other countries DID get arrested but in the U.S no one got arrested. This isn't the exception to the rule, corruption without punishment is the rule, and the American people need to demand that this changes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  123.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 4:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Prove it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  124.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 4:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Prove it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  125.  
    identicon
    GitMo, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 4:50am

    everyone who earns money is evil

    "However, the FDA has banned quinine, likely because now there are other patented products on the market and quinine competes with them. Why should we assume that the FDA is anything but self interested? They are self interested, just like pharmaceutical corporations are, and conflicts of interest abound."

    Tell me, how sad and despondent were you when "The X-files" went off the air?

    I'll tell you why you shouldn't ASSUME that - because it makes for a better world. You apparently have no trust in anyone unless they serve coffee at a non-Starbucks store. Worse, you just broadly attack the integrity of individuals and organizations without any true justification. Tell me why people shouldn't ASSUME that you are just some "whoa is me" loser who sits around smoking dope and listening to Phish all day long, with the occasional break in the day to blog about all the social injustices. But thank god for you because who else would get the word out while all the other people are busting their arses at their jobs. And by the way, I must congratulate you on being steadfast and not providing any good discussion or evidence or examples. You sir, are a pro at evading productive debate and hunkering down on your baseless and preconceived notions. That takes discipline.

    The reality of it is that you are scared. You are scared of something you don't understand. Instead, why don't you learn a little about patents and the companies that rely on them as a whole. And note: I said as a whole. Of course there is the "swinging sideways" patent or the "exercising a cat with a laser" patent, and I know you love to get caught up in the minutia. But try to grow a little.

    Have a great weekend, and try some decaf if you have a chance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  126.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 4:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Really? What evidence would that be? I have seen multiple papers, quoted on this site in the comments, that suggests that intellectual property has advanced innovation. Rather than just say "evidence suggests you are wrong," back it up.

    Incidentally, note that I did not say that intellectual property has never harmed innovation, what I said was that intellectual property has also helped innovation - which is incredibly easily proven.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  127.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    You may point out numerous anecdotes of where the "government," which is made of people just like your next door neighbor, and which was voted into power by you, did things that make no sense. However, you may also point out where individuals, businesses and corporations did similar or WORSE things. I see people do stupid stuff every day - stuff that kills people every day.

    Instead of complaining about all the "bad" things that governments, corporations, businesses, and individuals do every day (you know, pulling between two cars with barely a car length between them and not bothering to signal, throwing lit cigarettes into dry brush, serial killers, ad infinitum), how about coming up with a better system? No intellectual property is not better. Study after study shows that economic growth is enhanced by the use of patents - and every time there is an OBJECTIVE study, it confirms what the previous studies have confirmed. Eliminating patents is not the answer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  128.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 5:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As was requested before, your little story is neither compelling nor evidence of lack of advancement. I ask again, show that patents have caused lack of progress in the treatment of AIDS or cancer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  129.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Define "bad." Bad is a subjective term. You believe these things are "bad." Others believe they are good. Belief is a wonderful thing in small doses. What matters is what happens when elections occur. Everything else is opinion.

    As has been pointed out many times before, the objective evidence indicates that on balance that patents have helped innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  130.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 5:11am

    Re:

    I give up. Where were patents involved in the FDA finding that using quinine for treating leg cramps was unacceptable in view of the substantial risks involved?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  131.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 6:12am

    Patents

    Patents do a lot to keep ones ideas safe. In a way, they encourage innovation. In the hands of business they also encourage predatory behavior like when big-biz goes after mom-and-pop. There is certainly an element of greed when it comes to patent defense.

    In the RW, friends tell me its often much better to create the idea and sell it to big-corp so they can handle the scumbag predators that will infringe and those that will sue saying they had the idea first.

    In the end its all about "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  132.  
    identicon
    GitMo, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 6:27am

    how about them apples?

    Although Mike is worried about "mom-n-pop" photoshops that are prohibited from using someone's patented ideas, he neglects the broader picture (no pun intended).

    There are plenty of examples of companies who got their start from patents. For example, take a look at Molecular Probes, a biotech company that would not have been able to compete in the market place if it were not for patents. Look at guys like Dean Kamen and his hundreds of inventions. How about Kary Mullis?

    So, how much harm have these above-referenced patents caused? No innovation there, huh? No promotion of the arts and sciences there either, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  133.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 7:25am

    Re: how about them apples?

    Mike has an agenda, and he tried hard to make everything fit his agenda. he will overlook hundreds (or thousands) on examples of why patents work and why copyright is a functional, and look instead at the rare and extreme cases on the fringe.

    Are there a few bugs and maybe some roaches living inside the structures of Copyright and Patent? Yup. But just like when you have a cockroach in a house, your don't burn down the house just to kill the roach.

    When asked to provide working and functional examples of how his views of things actually work, his answers are always vague and dismiessing, "we have talked about it before" or "Trent Reznor Radiohead Corey Smith", which really proves very little.

    In the end, Mike's agenda isn't supported by the evidence provided.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  134.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How many Re:'s can you put in a subject line?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  135.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 7th, 2009 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "BTW, if his patent was not innovative, why was Juniper copying it?"

    As I read this thread, that's the dumbest comment so far. In your mind, does 'usefulness' necessarily require an invention or innovation. Can't things be useful AND obvious?

    I reply with this gem:

    BTW, if breathing air isn't innovative, why does every human copy doing it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  136.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 7th, 2009 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "What matters is what happens when elections occur. Everything else is opinion."

    Opinion and free speech are also part of the process. Opinion plays a role in elections, and public opinion plays a role in the laws we get. Opinions have changed with respect to gays, and look what's happening to the laws on gay marriage, (except in my home state, heavily influenced by the Mormons...CA of course).

    So please enjoy your dogma, while the rest of us seriously consider these issues. I used to buy into the patent system hook, line, and sinker. It only took a few years in Silicon Valley, where some invention gets done, to see how patents are holding up innovation at least as much as they promote it. I've modified my opinion based on my experiences with a boatload of startups, and now see the current system as part of the problem.

    Techdirt, editorially, has a similar opinion. We're messing around with this thing called free speech, and arguing our opinions. These opinions can be factored into what other people think, and if we're convincing (maybe even right), then we can hope the patent system will be the next gay marriage.

    It probably doensn't help your side when the majority of you on this thread preface or suffix each comment with name calling. It makes it more obvious who the thinkers are, and who learned their debate skills on the playground. If the pro-patent opinions on are as learned as the debate skills, you discredit yourselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  137.  
    identicon
    Ray, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 10:10am

    Patent cost vs return

    I have a working model of an electric generator that could be used any where with only minimal fuel required and little or no noise pollution.
    The cost to patent my invention, in excess of $1 million. So I have been told to sell my rights to my invention, large electric company will pay $50 thousand if they can make it work, so they could set on it while getting the patent, then say it was their invention that I copied and sue me for what I invented, I loose all the way around.
    So all you people will have to continue to pay big bucks for your electricity and I will remain poor without an electric bill.
    Don't bother to contact me about my invention, I will not sell one or let anyone see it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  138.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Based upon my experience helping to create startup companies, patents have in the majority of instances had a salutory effect for any number of reasons. In fairness, though, I was dealing in each instance with unique situations where the enabling technology was created by a large corporate entity that have invested incalculable time and effort in creating the enabling technolog(y/ies), but for an entirely different purpose and market that was in no way related to its long term business plan. Even so, there were benefits to be gained by transferring the technology into a private group so that its utility could be put to productive and beneficial use in other markets...markets that would never have been served by the corpotate entity.

    It would, however, be foolish and misleading to say that the associated patents were the most important part of establishing each such startup. They were but a part of a much more comprehensive "package", including know-how, show-how, information pertaining to tooling and test equipment, a committment by the corporate entity to support the startup by making the entity's technology experts available for research deemed necessary by the startup to create working prototypes and test same using the technical resources already in place at the entity's business locations, lists of fuly qualified subcontractors, etc.

    Perhaps most important of all from a business perspective, one of my most challenging tasks as the lawyer for each such startup project was to persuade corporate management to provide the requisite transfer of rights and information, and to then reject the all too predictable disposition to assert itself in the management and operation of the startup. For a startup to be nimble, it is anathema to have a yoke around its neck tied to a corporate leviathan that moves, at best, at a glacial pace.

    To reiterate, while patents were beneficial to varying degrees, the most benefial of all was a package available to the startup that was far, far more diverse. In fact, I rather doubt that a patent standing alone would be sufficient to place the startups I dealt with in a position to be as competitive in the marketplace as possible.

    Again, my circumstances were somewhat unique, so any attempt by me to try and extrapolate my experience to other situations would likely be an exercise in futility.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  139.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 7th, 2009 @ 11:50am

    Re:

    Why can't this pro-patent side of the debate make their arguments without building ridiculous strawmen, and adding playground debating tactics like:

    "your own failures in life"

    and so many similar ad hominem slams.

    Are you people not capable of understanding that there can be two sides to a debate? Do you not understand, as we do, and Thomas Jefferson did, that there is a definite cost and a potential benefit to patents?

    The costs are clear, and are part of economic law. Monopolies extract rent, reduce supply, constrain production, and more. The benefits are theoretical, but likely: there is an increased incentive to invent if one can be assured of financial compensation. Of the two, it is the benefits that are nebulous, and more difficult to prove. The current law supports that position, but in a debate over what is "right" the onus should be on you to prove the benefit, and to prove that it outweighs the cost.

    Patent reformists are not idiots or communists just because we argue the free market side of this debate. We have many valid arguments, supporting economic theory, thousands of cases in point, cause for moral suasion at the USPTO, and a vested community of leeches on either side of the debate. This is an important debate, with huge repercussions for the economy, and for freedom. I think it's worth debating.

    For your side to caricature the debate as "dumb ass lazy commies vs. valiant inventors" is either a deliberate mischaracterization, or an idiot's interpretation of what's going on.

    This is serious discussion where both sides can make valid arguments. It's taking place here, among other places. If you'd like to participate, try to arguing your points, and not just to repeat pointless diatribes like:

    - give me proof (this is a blog comment discussion, not a PhD thesis. Proof is mixed with opinion and delivered bit by bit.)
    - you are lazy (how do you know?)
    - you have no creativity (some of us probably do)
    - you are commies (YOU are pro-gov't and anti free-market)

    Argue your points. You would appear more credible, and it would be far more interesting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  140.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 7th, 2009 @ 11:56am

    Re:

    Point. Now counterpoint:

    "I should not have to work. Work is hard. Give me money to buy pot and things like that. My dad invented something before he died, and I should be allowed to have my business manager monetize that patent. My mom wrote a song in 1972, and I should be able to collect the royalties."

    So what? We can both make dumb scenarios of a freeloader. Very clever of us. Did you not know that that could be done on either side of this debate?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  141.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 7th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    Re: TechDIRT hosting ads for invention promoters.

    Ron,

    Hey, good try. If you understood the interwebs, you'd have known the answer to your question, though.

    Techdirt has "Ads by Google". That is, they allow some space on the page for Google to handle serving ads. This is one of the ways they get revenue - as does just about every busy site on web. If you noticed the "Ads by Google" logo next to the very small text ads you decry, you could have known this.

    Google sells advertising to agencies and businesses based on keywords. Advertisers buy the placement of their ads on pages that have specific keywords. Google's gotten pretty wealthy and famous off of this, so I'm surprised you aren't familiar with it. Here's more info : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AdWords

    This article webpage at Techdirt talks a lot about patents. Google indexes the page, including your words, and sells the ads that most fit the content. Guess what kinds of ads show up? Patent-related ads, of course. Welcome to the Internet. Welcome to a free market! New here?

    So, you see, Techdirt doesn't "host" these ads. Google does. Most internauts understand that there is no implied endorsement, only related keywords. If you wish to accuse Techdirt of having keywords that attract that advertiser, then, my good man, you just scored a bulls-eye. But to accuse of hosting just demonstrates tech-laggardry.

    Even better, you played a role in bringing those ads here. Your 5 or so comments that discuss small business, patents, etc. all make this article a closer match for those Google adwords. So, if I were a stupid man, I would ask "So why is Ron Riley posting comments that would stimulate advertising from companies like these?"

    But I'm not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  142.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 7th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Well...

    ...and simultaneoulsy don't understand how Google Adwords works.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  143.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 1:49pm

    Re: everyone who earns money is evil

    "Worse, you just broadly attack the integrity of individuals and organizations without any true justification."

    There is plenty of justification, you just simply choose to ignore it all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  144.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: TechDIRT hosting ads for invention promoters.

    Well, in theory if Techdirt really wanted to stick with it's moral stands, it would drop the google ads and replace them with ads for Trent Reznor and Wired Magazine.

    While Techdirt doesn't host the ads, based on the content of this blog you can guess what sort of ads will come up, and they will often be for companies that profit from patents, trademarks, or copyright.

    The shame!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  145.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I have seen multiple papers, quoted on this site in the comments, that suggests that intellectual property has advanced innovation."

    The fact that someone can assert in a newspaper that patents advance innovation doesn't make it so. Anyone can assert anything, newspapers can assert anything, this doesn't make it true. There is evidence, again, you just choose to ignore it.

    For example see

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080318/004156568.shtml

    and Mike has provided studies showing that nations with less intellectual property advance more and ones that have more advance less. You just ignore the evidence and rely on opinions from people in newspapers proclamations that aren't backed by evidence. Too bad truth isn't based on blind proclamations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  146.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re:

    Everything has risks, but the risks of quinine are no more substantial then the risks of many other drugs that the FDA allows. That's why we have doctors to ascertain those risks. The only problem is that the FDA has conflicts of interest and since anyone can sell quinine it competes with patented products. Of course they use risk and such as a pretext, but they can create a pretext to ban any drug based on its risk since all drugs have risk. Let doctors determine the risk for patients, especially if some patients can't find anything else that works (why should they have to suffer?).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  147.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 2:05pm

    Re: everyone who earns money is evil

    "You apparently have no trust in anyone unless they serve coffee at a non-Starbucks store."

    You apparently don't know anything about the constitution or the reasoning behind capitalism. Communism is bad BECAUSE in communism it is assumed that some faction of the population is immune to corruption (the government). That's why most government structures are bad, because they assume that some faction of the population is immune to corruption. Democracy and capitalism are good because they assume that everyone is self interested, ALL factions of the population are self interested. Hence, it gives everyone the freedom to act in their own best interest and so everyone does. That's the whole point of having elections, the people will act in their own best interest and hence they will vote in their own best interest. The founders of the constitution understood that ANY faction of the population, when left in isolated, acts in its own best interest and is not immune to corruption. That's the whole reason why they implemented checks and balances in the system and why we have our freedom of speech. History has often shown that whenever you venture into a society (ie: communism, a dictatorship, etc...) where it is assumed that some faction of the population is immune to corruption tyranny and oppression abound. Assuming that any faction of the population is immune to corruption is a VERY dangerous assumption to make and the founders of the constitution understood this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  148.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "Mike has an agenda, and he tried hard to make everything fit his agenda."

    Everyone has an agenda, I hope your agenda is to spread truth and help out society.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  149.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "As has been pointed out many times before, the objective evidence indicates that on balance that patents have helped innovation."

    So simply label evidence that agrees with you objective and label evidence that disagrees with you subjective. Excellent logic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  150.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    "Study after study shows that economic growth is enhanced by the use of patents - and every time there is an OBJECTIVE study, it confirms what the previous studies have confirmed. Eliminating patents is not the answer."

    You mean an objective study funded by corporations who stand to gain from the results of the study? So you simply label the studies that agree with you objective and you label the ones that disagree with you subjective and then, proof, you are right. Excellent logic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  151.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sufficient evidence has already been provided, you want absolute proof and absolute proof is not a reasonable requirement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  152.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    "You may point out numerous anecdotes of where the "government," which is made of people just like your next door neighbor, and which was voted into power by you, did things that make no sense."

    Many of the FDA's own scientists agree that conflicts of interest are a problem at the FDA. See

    http://www.thoreau-fda.com/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  153.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Again, you want absolute proof, absolute proof is not a reasonable request.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  154.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    Re: how about them apples?

    "There are plenty of examples of companies who got their start from patents. For example, take a look at Molecular Probes, a biotech company that would not have been able to compete in the market place if it were not for patents. Look at guys like Dean Kamen and his hundreds of inventions. How about Kary Mullis?

    So, how much harm have these above-referenced patents caused? No innovation there, huh? No promotion of the arts and sciences there either, right?"

    Prove to me that without patents none of this innovation would have occurred. Patents are a huge cost to society, monopolies = less aggregate output, so the burden is on you to justify their existence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  155.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It probably doensn't help your side when the majority of you on this thread preface or suffix each comment with name calling. It makes it more obvious who the thinkers are, and who learned their debate skills on the playground. If the pro-patent opinions on are as learned as the debate skills, you discredit yourselves."

    It actually shows a lack of good character and why should we trust the opinions of people who have bad character? Why should we trust their intents and motives? I don't mind them doing this, it only makes people mistrust them more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  156.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re:

    "Why can't this pro-patent side of the debate make their arguments without building ridiculous strawmen, and adding playground debating tactics like:"

    Because these people are used to censoring the opposing side (ie: from newspapers and television and mainstream media) because they can't defend their own position. They come over here and they actually have to defend themselves and they can't. They come up with stupid arguments like, "it would be in the best interest of the USPTO to reject all patents" only to have someone refute it with very obvious refutations. This doesn't happen to them in the mainstream media, the other side is censored. So I perfectly understand their frustration.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  157.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: how about them apples?

    You want justification? You got it:

    Patents help provide greater dispersion of technology than non-patented products.

    Sokoloff, Lamoreaux and Kahn showed that patented innovations "tend to be traded more than those that are not, and therefore to disperse geographically farther away from the original area of invention."

    Patents encourage foreign investment.

    Boldrin and Levine provided a summary of 23 studies on patenting and innovation, "strengthening IP increases the flow of foreign investment in sectors where patents are frequently used."

    Patents can lead to more spending on R&D as a portion of R&D.

    Kanwar and Evanson have data for 31 countries in the period 1981-1990. They found a correlation between higher patent protection and increases in R&D as a fraction of GDP.

    Park and Ginarte studied 60 countries from 1960 to 1990 and found that the strength of IPR (including pharm) led to growth of R&D in developed countries.

    Chun-Ya Tseng and Cheng-Hwai Liou in "Valuation of R&D and Patent: An Economic Value Added Perspective," found a positive correlation between R&D and patents and the financial success of 219 Taiwanese electronic companies sampled from 1990-2003. This paper also provides references to quite a few other papers supportive of the value of patent to the economic health of companies.

    Patents have been shown over and over and over and over again to help some small businesses to become established in the market place.

    Hall and Ham noted "The results suggest that stronger patents may have facilitated entry by firms in niche product markets..."

    Though authors disagree as to the scope, study after study after study has said that patents are an important part of providing motivation for investing.

    Cohen et al/Levin et al found that patents were not important for securing returns on innovation, except in pharmaceuticals.

    A study by Edwin Mansfield (I believe this paper is "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, Vol. 32, No. 2. (Feb., 1996). pp. 173-181) concluded that 60% of pharmaceutical inventions and 38% of chemical inventions would not have been developed without patents. Mansfield also concluded that while 86% of all inventions would have been developed without patent protection, the reverse is true as well. 14% of all inventions would not have been developed without patent protection. Furthermore, Mansfield did not study the relative value of the 86% and the 14%.

    Arora et al also found that increasing the "patent premium" does not increase R&D except in pharm and biotech.

    Bessen and Meurer: "the patent system provides positive incentives in some industries like pharmaceuticals."

    Bessen and Meurer: "we find that small publicly traded firms get small positive R&D incentives from patents. This is also very likely to be true for small, non-publicly traded firms and non-profit inventors."

    Ruth Suehle in Redhat Magazine: "I have to admit, it's easy for me, and I suspect others, to forget that patents can work quite well outside of software."

    Roberto Mazzoleni and Richard R. Nelson: "The collection of small and medium sized firms in the American biotechnology industry is, of course, a striking example of enterprises that would not have come into existence without the prospect of a patent, and which depend on patent protection to make their profits, and to attract capital, through one or another of these strategies."

    I also have found it interesting that at least one researcher has pointed out the flaw with many of the studies that conclude that patents add no value to companies.

    Mazzoleni and Nelson, on reviewing an array of studies that concluded patents were not helpful to studied companies:

    "On the other hand, as we also noted, an important limitation of the studies reported above is that they all have been focused on a particular class of innovators, typically large firms with an established presence in their product markets and thus having access to the complementary assets needed to commercialize the end-product of their innovative efforts."

    "Nor do these studies get at the question of whether the prospect of patents motivates firms and other organizations outside of a particular industry to undertake inventions which would be used inside that industry. This class of inventors, call them industry-outsiders, is likely to lack the complementary assets needed to appropriate the returns from innovation by being first to market or by rapidly moving down the learning curve. Studies such as that by Jewkes et al. (1969) have documented the importance of such outsiders to technical advance in a number of industries. For such outsiders, the prospect of a patent may be essential if there is to be incentive to invent."

    These two researchers also concluded:

    "In some areas, patent rights certainly are economically and socially productive in generating invention, spreading technological knowledge, inducing innovation and commercialization, and providing some degree of order in the development of broad technological prospects."

    Patents tied to economic growth:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/04/AR2007050402691.html

    0 6 May 2007

    The notion that patents are tied to growth is not entirely new. A study published last year by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that the single best predictor of how a state's income will grow is the number of patents in the state per capita. Education ranked second.

    From:

    http://www.clevelandfed.org/research/trends/2008/0308/03regact.cfm

    14 Mar 2008

    Education and innovation contributed more to income growth at the state level than other potential factors, according to research conducted at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Educational attainment, for example, increased a state's average per capita personal incomes relative to other states by 8 percent, but innovation "measured by patents per capita" boosts personal income nearly 20 percent. Given the importance of innovation to economic performance, we investigate patenting activity in the Fourth District and compare District trends with those across the nation.

    Albert G.Z. Hu and I.P.L. Png, in their extremely well researched paper "Patent Rights and Economic Growth: Cross-Country Evidence," found a positive mathematical relationship between patents and economic growth. From their conclusion:

    Using an ISIC 3-digit industry level database that spans 54 manufacturing industries in 72 countries between 1981-2000, we found evidence that stronger property rights were associated with faster industrial growth measured by value added. The impact of stronger patent righs was both statistically and economically significant in three of the four periods we analyzed: 1981-85, 1991-95, and 1996-2000, and had become stronger in the 1990s compared to the in the 1980s.

    Our analysis also showed that the stronger patent rights promoted industrial growth through technical progress in the 1981-85 and 1996-2000 periods and through more rapid factor accumulation in the 1991-95 period.

    In another, related area, here is a study showing the incentives from the Plant Act:

    http://www.patenthawk.com/blog/2005/04/patent_economics_part_5_theori.html

    As an example, the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970 provided patent protection for sexually reproducing plants. In the 1960s, about 150 new plant varieties were developed in the U.S. In the 1970's, after providing patent protection, over 3000 new plant varieties were developed. Truly, patents provide the seeds for innovation.

    Discussion of economic distortion was part of a huge paper titled "Anticipating the 21st Century: Competition Policy in the New High-Tech, Global Marketplace," a report by FTC staff, May 1996. One of the interesting parts of this discussion was on page 161 of this document, where two opposite viewpoints on R&D were presented. Economists debate whether we have too much R&D or too little, either of which would cause a distortion to the economy. The two sides disagreed with each other on whether we have a socially optimal level of innovation and neither could they agree on how to determine whether patents, R&D and innovation are too much or too little to be socially optimal.

    So, when I hear people talk about how there is all this "proof" that patents are "bad" for the economy, how they are "bad" for innovation, etc., I look at all these papers showing that patents have value and can only conclude that the answer IS somewhere in the middle.

    What many of the anti-IP researchers fail to do is be objective in their research. They look for failures of patents and (OH MY GOD! A SHOCKER HERE!) they FIND THEM!!! There is a truism in science and statistics: You will always "find" what you are looking for. On the other hand, if you propose a hypothesis, seek evidence to test the hypothesis, and draw a conclusion, you have a much more powerful result.

    I have yet to see an objective conclusion from any paper supporting the hypothesis that patents are a net negative to society (the corollary is true as well - I have never seen an objective conclusion supporting the hypothesis that patents are a net positive to society).

    What do we have in reality? Patents do cause microeconomic distortions. Easily proven. I believe that. However, that does not mean patents are macroeconomically "bad" or fail to provide societal value, or that they provide microeconomic distortions uniformly or at all across the spectrum of industries (in fact, more than one researcher has struggled with measuring the impact of so-called "monopoly rents" because not all patents do or command "monopoly rents" for a variety of reasons; what do many of these researchers do? For convenience and not dealing with what they consider to be troubling - since the vast majority of patents do NOT command "monopoly rents" - they throw them out from consideration in their studies; unfortunate, because this omission is a big mistake and a flaw in any objective study).

    Patents are like any other activity. They have been shown objectively to serve an economic purpose. When misused, they can harm innovation. Does the harm outweigh the benefit? The numerous studies cited above seems to conclude that the benefit outweighs the harm. Can improvements be made in the system? Of course. However, throwing the system out the window would eliminate all the PROVEN benefits of the system, which would eliminate the PROVEN benefits society has obtained from that system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  158.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 6:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    Actually, I mean objective studies by people without an axe to grind, like many of the studies I cited by bona fide college and university researchers.

    The studies I label as not objective are those that fail to state a hypothesis and instead state their conclusion and how they will support it. These papers make no secret that they are not objective, and yet this fact is somehow overlooked. GIGO - garbage in, garbage out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  159.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think we have ample evidence that letting doctors determine the risk for patients is a huge error. Doctors protested the banning of thalidomide, only to crawl into their holes when it was discovered in Europe that thalidomide caused significant genetic damage. Doctors have prescribed patented medicines that the FDA banned after determining that they were actually harmful. Would you have doctors continue to prescribe Vioxx? I think not. The FDA is our ONLY gatekeeper to keep unsafe drugs off the market.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  160.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 6:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Newspapers? Who quotes newspapers? Not I. You will find a lengthy list of cites in a post above this one, all of which were objective studies showing the benefits of intellectual property. So, by your words, you are ignoring all the evidence provided in that post base on...? Your beliefs? Obviously not factual evidence since all those studies and reports were fairly well supported.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  161.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 8:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I think we have ample evidence that letting doctors determine the risk for patients is a huge error."

    Would you rather non doctors determine the risk? Why should we assume that the FDA, who doesn't see each patient on an individual basis, should be better suited to make medical decisions for patients?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  162.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "all of which were objective studies showing the benefits of intellectual property."

    Simply label the (often industry funded) studies that agree with you objective and label the ones that disagree with you subjective. Then you proved your point. Perfect logic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  163.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Would you have doctors continue to prescribe Vioxx?"

    Yet it was the FDA that approved Vioxx.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  164.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That is, on an individual basis.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  165.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The FDA is our ONLY gatekeeper to keep unsafe drugs off the market."

    The issue in the case of vioxx wasn't a case of whether or not the FDA should have banned it, it was a case of a corrupt corporation censoring important information about the drug to allow doctors to ascertain the true risks before prescribing. Yet the FDA completely failed to ensure that the risks were known to doctors, that's not the fault of doctors, that's the fault of the FDA. Even when Vioxx came out many doctors were opposed to giving it to new patients (after seeing the symptoms their patients were receiving) before the scam was publicly revealed and before the FDA did anything about it. It was patients, who saw all the advertisements, that demanded it from doctors, even though doctors quickly became hesitant to prescribe it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  166.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "I look at all these papers showing that patents have value and can only conclude that the answer IS somewhere in the middle."

    and I actually agree with this, but I think that our current situation of patent abuse is causing more harm than good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  167.  
    icon
    CopyJosh (profile), Jun 7th, 2009 @ 9:19pm

    Nothing's Changed

    I find it ironic that I have not been on this website in almost 2 years, and after going through the hassle of re-registering and taking a gander at what the front page has to offer, I see an article about patents at the very top. really? really? I remember that is just about all I read about two years ago on this site. Give it a break, we know the story. The Good, the Bad, and definitely the ugly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  168.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 9:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "Sokoloff, Lamoreaux and Kahn showed that patented innovations "tend to be traded more than those that are not, and therefore to disperse geographically farther away from the original area of invention."

    This is not to say that those ideas wouldn't advance without patents. Perhaps it's the case that obvious ideas that would advance regardless tend to get patented. Did the researchers do anything to take into account this possibility? If so, what? Was there a control group? I'm not saying that the research is necessarily wrong, just that these are important questions to ask. I do think that if used properly patents can be good and perhaps this study is a good example of that. But we should still ask the difficult questions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  169.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    The questions are fair, and yet it is beyond argument that the very same questions should be asked of those studies proclaiming that patent law is "bad".

    I have read numerous studies coming down on both sides of the issue, and as yet have seen any of them demonstrate a firm and definite causality.

    My problem with so many of the articles on this site is that studies seem cherry-picked to provide a desired outcome. If a study seems to support the opinions promulgated here with regularity, they are cited as "mounting evidence". If a study seems to cut the other way, it is a rare occassion ideed that it receives even a passing mention.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  170.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 10:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "The questions are fair, and yet it is beyond argument that the very same questions should be asked of those studies proclaiming that patent law is "bad"."

    I don't think anyone here denies that and we encourage you task these questions as well. It is a two sided discussion, you are free to present the other side.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  171.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 10:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "My problem with so many of the articles on this site is that studies seem cherry-picked to provide a desired outcome. If a study seems to support the opinions promulgated here with regularity, they are cited as "mounting evidence". If a study seems to cut the other way, it is a rare occassion ideed that it receives even a passing mention."

    You are free to mention them but please do so in a courteous, respectful manner. My problem is when people respond with sarcasm and personal attacks and they act as if their own opinions are the only ones that should be considered. When you (a general you) act like this you can't expect others to pay much attention to your message (they instead pay attention to your attitude and ignore your message because they assume that, given your not so good attitude, the motives behind your message are also not good).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  172.  
    identicon
    Jerry in Detroit, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 4:52am

    Tax IP

    The only way to sort out a lot of this mess is to start taxing patents and copyrights. Yes, you heard me. Tax them. That way, good & profitable patents and copyrights can continue so long as they pay the renewal fees and the rest can go to public domain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  173.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 6:00am

    Re: Tax IP

    Merely FYI, patents are "taxed" via a process known as "maintenance fees", payable on three separate instances so long as a patent is maintained in effect. These fees are on an ascending scale, affordable on the first go round and approaching draconian on the third for those of limited means. If maintenance fees are not paid withing the alloted time the associated patent lapses.

    Copyrights do not have a maintenance fee system as is the case with patents. Prior to 1978 copyrights were limited to a 28 year term that could be extended for an additional 28 years upon formal application and payment of the requisite fee. While the fee back then was quite nominal, at least it had the salutory effect that a failure to renew and pay the fee resulted in the associated copyright lapsing.

    In all candor, I do not see (disclaimer: I have not researched the issue) that would prevent at the very least the states from imposing, if their constitutional charters permit, intangible taxes on "things" such as patents and copyrights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  174.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 8:08am

    Re: Tax IP

    "That way, good & profitable patents and copyrights can continue "

    Punky

    Do you honestly think that good == profitable
    for patents ( or anything else in this world for that matter)?

    Your ignorance is astounding

    Why don't you GFY ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  175.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, they did, until they had evidence, which quickly mounted, that the studies provided by the pharmaceutical company were either wrong or falsified. Then they unapproved it just as fast, if not faster, than the approved it.

    However, apparently some people want the FDA to exit the "approval" business altogether and permit doctors to understand the risks and prescribe accordingly. Sometimes risks are long term and the FDA deems the risk, long or short term, to exceed the benefit, decides certain drugs or uses for drugs are inappropriate.

    Also note that the FDA has been convinced to allow drug use to be expanded, following similar procedures used to permit the use of any newly created drug.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  176.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The FDA, who consists of and is largely run by doctors, evaluates the risks versus benefits of any drug, and aids in the determination of clinically safe values. Just because a drug at a certain level may have clinical benefits does not mean that a doctor without FDA guidance is able to know what those values are. The doctor may also be unaware of the risks, which the FDA also assures are accurately documented - yet another of their functions.

    Or would you rather each doctor treat their patient as a guinea pig? Ooops...lost another patient due to kidney failure. I guess that dose was too big.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  177.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Go through the studies, tell me which were "industry funded."

    Not incidentally, you are doing the same thing in the opposite direction. Your anti-patent studies, often funded by anti-government Libertarian societies, or by industry organizations opposed to patents (big surprise - there are a number of industries that would love to abolish patents so they could copy more easily) among others, automatically start with bias. Thus, you have proved YOUR point. Also perfect logic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  178.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    I am unsure of whether patent abuse is causing more harm than good. It IS causing harm, but how MUCH harm I am unsure about. Unfortunately, I have yet to see an objective study that accurately quantifies the gross (or net) harm caused by patent abuse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  179.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    Some of your question is a mixing of issues. As several studies have discovered, patented innovations tend to get traded more than those that are not patented, and tend to get disperse geographically further from the source of invention. It MAY be that the invention MIGHT be discovered independently elsewhere (which tends to happen with some "big" inventions), but the rate of dispersion appears faster with patented inventions.

    As for whether there was a "control" group, as with all things patent, regardless of whether you are anti-IP or pro-IP, your ability to compare with "control" groups is limited. I suggest you read their paper for more details.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  180.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The FDA, who consists of and is largely run by doctors, evaluates the risks versus benefits of any drug, and aids in the determination of clinically safe values."

    But you're the one that said, "that letting doctors determine the risk for patients is a huge error"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  181.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps we might ask hotdog vendors to select medicines? Yeah, that's the plan.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  182.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Just because a drug at a certain level may have clinical benefits does not mean that a doctor without FDA guidance is able to know what those values are. The doctor may also be unaware of the risks, which the FDA also assures are accurately documented - yet another of their functions."

    Nowhere have I argued against the FDA's assurance that things are properly documented. Yet it should be doctors, after considering the proper documentation, to determine the risks and benefits to patients on an individual scale, it shouldn't be for the FDA to do so with the employment of broad bans and such. You claim that doctors aren't perfect, well, clearly, neither is the FDA (ie: by approving vioxx).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  183.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    The patent system causes less "harm" than all the free music downloaders and file sharers on the planet, yet legally nobody seems able to show harm.

    Page out of Mike's playbook: There is no harm unless you can prove it in a court of law, therefore patents cause no harm.

    Damn, his head would spin if he actually thought about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  184.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Yes, they did, until they had evidence, which quickly mounted, that the studies provided by the pharmaceutical company were either wrong or falsified. Then they unapproved it just as fast, if not faster, than the approved it."

    Actually, the FDA did nothing to protect the American people from Vioxx. It was the discovery process in the lawsuit that discovered the falsified studies (not the FDA) and Merck voluntarily recalled the drug before the FDA even did anything about it. The FDA are the ones who approved it and their actions didn't do a darn thing to protect the American people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  185.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    My questions are relevant, you haven't answered them. How do we know that it's not the case that obvious ideas have a higher tendency to get patented, ideas that would spread regardless of the patent?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  186.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 8th, 2009 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "I am unsure of whether patent abuse is causing more harm than good. It IS causing harm, but how MUCH harm I am unsure about. Unfortunately, I have yet to see an objective study that accurately quantifies the gross (or net) harm caused by patent abuse."

    And so far, the battle for we reformists is JUST in trying to get these very angry pro-patent people to admit there is some kind of cost to patents, and some kind of benefit to public domain, and therefore the issue is worthy of debate.

    Instead, for the most part, we get utter refusal to admit any cost. It's somehow 100% upside, and their rebuttle is in name calling since we're "so dense" we don't see it the same way. Yeah. Nuance and cost-benefit analysis is the sign of a weak mind. Long live dogma!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  187.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 8th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    It's funny when you think you're running circles around Mike, but you're really just spouting nonsense, going around in circles.

    Techdirt never said that illegal downloads don't cause harm. Techdirt disputes the recording industry's claims that EVERY SINGLE illegal copy is a lost sale. Techdirt also says that there is a price suggested by economics for digital media, and that is zero. Techdirt also says that industry efforts to price differently than the economically optimal price will be challenged in the market. Techdirt also says that it is practically impossible to succeed in shutting down the pirates. And it is ill-advised to criminalize your customers. We don't endorse file sharing, we just consider the mechanics, and suggest the best strategies for the music industry.

    You don't have to agree with what is said here. But if you simply don't understand, you'll have a hard time making a cogent argument. Get a good night's rest and try again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  188.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    I believe the reference to "density" is in large measure due to the almost Pavlovian response by some who comment on this site who appear only too willing to accept the content of posted articles at face value. Not all engage in such a response, but those few who do try and assimilate information and arrive at what I would term an "intellectually honest opinion" seem to be in the distinct minority.

    I believe it is quite fair to say that those who advocate in favor of patent law are well aware of its pros and cons. Of course, there do appear to be a few with whom trying to engender an intelligent discussion has about as much chance of success as debating a brick wall.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  189.  
    identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    Derek:

    Call me a moderate. I see both sides to the argument, though I count myself as relatively pro-IP.

    Do I think IP has been abused and there have been some situations where things have become absurd? Yes. Do I think IP should be thrown out the window? Absolutely not.

    I also believe an objective observer would have to see that some industries benefit from IP more than others, and vice versa (some industries receive minimal benefit from IP).

    What bothers me is the absolute dogma of the anti-IP people who believe all IP (including trademarks) are "bad," as "proven" by largely anecdotal evidence. Of course, many of these same people are anarchists, so perhaps I should be less bothered. After all, these are the same people who believe the government should be completely eliminated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  190.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    I do not have an answer for that question (as to whether "obvious ideas have a higher tendency to get patented" and thus would spread regardless of the patent). Your thought is intriguing, but without evidence as far as I know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  191.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "Of course, many of these same people are anarchists"

    anarchists ???
    Oh NO

    Price Kropotkin was anarchist
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Kropotkin

    Bat'ka Makhno was another prominent anarchist:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestor_Makhno

    and fellas you are talking about are just little worthless techdirt lemming-punks

    A fodder for large multinational corporations and their paid shills like Mikey

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  192.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "Your thought is intriguing, but without evidence as far as I know."

    No, it's a relevant important question. Whenever double blind studies are done there is a control group to control for the possibility that a result will occur regardless. Monopolies cause substantial harm to society, the burden is on YOU to justify them. Without an answer to this question how can you claim that your justification is sound? Using your logic we can simply try a cancer drug without a control group and see if any patients get better. If patients do get better then we can attribute it to the drug and say something like "Without evidence that these patients would get better without the drug we should assume the drug helped them". This is poor logic though because sometimes patients do get better without the drug. Hence you need a control group to prove that the drug does in fact help patients. You want to prove that patents are good for society, the burden is on YOU to show that these innovations would not occur and spread without patents. Saying that these innovations spread with patents does not prove they won't spread without. It is a relevant question, an important one, and you bear the burden to answer it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  193.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 8th, 2009 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: TechDIRT hosting ads for invention promoters.

    So what? I show Ron to be embarrassingly wrong and ill-informed about the Internets, and you rush in to back him up?

    "you can guess what sort of ads will come up, and they will often be for companies that profit from patents"

    Actually, some of the Google ads might equally well be from patent lawyers looking for clients? Companies that help inventors come to market? Patent filing experts?

    AS I look at the ads right now, there are these two:

    Intellectual Property Law
    Patent licensing and biotech/tech contracts. Fixed rates available.
    www.PrinzLawOffice.com

    Patent Your Invention
    Affordable and quality patents. Intellectual property attorneys.
    www.olpatentlaw.com

    Those two ads are definitely from pro-patent advertisers. No complaint from Techdirt - they're an impartial, arm's-length platform for the advertisers.

    OK. So Techdirt isn't hosting the ads, and is totally agnostic to the advertising, which is handled by Google. Google is agnostic to the ads, and sells the keywords to the highest bidder which also generates click-throughs, and thus money. And in the end, there are ads from companies Ron Riley doesn't like, and ads from Patent Lawyers that are aligned with Riley.

    That's three layers of abstraction, and a neutral hosting platform, and unbiased ads from both sides. Your @#$@# point was what again?

    Why don't you two worry more about all the arguments you are losing in the comments, and let Techdirt handle how they should monetize their free service?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  194.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 8th, 2009 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "I believe it is quite fair to say that those who advocate in favor of patent law are well aware of its pros and cons. Of course, there do appear to be a few with whom trying to engender an intelligent discussion has about as much chance of success as debating a brick wall."

    ..and thanks to Lonnie Holder, then Angry Dude for illustrating the two types so capably!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  195.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    AC:

    You say "no," but there was nothing to say "no" to. What I said is that I knew of no evidence, not that there was none.

    As has been noted in the numerous studies provided earlier, there have been some measured benefits from patents. Some of the studies have indeed provided control groups for comparisons. I am just unfamiliar with the one study that you chose to question.

    As for your over-generalization that "monopolies cause substantial harm to society," that statement is without basis. In fact, monopolies have, with careful and limited application, provided benefit to society. If you can prove that all monopolies have caused substantial harm to society, I would be pleased to see that proof.

    As for your cancer example, if we discovered that treating cancer with drug X appeared efficacious 300 years ago, and had been doing so regularly for 300 years, would you advocate eliminating treatment with drug X so we could have a control group? Or would you take the best comparisons available, such as a society that did not believe in using drug X or a society for whom drug X was not readily available? I suspect the latter.

    In the case of the numerous studies both for and against patents, each have the same problem, a lack of a control group. However, the studies cited above generally have attempted to select a control group for comparison, as opposed to the anti-IP studies, which have often chosen as their control group a society that existed 150 years ago under different circumstances. Hardly an appropriate control group.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  196.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 8th, 2009 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    You are unbelievably retarded, my litle techdirt lemming-punk creature

    What do you do for a living ?
    Bullshitting around like Mikey ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  197.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "As for your over-generalization that "monopolies cause substantial harm to society," that statement is without basis."

    It is very much with basis. Here you go

    http://courses.missouristate.edu/ReedOlsen/courses/eco165/Notes/pc-m.pdf

    This is well accepted economics. There maybe few exceptions when it comes to naturalistic monopolies.

    "As for your cancer example, if we discovered that treating cancer with drug X appeared efficacious 300 years ago, and had been doing so regularly for 300 years, would you advocate eliminating treatment with drug X so we could have a control group?"

    You are assuming that the drug is efficacious, just like you are assuming that patents are efficacious. You have failed to substantiate.

    "You say "no," but there was nothing to say "no" to. What I said is that I knew of no evidence, not that there was none."

    Again, this is like taking a double blind study without a control group and attributing anything good that happens to the drug. You have to show that it is the drug, and not other factors, that caused it (ie: the fact that the person could get better anyways). Just because patents have been around whatever amount of years doesn't mean they help advance technology. Technology was advancing before patents were around (and I have given examples) simply saying that technology has advanced with patents doesn't substantiate the notion that patents are in fact responsible for that advancement. You hold the burden.


    It makes perfect sense that people are more likely to patent good/obvious ideas that they think will advance. Perhaps it's the case that patented ideas advance because those ideas tend to be good ideas, not because they are patented (that is, because they are good/obvious ideas they are more likely to advance regardless of whether or not they are patented). After all, why would I spend the time, money, and resources trying to patent a bad idea, an idea I don't think will advance. I won't do that, I would try to patent good ideas, ideas I think would advance (ideas I think I can make a profit from if I patent them) and perhaps it really the fact that good/obvious ideas tend to be patented that causes them to advance (not the patent itself, but the merits of the idea). Prove me wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  198.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "I am just unfamiliar with the one study that you chose to question."

    Why would you present studies that you are unfamiliar with to support your point? Doesn't that kinda kill your credibility? "This study supports my point but I am unfamiliar with it."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  199.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    "The studies I label as not objective are those that fail to state a hypothesis and instead state their conclusion and how they will support it."

    You (a general you) present studies and when I start asking questions your answer is something like "I'm not familiar with that study." If you're not familiar with the very studies that you present why should I take what you say seriously?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  200.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    Here is a good link that makes some excellent points at describing the problems with our current patent system.

    http://ideas.4brad.com/archives/000061.html

    I suggest everyone read this. It's not anti - patent, and I agree that some patents are good. Here, I want to make some quotes.

    "But the patent office has taken too liberal a definition of novel. They are granting patents when the problem is novel, and the filer is the first to try to solve it. As such their answer to the new question is novel.

    The better patents are ones that solve older problems.

    Amazon was one of the earliest internet shopping operations. So of course they were among the first to look hard at the UI for that style of shopping, and thus were first to file an invention called one-click-buy. But one-click-buy was really just an obvious answer to a new problem. The same applies to XOR cursors, browser plug-ins, and streaming audio and video.

    Some patents, however, are deserving. I remember seeing CS professors give lectures in the mid-70s about how Huffman coding was provably the be best form of data compression, even after Ziv and Lempel published their paper on their compression algorithms. They took a very old problem and came up with a new answer."

    I actually agree with this. Solutions to NEW problems should NOT be patentable. Give the free market some times to try and solve and scrutinize it without patents and then, if the problem doesn't get solved (after, say, 5 years) then someone is allowed to be granted a patent if they do solve it. The problem is that too many patents are on new problems where the solutions are very obvious and just a little bit of market scrutiny would yield a solution to the problem. Patents for OLD problems (where scrutiny has been applied and no solution has been found are OK, patents for new problems are generally bad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  201.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "As for your over-generalization that "monopolies cause substantial harm to society," that statement is without basis."

    It is very much with basis. Here you go

    http://courses.missouristate.edu/ReedOlsen/courses/eco165/Notes/pc-m.pdf

    This is well accepted economics. There maybe few exceptions when it comes to naturalistic monopolies.


    Great paper. It does not say that monopolies are "bad for society." In fact, it quite clearly says that monopolies may be advantageous or disadvantageous depending on your assumptions or the conditions. Section F covers both scenarios, in the absence of a patent system and with a patent system. I find the conclusions interesting and note that the patent system is not shown as harmful, but as providing an incentive to innovate.

    "As for your cancer example, if we discovered that treating cancer with drug X appeared efficacious 300 years ago, and had been doing so regularly for 300 years, would you advocate eliminating treatment with drug X so we could have a control group?"

    You are assuming that the drug is efficacious, just like you are assuming that patents are efficacious. You have failed to substantiate.

    I assumed no such thing. In fact, I made no assumption at all. What I suggested was that finding a perfect control group was virtually impossible, therefore an analagous control group or a substitute for a control group needed to be found. Researchers that have found against the benefits of patents and researchers that have found for the benefits of patents have each chosen control groups. Sometimes they choose the same control group but arrive at different interpretations of the data. However, neither of them have a control group that is equivalent to the "perfect competition," so they both have to accept a compromise comparison to stand in for the mythical perfect competition."

    "You say "no," but there was nothing to say "no" to. What I said is that I knew of no evidence, not that there was none."

    Again, this is like taking a double blind study without a control group and attributing anything good that happens to the drug. You have to show that it is the drug, and not other factors, that caused it (ie: the fact that the person could get better anyways). Just because patents have been around whatever amount of years doesn't mean they help advance technology. Technology was advancing before patents were around (and I have given examples) simply saying that technology has advanced with patents doesn't substantiate the notion that patents are in fact responsible for that advancement. You hold the burden.

    I may have missed your examples. However, of course technology creeped along before patents existed. Technology will advance with or without patents. The question is not one of whether someone will happen, but whether something is enhanced (kind of like medicine). As noted in the studies provided earlier, in comparison with the control groups patents appear to be beneficial in terms of acceleration. Now, since those studies prove the acceleration, it is in your camp to counterpoint with evidence that acceleration not only does not happen, but deceleration happens.

    It makes perfect sense that people are more likely to patent good/obvious ideas that they think will advance. Perhaps it's the case that patented ideas advance because those ideas tend to be good ideas, not because they are patented (that is, because they are good/obvious ideas they are more likely to advance regardless of whether or not they are patented). After all, why would I spend the time, money, and resources trying to patent a bad idea, an idea I don't think will advance. I won't do that, I would try to patent good ideas, ideas I think would advance (ideas I think I can make a profit from if I patent them) and perhaps it really the fact that good/obvious ideas tend to be patented that causes them to advance (not the patent itself, but the merits of the idea). Prove me wrong.

    Various estimates for the number of patents that never make it into a product during the life of a patent vary, depending on assumptions and the researcher. The ranges I have seen vary from the 80% range to as high as 98%. Now, you use the term "bad patent" without definition, so I will provide one since you placed the burden on me. I define a "bad patent" as one that does not yield a measurable economic benefit to the person or company obtaining the patent.

    People apply for "bad" patents all the time, as evidenced by the number of patents not used in their lifetime. However, the reason these patents are "bad" varies. Obviously, no one knows the economic value of a patent until they attempt to market an idea. Motorola held the patent on cellular telephony long before it became economical. You might have said their cellular telephone patents were "bad" because they yielded Motorola minimal economic benefit. Yet, society benefited hugely because Motorola laid out the solution to cellular telephony and that solution remains in use today, though with additional refinements.

    How about the Steadicam patents? The inventor of the Steadicam created a marvelous device that revolutionized movie making. Before his first patent published, a number of people attempted to steal his design - clearly indicating that his design was not obvious and was clearly valuable. Is this patent bad, or did the inventor add something to society?

    Just WHAT would you like me to prove?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  202.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    Let me rephrase: I am unfamiliar with whether that one study used a control group, and I had insufficient interest in going back to look considering that was a relatively trivial point given that the control groups for those studies was as good as the control groups for anti-IP studies (or as bad - as the case may be).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  203.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent offices *should* be publicly funded

    I said I was unfamiliar with one study, not all of them...ask away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  204.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "It does not say that monopolies are "bad for society.""

    I know what the paper says. The point is that it shows there is a definite economic cost to society whenever you have a monopoly. So substantiate the benefits (btw, I do not have to agree with everything a paper says in order to present it and I presented a pro patent paper so you can't say "oh, that's just one of those bogus anti patent papers and it's only bogus because I disagree with it". Even your own pro patent papers agree that there is a definite cost to society when we have patents and that's the point I'm getting across).

    "As noted in the studies provided earlier, in comparison with the control groups patents appear to be beneficial in terms of acceleration."

    You claim this, but then when I start asking you questions about whether or not there was a control group or what was done to account for the lack of a control group you answer that you are unfamiliar with the study. What studies with control groups are you referring to? You say, "Some of the studies have indeed provided control groups for comparisons." etc.. but what are you referring to. What studies and what control groups, etc... What was done to control for the fact that those ideas may advance without patents? Being unfamiliar with the studies you present doesn't answer my question.

    "Now, since those studies prove the acceleration"

    You have not proven the acceleration, prove it. What studies, what control groups, what was done to show that patents accelerate innovation? Saying that innovation occurs with patents or even saying that patented ideas are more likely to advance doesn't demonstrate it is the patents that help advance the ideas.

    "The ranges I have seen vary from the 80% range to as high as 98%. "

    I don't doubt that many bad ideas also get patented but that's not to say that there isn't a higher chance for good ideas, that are likely to advance on their own (without patents), to get patents than not to (in the face of a patent system). Say 100 people came up with 1000 ideas and only 10 of them are good. Those 10 good ideas may advance with or without patents. But because they are good ideas they are more likely to get patented despite the fact that they are likely to advance without patents (people people make an effort to patent good ideas).


    ... (everything just before "
    Just WHAT would you like me to prove?")

    I do think that under certain situations patents can be good. I just think that they cause more harm than good in our current system.

    "Just WHAT would you like me to prove?"

    That the patents did in fact aid advancements in the studies you mentioned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  205.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "Boldrin and Levine provided a summary of 23 studies on patenting and innovation, "strengthening IP increases the flow of foreign investment in sectors where patents are frequently used.""

    I found this interesting.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/201571321177481k/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  206.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 5:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "It does not say that monopolies are "bad for society.""

    I know what the paper says. The point is that it shows there is a definite economic cost to society whenever you have a monopoly. So substantiate the benefits (btw, I do not have to agree with everything a paper says in order to present it and I presented a pro patent paper so you can't say "oh, that's just one of those bogus anti patent papers and it's only bogus because I disagree with it". Even your own pro patent papers agree that there is a definite cost to society when we have patents and that's the point I'm getting across).

    I did not read the same thing in the paper you did. What the paper seemed to say in section F is that lack of patents decreased incentive to innovate for a perfectly competitive company, and patents increased incentive to innovate for a perfectly competitive company. From an economic viewpoint that makes sense to me.

    "As noted in the studies provided earlier, in comparison with the control groups patents appear to be beneficial in terms of acceleration."

    You claim this, but then when I start asking you questions about whether or not there was a control group or what was done to account for the lack of a control group you answer that you are unfamiliar with the study. What studies with control groups are you referring to? You say, "Some of the studies have indeed provided control groups for comparisons." etc.. but what are you referring to. What studies and what control groups, etc... What was done to control for the fact that those ideas may advance without patents? Being unfamiliar with the studies you present doesn't answer my question.

    We are going in circles. In the study presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, they made a comparison between states and per capita income and compared that data with the number of patents per capita and found a positive correlation between patents and per capita income, even greater than the relationship between education and per capita income.

    Their comparison was with other states, which means that their control groups were states with different per capita incomes and different numbers of patents per capita.

    I think you can look through the other reports yourself.

    "Now, since those studies prove the acceleration"

    You have not proven the acceleration, prove it. What studies, what control groups, what was done to show that patents accelerate innovation? Saying that innovation occurs with patents or even saying that patented ideas are more likely to advance doesn't demonstrate it is the patents that help advance the ideas.

    Actually, I do not need to prove the acceleration. I presented the studies with comments indicating what the studies found. If you are interested in reviewing the studies further, please have fun.

    "The ranges I have seen vary from the 80% range to as high as 98%. "

    I don't doubt that many bad ideas also get patented but that's not to say that there isn't a higher chance for good ideas, that are likely to advance on their own (without patents), to get patents than not to (in the face of a patent system). Say 100 people came up with 1000 ideas and only 10 of them are good. Those 10 good ideas may advance with or without patents. But because they are good ideas they are more likely to get patented despite the fact that they are likely to advance without patents (people people make an effort to patent good ideas).

    I am unsure of your point. I just read a story about the person who developed the theories that made the telegraph and electric motor possible. That individual did not apply for patents and did not value patents, thus dedicating his knowledge to the public and enabling other innovations, many of which were patented. How does that fit with your statements, and why should we care?

    .. (everything just before "
    Just WHAT would you like me to prove?")


    I do think that under certain situations patents can be good. I just think that they cause more harm than good in our current system.

    You are entitled to your unsupported opinion.

    "Just WHAT would you like me to prove?"

    That the patents did in fact aid advancements in the studies you mentioned.

    I provided links to most of those studies. I think it would be better for you to read them rather than me interpreting them. If you wish links to the other studies, I will provide them as well, after you have read the studies to which I linked.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  207.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "Patents encourage foreign investment.

    Boldrin and Levine provided a summary of 23 studies on patenting and innovation, "strengthening IP increases the flow of foreign investment in sectors where patents are frequently used.""

    Here is what was said.

    "A number of scientific studies have attempted to examine whether introducing or strengthening patent protection leads to greater innovation. We have identified seventeen economic studies that have examined this issue empirically. The executive summary: these studies find weak or no evidence that strengthening patent regimes increases innovation; they find evidence that strengthening the patent regime increases … patenting! They also find evidence that, in countries with initially weak IP regimes, strengthening IP increases the flow of foreign investment in sectors where patents are frequently used. "

    http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:E8z3VYFBThgJ:www.econ.umn.edu/~mboldrin/aim/aimchapter8.do c+%22strengthening+IP+increases+the+flow+of+foreign+investment+in+sectors+where+patents+are+frequent ly+used.%22&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  208.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    So even the studies you provide don't really support your contention that patents are good for society.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  209.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    So even the studies you provide don't really support your contention that patents are good for society.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  210.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "I think it would be better for you to read them rather than me interpreting them."

    I was trying to discuss them but when trying to discuss them your answer is that you are unfamiliar with them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  211.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "I did not read the same thing in the paper you did."

    You don't read what I give you and you don't even read the studies that you present. Interesting.

    Read where it says

    "Perfectly competitive firms have the least
    market power (i.e., perfectly competitive firms are price takers), which yields the most
    efficient outcome. Monopolies have the most market power, which yields the least
    efficient outcome."

    There is a definite cost to society whenever you have a monopoly. Look at the curves, read what I gave you, understand it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  212.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    Yes, exactly. So when a country has weak IP initially, and then increases the strength of IP, the flow of foreign investment increases into those sectors where patents are used.

    Interesting, eh?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  213.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "I think it would be better for you to read them rather than me interpreting them."

    Anyone can copy and paste things, but how well can you actually discuss the issues and defend your position instead of just copying and pasting from other sources? Copying and pasting a bunch of links (and then later claiming that you are unfamiliar with the studies you present when I try to engage you in a discussion and ask questions) doesn't show me that you know what you're talking about. It just shows me that you can copy and paste things. Well, anyone can do that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  214.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    Do you know how to read? I said I was unfamiliar with the one paper that you quoted. Pay attention.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  215.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    But you read it out of context. You must read it in the context of "they find evidence that strengthening the patent regime increases … patenting!" It increases the investment in patenting but the studies do not find that this increases innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  216.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    There is a definite cost to society whenever you have a monopoly. Look at the curves, read what I gave you, understand it.

    Let me see...from the same paper you presented, with respect to the exception for innovation:

    With respect to monopoly or perfect competion, which is more efficient when it comes to innovation?

    "...Hence, in the absence of a patent system, perfect competition is less efficient than we previously though because they will have no incentive to innovate. Monopoly, however, is more efficient than we thought because they will have an incentive to innovate."

    Conversely, with the existence of a patent system, which is more efficient with respect to innovation?

    "...Thus, we can conclude that with a patent system, the perfectly competitive industry has a larger incentive to innovate than a monopoly. With a patent system, therefore, perfect competition is more, not less, efficient than we thought."

    Again, these exceptions with respect to innovation make perfect sense and fit with the aforementioned studies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  217.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    Where did I say I was "unfamiliar with the studies"?

    In any case, I have discussed the studies in the past and then I get asked for the studies. Enough discussion. I am not an expert, so I defer to those who have studied IP objectively and have well supported their conclusions regarding the benefits of IP.

    As for cutting and pasting, when are you going to support your position? No, you would rather claim that the burden is on me. Easy to say when you have no position, and I have presented one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  218.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    Did anyone say that study tied increased investment to increased innovation? I think not. That study was about increased investment. You will not that the post discussed an array of benefits to IP, foreign investment being one of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  219.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    The first conclusion was that of Boldrin and Levine (which they inferred from the study), that actual conclusion was that foreign investment increased with strengthened IP. Incidentally, other studies were cited that made the same confirmation using different techniques.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  220.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    I know what you said but the fact that you said you aren't familiar with that one paper does not mean you are familiar with the other ones. The fact that you would present a paper that you are unfamiliar with brings into question how familiar you are with the other papers you present (even the second paper you presented did not support your position that patents help innovation and the fact that you were unfamiliar with the first raises the valid question of whether or not you are even familiar with the second or any others). You already presented one paper you are unfamiliar with, who's to say you won't present others?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  221.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "Let me see...from the same paper you presented, with respect to the exception for innovation:"

    But one of the very things we are discussing is whether or not those conclusions are correct and to what degree.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  222.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    So...you extrapolate a universe from one example. Interesting scientific approach. Any other revelations?

    As for your other comment regarding innovation, it makes not sense. Let us look at the headers in the post with all the references:

    Patents help provide greater dispersion of technology than non-patented products.

    Patents encourage foreign investment.

    Patents can lead to more spending on R&D as a portion of R&D.


    Where is innovation mentioned in any of these? These are merely examples of the benefits of patents.

    As for whether someone would present papers with which they are partially unfamiliar, but might be familiar with other portions, is that a problem? Quite often research papers delve into a huge array of issues, and only one portion of the paper may be of interest to a reader. I see no problem with that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  223.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    The conclusion regarding the exception for innovation appeared correct to me. Do you wish to dispute the very paper you cited?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  224.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "Hall and Ham noted "The results suggest that stronger patents may have facilitated entry by firms in niche product markets...""

    This actually makes sense, but that's not to say that patent are good for society. If I have a patent on something, almost by definition, I have a niche (since the government grants me a monopoly and no one else can copy me). But perhaps this is bad for society for without that patent others can utilize economics of scope to provide what I am providing at a cheaper price and to increase aggregate output.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  225.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    One doesn't have to agree with everything a source says in order to agree with certain parts and to present it. I was merely showing that monopolies do come at a definitive cost.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  226.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    The answer depends on what you value. If you value diversity among business rather than centralization, then patents are beneficial. If your only goal is minimal price and economies of scale, then patents only hurt you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  227.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "Patents help provide greater dispersion of technology than non-patented products."

    and when I asked you questions about this you said you were unfamiliar with it. So you just put a bunch of catchy headers up without even knowing enough detail to know of the studies you present support those headers. Sounds like copy and paste work.

    "Patents encourage foreign investment."

    But you took that out of context. It's encouraging investment in patents. But this doesn't necessarily increase aggregate output or help innovation. The government can encourage people (by paying them) to dig a hole and then cover it back up but that's useless to society. Sure, people maybe willing to invest in monopolies but that's not to say that doing so increases aggregate output or helps innovation. If they do neither of these two then how are they helping society?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  228.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "As for whether someone would present papers with which they are partially unfamiliar"

    You showed practically zero familiarity with the papers you presented and you presented them as if they prove your point (when you don't even know how they prove your point or whether or not they do).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  229.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "If you value diversity among business rather than centralization, then patents are beneficial."

    A patent is a monopoly, by definition, a monopoly is one centralized seller.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  230.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    Do monopolies come with cost? Yes. Do monopolies come with benefit? Yes. The real question is whether the benefits outweigh the costs. A number of studies in the post above attempt to address that issue and point out a number of the benefits to the extremely limited monopoly provided by patents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  231.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "How does that fit with your statements, and why should we care?"

    First of all I said that good/obvious ideas may have a greater chance of being patented, not that they will always be patented. Secondly, we should care because it's important to know to what extent patents are helping or harming society.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  232.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    However, that is not necessarily true about patents, is it? If there are 30 different patented techniques to accomplish the same purpose, then there are 30 choices as opposed to one or two choices because those two choices provide the lowest cost, highest volume solution, regardless of whether those one or two solutions work equally well for all users.

    The monopoly for a patent is typically a monopoly for only one solution to a problem, with there typically being many different solutions. Some would call this diversity of solutions economically inefficient. Perhaps so, but it generates a lot of choice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  233.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "We are going in circles. In the study presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, ... per capita income.

    Their comparison was with other states, ... patents per capita."

    Here is a reference for others.

    http://www.clevelandfed.org/research/Trends/2007/0307/02regact_030807.cfm

    (I didn't want to quote everything so I put ... there).

    Amazingly, nothing you said has answered my question.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  234.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 7:00pm

    My question didn't have anything to do with per capita income. My question was, "What was done to control for the fact that those ideas may advance without patents?" It didn't mention per capita income.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  235.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "However, that is not necessarily true about patents, is it? If there are 30 different patented techniques to accomplish the same purpose, then there are 30 choices as opposed to one or two choices because those two choices provide the lowest cost, highest volume solution, regardless of whether those one or two solutions work equally well for all users."

    No one is stopping people from using other techniques if there is a market for those techniques. If one technique is beneficial in certain situations and another technique is beneficial in other situations and different people will purchase different products utilizing different techniques based on their specific needs then perhaps a company can produce both products (with both techniques) at a cheaper price by utilizing economics of scope. However, it maybe harder if patents get in the way. Your assumption assumes that useful other solutions won't occur without patents if those solutions do have benefit to some people that other solutions don't have.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  236.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 7:09pm

    Re:

    I lost track of your question. That particular study was related to yet another economic benefit of patents. As for your question, the two best studies are:

    A study by Edwin Mansfield (I believe this paper is "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, Vol. 32, No. 2. (Feb., 1996). pp. 173-181) concluded that 60% of pharmaceutical inventions and 38% of chemical inventions would not have been developed without patents. Mansfield also concluded that while 86% of all inventions would have been developed without patent protection, the reverse is true as well. 14% of all inventions would not have been developed without patent protection. Furthermore, Mansfield did not study the relative value of the 86% and the 14%.

    And:

    http://www.patenthawk.com/blog/2005/04/patent_economics_part_5_theori.html

    As an example, the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970 provided patent protection for sexually reproducing plants. In the 1960s, about 150 new plant varieties were developed in the U.S. In the 1970's, after providing patent protection, over 3000 new plant varieties were developed. Truly, patents provide the seeds for innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  237.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 7:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    You made a point, and then ignored it. The paper you provided earlier specifically noted that without patents perfect competition is where business drives, which means that profit is at a minimum (driving to zero), but that also reduces innovation since there is less incentive to innovate. Indeed, the incentive is to reduce cost to the exclusion of all other factors.

    Yes, other techniques may be used, but at higher cost, placing those using the other techniques at a disadvantage, providing disincentive for doing anything other than that which has been done.

    Is producing a new product harder if a patent "gets in the way"? Is that the correct question? Perhaps a better question is "How will a substantial investment be recovered in the development of a new product without the existence of a patent?" As pointed out in a couple of studies noted in a post just above, at least 14% of the time it won't, and in some industries more often.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  238.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "since there is less incentive to innovate."

    The paper has not demonstrated that there is less incentive to demonstrate, it has simply stated so. This is what we are disputing. In many respects it actually makes more sense that perfect competition causes more incentive to innovate.

    First of all, first movers have an advantage because it takes a while for the rest of the market to catch up and because it gives them a good reputation (and helps them be ahead of the curve). Secondly, since everyone wants to maximize profits and they have to compete with everyone else that wants to maximize profits the only way they can attain more profits than others is to innovate because then they know that it will give them more profits than everyone else until everyone else catches up. By then, their plan is to have a new good idea to advance. Not to mention that they have the advantage of a good image for innovating. A government sanctioned monopoly has little reason to innovate since no one else can copy him and hence he has little reason to come up with new ideas to keep a profit.

    Granted this is an oversimplification, I think the truth is somewhere inbetween.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  239.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re:

    "That particular study was related to yet another economic benefit of patents."

    I've been asking it for a while now, how can you lose track of it so easily? BTW, it's not necessarily an economic benefit, we know that monopolies redistribute money towards monopolists but it comes at a cost of less aggregate output. The fact that money is being redistributed to monopolists doesn't mean that monopolies are good for society.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  240.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re:

    "As an example, the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970 provided patent protection for sexually reproducing plants. In the 1960s, about 150 new plant varieties were developed in the U.S. In the 1970's, after providing patent protection, over 3000 new plant varieties were developed. Truly, patents provide the seeds for innovation."

    This has actually lead to a lot of problems. I would say that the issue here isn't that there were more varieties after the introduction of patents, it's that no one really cares to keep track of the details of every variety before the introduction. People have been breeding plants with favorable characteristics LONG before the invention of patents, patents have only harmed this situation and made it worse. After patents were introduced then companies simply get patents on existing varieties and sue anyone who has a farm with that variety (or with similarities). Often times farms can't afford a lawsuit (even if they'll win) and so they'll either settle or go out of business. I remember reading about a case in Canada where a farmer who has been selling food from his farm for hundreds of years (ie: his parents, grandparents, etc...) and who has never bought a patented seed got his field contaminated with a patented variety. The supreme court ruled against him, saying it didn't matter how the patented variety got in his farm. It lead to a lot of backlash. There was another case where someone got their farm infected with proprietary crops and he hired someone to remove them. He then sued Monsanto for the damages (the cost of having it removed) and Monsanto told the person that they'll pay on the condition that he does not disclose anything to the public. He refused and the court ruled against Monsanto and he told everyone about this on the Internet. There are many message boards discussing the damage that this is causing society. By force it has reached the point where most seeds sold are proprietary but we didn't need intellectual property sell seeds and select the favorable plants. Many farms who get their crops infected by propriety plants just settle because they don't want to fight lawsuits, it has put many people out of business.

    We can discuss this in more detail if you like (I have been following this for a while too). Here is a report on the damage this is causing.

    http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/CFSMOnsantovsFarmerReport1.13.05.pdf

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  241.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    In the above case Percy Schmeiser didn't have to pay Monsanto damages but he still had to go through the burdensome litigation process. It is often the litigation process that brings farms and such out of business.

    Here is the case.

    http://westernfarmpress.com/news/7-6-04-column-Monsanto/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  242.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re:

    "A study by Edwin Mansfield (I believe this paper is "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, Vol. 32, No. 2. (Feb., 1996). pp. 173-181) concluded that 60% of pharmaceutical inventions and 38% of chemical inventions would not have been developed without patents. Mansfield also concluded that while 86% of all inventions would have been developed without patent protection, the reverse is true as well. 14% of all inventions would not have been developed without patent protection. Furthermore, Mansfield did not study the relative value of the 86% and the 14%."

    Here is the actual study.

    http://www.luinnovation.lu.se/upload/CIRCLE/INN005/Mansfield_Patents_and_Innovation.pdf

    "The information was obtained through interviews
    and correspondence."

    " Thus, the emphasis here is on firms with
    about $25 million or more in sales"

    First of all how are these executives to know that no one else would have invented these products?

    Secondly, while I agree that inventions requiring high fixed costs and low variable costs to develop (and pharmaceuticals are a good example of this) should have a patent for a limited time (no more than seven years) a lot of pharmaceuticals are also funded by tax dollars.

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2001/08/15/drug-war.aspx

    Thirdly, you claim that any study showing patents to be bad is bias and non objective, but to interview executives who likely have a vested interest in the result of such studies isn't bias? Everyone is bias.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  243.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "14% of all inventions would not have been developed without patent protection."

    Even if this is true (and I'm not exactly sure how a couple of interviews with executives from industries/firms that meet specific criteria could reasonably establish this or even know if others won't invent it independently) that means that we are granting monopolies 86 percent of the time where they are not needed. This is a terrible economic inefficiency.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  244.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Here is an example where patents are preventing research from being done.

    http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?t=192541

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ta3 9a5w08w

    This is terrible, if we can't research how something affects our health and the environment then how are we to know the effects?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  245.  
    identicon
    Paul Truda, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 7:12pm

    Software Patents

    Software Patents just add another layer of uncertainty to business. Just because someone claims a patent does not mean that they would be able to defend a challenge. Yet does it pay to argue? Isn't it easier to just pay and avoid any problems? So patents, or claims to patents, are just another form of extortion (in most cases). Further they set into cement a commercial advantage accidentally obtained, like Microsoft DOS and Windows (curse Scully forever). Microsoft is the real winner from patenting software. Microsoft bought DOS and Windows and have criminally sought to gouge money from consumers based on those two simple transactions. Everyone who innovates and adds to the benefits of society is entitled to receive part of the benefit contributed. If Society has paid then all of society benefits. However no-one is entitled to gouge profits from a monopoly position. Monopolies in software based on patents or anything else should be banned. Perhaps you should not be allowed to patent software unless you have arranged for sufficient other suppliers to provide the product in the same way that Intel arranged for AMD to provide alternative computer devices. Something similar has arisen over web browsers. So you can have your patent but you cannot have a monopoly position. It is the monopoly NOT the patent that causes the problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  246.  
    identicon
    Don, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 12:07am

    Re:

    Hosting files on line - not innovative
    Putting Photos in albums - not innovative
    Putting image files in albums - not innovative
    Hosting image files in on line albums - innovative.

    US patent law - priceless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  247.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 8th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re:

    to Techdirt?

    Staff doesn't screen comments here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  248.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 8th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    Mostly pwn fools such as the one sitting in your chair.

    Thanks for making it easy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  249.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 15th, 2009 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: TechDIRT hosting ads for invention promoters.

    And why does TechDIRT allow such ads? They do have the ability to block them.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 - (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  250.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 15th, 2009 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    Every infringer who is brought to justice claims patent abuse.

    Kicking infringing company's tails in a court of law is not abuse. Research in Motion and Microsoft are both good examples of this.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 - (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  251.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Oct 27th, 2009 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "Techdirt also says that it is practically impossible to succeed in shutting down the pirates. And it is ill-advised to criminalize your customers."

    Since they are not customers and many have no intention of being customers then there is nothing to lose by prosecuting them.

    TechDIRT drivel is astounding.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  252.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: how about them apples?

    "nce they are not customers and many have no intention of being customers then there is nothing to lose by prosecuting them."

    Lets assume what you're saying is true, just for the sake of argument. Your argument still fails.

    Many of those who drink water may not be a customer to your company and they may have no intention of being customers. But if you have nothing to lose in prosecuting them then I guess that makes it OK to prosecute them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This