Another Example Of Patents Putting Lives At Risk

from the very-sad dept

This one's a bit old, but I finally got around to reading Joe Mullin's fascinating, but troubling, account which pits a Stanford professor and doctor against a French company, Advanced Biological Laboratories, that claims to own patents on (effectively) using computer data to help doctors make diagnostic decisions. If you want to see the specific patents, they are 6,188,988 and 6,081,786. At issue, is the fact that Dr. Bob Shafer has been working for years (actually, since before either patent was filed) on putting together HIVdb, an exceptionally useful database on HIV details that many researchers rely on to help figure out potential treatments to HIV. Except... of course, ABL claims that it infringes on those patents.

Since Dr. Shafer works for Stanford, ABL threatened Stanford, who brought in some lawyers who pointed out that the patents had very little chance of surviving any sort of review -- but Stanford, apparently anxious to avoid a long, drawn-out or costly lawsuit, agreed to settle the dispute, promising to put a warning note on HIVdb that using the system for commercial purposes might require a license from ABL. Shafer, who didn't know such a settlement was in the works, was quite upset to find out about it -- and refused to put the warning message on the site (eventually he put an edited version, hidden deep within the site, including his own opinion about how silly it was).

Shafer also has hired his own lawyer and is pushing forward to invalidate ABL's patents. He's also been learning more and more about how such patents are all too often used against their stated purpose, and how, rather than encouraging innovation, they're being used to stifle it and (more importantly) to put lives at risk. Shafer and his colleagues are reasonably horrified that Stanford gave in, noting that it only encourages such behavior, and enables ABL and others to pull the same sort of stunt against others.

Given that Shafer refused to live up to the terms of the deal that he had never agreed to in the first place, ABL moved forward and sued Shafer directly, and that case is now ongoing -- even as Shafer hopes to invalidate the patent through the Patent Office itself. The whole thing is yet another story of how patents are being used to stifle innovation -- and sometimes put lives at risk. It's tragic that we've been seeing so many such stories lately. Update: It's been pointed out that some of you might want to look at the great website Shafer has put together, at HarmfulPatents.org if you want to learn more.


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    [censored], Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    Very sad.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:30am

    "yet another story of how patents are being used to stifle innovation"

    Incorrect. It is another story, narrowly selected, that you are attempting to skew to support you personal point of view.

    The reality is that if he was working on this before the patent was request (not just issued, but actually filed) then he has little to worry about and would be able to easily show prior art, end issue.

    I would suspect there is much more to the story than what you are "reporting" here. Example would be what costs did ABL have in researching and developing the original patent item(s), and what would the license fee actually have been.

    If anything, it sounds like the intransigence of the Standford researcher is what might keep this development away from the general public.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:40am

      Re:

      After the patent has been awarded, it's not as simple as just showing prior art. A long legal battle will ensue, whereby Shafer will have to prove to a judge that he's in the right.

      And if you think Shafer's just being stuibborn and refusing to compromise... do you mean that he should pay out money on research he's done himself, just because he happens to be using a database to help diagnose HIV? Or do you think his tool should be barred from commercial use, effectively neutering it as there are approximately zero non-commercial uses for diagnosing HIV?

       

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      Killer_Tofu (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:40am

      Re:

      I think your faith in that company and the patent system makes you look a little naive.

      People have been organizing and collecting data for hundreds of years for various things.
      All of a sudden, just because it relates to a specific medical area, and is electronic, it is deserving of a patent? The patent system is obviously a mess. Just visiting this site decently often, and clicking through to the patents shows that they grant many patents that should never have been granted.

      Their costs in development were probably nothing they wouldn't have done without a patent. Their lawyers simply suggested getting a patent so they could sue any competition or anyone else who wanted to make use of data.



      With regards to this doctor, I give him three cheers for standing up to the corporate bully. Kind of sad to hear how quickly Stanford caved on this one though.

       

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:40am

      Re:

      "The reality is that if he was working on this before the patent was request (not just issued, but actually filed) then he has little to worry about and would be able to easily show prior art, end issue."

      You must be a patent lawyer.

       

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        Spyder, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:35am

        Re: Re:#5

        "You must be a patent lawyer."

        No, he must be living under a rock and/or be an idiot. No one who has any clue what is going on thinks it is as simple as showing he was doing this long before the patent.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:52am

          Re: Re: Re:#5

          It isn't "as simple as showing he was doing this long before the patent", but that is often enough to work with the courts towards an injunction, showing that the patent is likely to be overturned or otherwise restricted. Once you have this sort of injunction, you move forward with the rest of the legal issues, and attempting to kill the patent. That could take years, but good lawyering would pretty much make things work out just fine in the meantime.

          Again,it's the researcher's intransigence that is cause the problem right now.

           

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            ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:#5

            "Again,it's the researcher's intransigence that is cause the problem right now."

            No, the problem the greedy company that acquired a patent that should never have been issued. (This is one of those classic "on the internet" patents that cause so much grief.) The school settled in the hopes of avoiding a court case. The researcher was justifiably outraged that it would ever get to this point and is trying to just get on with this very useful 'database' that he's been working on for frak ever. Now he's sued for his troubles.

            So, the patent and legal systems have already failed at least twice. Blaming the researcher for not going along with the 'settlement' he never signed on to is just feeding the beast. But hey, it keeps the lawyers busy.

            The system is broken, but we keep getting lawyers showing up telling us it works just fine.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:#5

            "That could take years, but good lawyering would pretty much make things work out just fine in the meantime."

            and it COSTS money. Time is money, it's not cheap.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:#5

            "but that is often enough to work with the courts towards an injunction, showing that the patent is likely to be overturned or otherwise restricted."

            "Again,it's the researcher's intransigence that is cause the problem right now."

            So if the researcher doesn't, "work with the courts towards an injunction" then your argument is that he could have because he has "enough" to do so. If he does work for an injunction then he's being intransigent. So it's a lose lose situation for the researcher no matter what.

            "That could take years"

            So you expect someone to spend years of their life and tons of money to defend against a bogus patent? Wow, I wonder who benefits from this (cough cough, lawyers, cough cough).

             

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            DJ, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:14pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:#5

            Intransigence??? The only people who use that word are lawyers. I'll freely admit I have no clue what it means; the context in which you used it doesn't even help.

            If you're trying to make a point, don't use words that are only used amongst a select few. The only thing you prove by doing so is that you are snooty.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:#5

              Awwww...big words make him sad. Next time use words of one or two syllables (which is three). Also, do not use words like refrigerator or hippopotamus, or Mississippi. Using those words proves you are a lawyer, or snooty, or both. In fact, real people say fridge, hippo, and the big M. So stop being snooty and be like real people. And drink beer too. And fart a lot.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 2:05pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:#5

                "wwww...big words make him sad."

                oh, stop arguing with yourself and pretending you're arguing with others.

                 

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            Grae (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:#5

             

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        MikeIP, Jun 29th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

        Re: Re:

        "You must be a patent lawyer."

        You must not be. It really would be easy to initiate an inter partes reexam of these patents.

        Learn a little bit about what you're trying to spout.

         

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      Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:37pm

      Re:

      "The reality is that if he was working on this before the patent was request (not just issued, but actually filed) then he has little to worry about and would be able to easily show prior art, end issue."

      Ummm, no the reality is fsck the patent, he's trying to help cure AIDS!!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 9:47pm

      Re:

      The reality is that if he was working on this before the patent was request (not just issued, but actually filed) then he has little to worry about and would be able to easily show prior art, end issue.

      Hello Little Lying Patent Troll,
      That's a bunch of bull. Merely showing prior art is not nearly enough to end the issue.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    How many stories are there?

    We hear maybe one or two stories a week on Techdirt regarding patent abuse, which then gets translated into "many stories." Assuming there are two stories per week, that means 104 stories per year about how patents stifle innovation, threaten lives, and kill kittens and babies.

    These stories usually mention only one or two patents. Let us be generous and say that the 104 stories mention two patents each, or 208 patents per year.

    Question: If 208 patents out of 1.5-2.0 million patents in force are killing kittens and babies, what about the other 1.5-2.0 million patents? Can we assume that lack of complaints about those 1.5-2.0 million patents means that they are expanding knowledge and encouraging further innovation? If that is so, then do we focus on the two hundred patents abused each year or the million patents that are doing what they are supposed to be doing? Even including all patent court cases, we are talking about perhaps 2800 patents in a year, which is somewhere around .2% of all patents still in force.

    I think we should be thrilled that 99.8% of all patents encourage innovation and are properly used. I doubt the ratio of economically important or valuable venture capital investments to all venture capital investments is substantially less (as one comparison).

     

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      Ryan, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:09am

      Re: How many stories are there?

      We hear maybe one or two stories a week on Techdirt regarding patent abuse, which then gets translated into "many stories." Assuming there are two stories per week, that means 104 stories per year about how patents stifle innovation, threaten lives, and kill kittens and babies.

      I'm sure Mike is flattered that you believe that every single bad patent is mentioned on techdirt, but if you actually believe so...

      Can we assume that lack of complaints about those 1.5-2.0 million patents means that they are expanding knowledge and encouraging further innovation?

      Uhh, no...

      I think we should be thrilled that 99.8% of all patents encourage innovation and are properly used. I doubt the ratio of economically important or valuable venture capital investments to all venture capital investments is substantially less (as one comparison).

      It is funny to watch how a common retard reaches a completely baseless conclusion on the premises of false assumptions that he pulled out of his ass.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re: How many stories are there?

        "I'm sure Mike is flattered that you believe that every single bad patent is mentioned on techdirt, but if you actually believe so..."

        Not to mention that Mike also spends time talking about other issues (remember, there are only 24 hours a day and it takes time to talk about all this stuff) and I'm sure he has other things to do. It's most likely a simple case of he doesn't have enough time to mention millions of patents on his blog and people don't have the time to read about every single bad patent that exists. Give me a break.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

          The complete and utter lack of common sense that these pro patent people demonstrate makes me lack faith in anything they say and it makes me lack faith in the patent system altogether.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:38pm

        Re: Re: How many stories are there?

        "I'm sure Mike is flattered that you believe that every single bad patent is mentioned on techdirt, but if you actually believe so..."

        Better yet, lets make this easier. Why doesn't he come up with examples of GOOD patents and we can discuss them here. Since he claims that so many patents are good I'm sure he can easily give examples.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

          We can come up with many examples of bad patents but he claims that most patents are good. So now it's his turn, come up with examples of good patents. Lets see how many he can come up with.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

            How about the patents for the diesel fuel injector? These patents were filed about 40 years after the invention of the diesel engine.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

            The patent for the diesel air brake, that some people call the air brake.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

            Holy cow...how big is this database to be able to list the tens of thousands of patents that have advanced our knowledge.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

            How about the patent for the wheel? If it weren't for patents, no one would've invented that and we'd be without wheels today.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:44am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

              The wheel was invented long before patents existed. It only took 1,000 years to come up with it. Now, had there been patents then, it might have been invented in a decade or two.

               

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                Weird Harold (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:24pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                "The wheel was invented long before patents existed. It only took 1,000 years to come up with it. Now, had there been patents then, it might have been invented in a decade or two."

                If that long! Another example: The only reason we don't have perpetual motion machines giving us unlimited free energy today is because the patent office won't issue patents for them. When they change their minds someday, all our energy problems will be solved. Of course, that will never happen if the patent haters have their way. They're the real ones holding up progress.

                 

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

          How about the patent for the steadicam?

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:33pm

        Re: Re: How many stories are there?

        It is funny to watch how a common retard reaches a completely baseless conclusion on the premises of false assumptions that he pulled out of his ass.

        No less baseless than to conclude from a few anecdotal example that the patent system in general is bad.

        It is also a testament to your logic and intellect that not only did you not bring a single fact to this discussion, but you had to resort to name-calling. Sad. Very sad.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:10am

      Re: How many stories are there?

      "Question: If 208 patents out of 1.5-2.0 million patents in force are killing kittens and babies, what about the other 1.5-2.0 million patents?"

      Your statement is making the assumption that the 208 patents per year are the only crappy patents in the super set of all patents. If you were to take the 208 crappy patents per year that Mike reports on in his posts as a representative set of crappy patents that Mike finds in the total number of patents he logically has time to review and report on, then your valid to crappy patent ratio will probably look a bit different.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:38pm

        Re: Re: How many stories are there?

        Mike posts 30 to 50 articles per week. I think it is safe to assume that if he found more articles about patent abuse that he would post them.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

          Mike posts 30 to 50 articles per week. I think it is safe to assume that if he found more articles about patent abuse that he would post them.

          I think it is safe to assume that Mike posts about what he wants to, not what you think he should.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:43am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

            Also a good excuse for explaining away why anyone is able to come up with more than a few "bad" patents.

             

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      Rebel Freek (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:30am

      Re: How many stories are there?

      Ok, so we are supposed to just ignore the negatives in light of the positives just because they are so few? I dont think that is an acceptable answer to this. I have worked with emergency services for a while and even if we have a 95% success rate on a call, we go back and try to fix what went wrong with the other 5%

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:43am

      Re: How many stories are there?

      "We hear maybe one or two stories a week on Techdirt regarding patent abuse, which then gets translated into "many stories.""

      The fact that we hear one or two doesn't mean that those are the only one or two that exist. You can't honestly expect Mike to be able to keep up with EVERY such story. Not to mention there are studies (though you would arbitrarily label them non objective simply because they disagree with you) that have shown patents to harm innovation.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:49am

        Re: Re: How many stories are there?

        and many people here have even worked for corporates where they get patents simply to defend themselves against others who sue for patent infringement (so they can counter sue). This does nothing to advance innovation, just to increase cost (which harms innovation). Of course this doesn't really make it on the corrupt mainstream media.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

          If you file for a patent and submit all the information required to enable the patent, and then get the patent issued, how does that not advance innovation? That information would now be accessible to everyone for future use, would it not? Even if they could not use that information immediately or directly, it would give someone ideas for other inventions that might be even more useful. Fundamentally, you are saying knowledge has no value to innovation.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

            "Even if they could not use that information immediately or directly, it would give someone ideas for other inventions that might be even more useful."

            No, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is we don't need you to patent an idea for others to advance it.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

              IOW, you aren't the only one who would think of the ideas, others do independently think of similar ideas without your help (and without patents).

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:49pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                However, we also know that tens of thousands of devices were never considered and likely would never have been considered until they first appeared in a patent...perhaps millions of devices.

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:50pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

              Kind of hard for others to advance an invention if they never hear of it in the first place.

               

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                Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:06pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                Exactly, and if it doesn't get patented, then all other channels of communication automatically get shut down.

                 

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 2:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

            and seriously, how many people or companies look to existing patents to come up with ideas to advance? Few, they only look to patents to find ways around them. Even when a patent expires, that just means they can now advance an idea they would have advanced a long time ago had the patent never existed.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:39pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

              Based on my personal experience with a dozen or so companies? A dozen or so, which is 100% of all the companies I have had a relationship with.

              I read a really good story about the steadicam this week, and how it revolutionized film making a hundred years after movies were first invented (a brilliant series of patents covering an array of different film-making approaches). The invention was so non-obvious that a number of attempts were made to steal the design before the patents issued. So, tell me again how all these ideas would have advanced even though no one else came up with them until a single inventor did?

               

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                Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:52pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                Yes, and thank goody-goodness for patents or he NEVER would have thought of it!!!

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                  Certainly the other people trying to copy it would not have thought of it...or the people spiking all sorts of "improvements" around it would never have though of it.

                   

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                    Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:09pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    No real answer for the fact that the one guy who was irked about his jittery films and had a clue how to fix it would have invented a steadicam with or without patents.

                    Necessity is the mother of invention, patents are the bastard stepchildren of only having one good invention in you.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:20pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                      Yeah, you got it. Of course, filmmakers were annoyed by jittery films for 100 years before the steadicam was invented, and then all the losers who did not know how to solve the problem tried to steal the inventor's design.

                      Then that same inventor turned around and developed other inventions.

                      One good patent begets another. Interesting that some people have dozens of patents, and others have only one or two. Some people seem to be gifted with an inventive mind. Others seem to be gifted with a chip on their shoulder because they are not inventors.

                      Stealing the design for inventions is the bastard stepchild of a non-creative mind.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:19pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                        ...the losers who did not know how to solve the problem tried to steal the inventor's design.

                        Copying is not "stealing". What a lying turd you are.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:42am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                          lol...No one said they tried to "copy" the design, they literally tried to steal it.

                          Nice name-calling. You make anti-IP people look articulate and intelligent.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                            lol...No one said they tried to "copy" the design, they literally tried to steal it.

                            Patents (as what were being discussed) don't address theft, that's what theft laws do. They are gov't granted monopolies to keep things from being copied. So there you go lying again, turd.

                            Nice name-calling. You make anti-IP people look articulate and intelligent.

                            Just calling a lying turd a lying turd. Thanks for proving how right I was.

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:10pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                              *sigh* You really have comprehension problems, don't you. Let me explain again, in itty bitty words so you can comprehend.

                              Man invents steadicam.

                              Man files patent application on steadicam.

                              Person breaks into man's car, intent on stealing prototype of steadicam.

                              THEFT!!! Not patent infringement. God. Learn how to read.

                              Your name calling has taken all your brain power.

                               

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                                Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:08pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                                Person breaks into man's car, intent on stealing prototype of steadicam.

                                Which, I point out to you again, has nothing to do with patents or patent law. Such an act is covered by criminal theft laws instead.

                                God. Learn how to read.

                                I know you think you're real smart and all, but I bet he already knows.

                                 

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                                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 9:56am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                                  If it has nothing to do with patents, then why did you say it did? I have been talking about theft of the man's design (and the easiest way to steal the design is either steal a set of drawings, which apparently were in too secure of a location, though my understanding is that they tried to steal those as well, or steal a working prototype), and you keep wanting to say you can't steal intellectual property. Clearly, you are one confused individual.

                                  Remember how this conversation started. You said that the Steadicam would have been invented anyway. I said that if it was so obvious, then why did someone try to steal the design - MULTIPLE FREAKING TIMES? How obvious is it to steal something that does not belong to you? The crooks could have waited until the patent issued, but no, these people knew it was one of the great inventions in film-making, up there with color film and movable cameras. It only took 100 years for the invention to arrive (you know, one of those highly obvious inventions that were invented by multiple people...oops...no...no one else could come up with it until that inventored did, and then everyone COPIED him, so scratch that last).

                                   

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                        "...all the losers who did not know how to solve the problem tried to steal the inventor's design."

                        All of them, huh? Wow, I didn't know that. I guess that would make just about everyone in the world except for that one guy and attempted thief. I wonder how he feels being the only non-thief in the world.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 5:21pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                          Holy cow!!! You mean that EVERYONE in world was trying to figure out how to make a STEADICAM? Amazing - I must have known every person that was NOT trying to make a Steadicam, since not one person I knew was trying to do so.

                          On the other hand, I suspect that the few people that became aware of the Steadicam's existence prior to issuance of the patent and recognized what it would do for film making were quite motivated to figure it out, even if "figuring it out" meant breaking multiple laws - which seems like an attribute of a loser.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:13pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                            Holy cow!!! You mean that EVERYONE in world was trying to figure out how to make a STEADICAM?

                            Well, it was claimed that only one person knew how and that everyone else was trying to "steal" it from him. Yeah, it's a ridiculous claim and an obvious bald face lie, but that's the steadicam troll for ya. He just seems to avoid truth at all costs.

                             

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:16pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    Except often it's the case where they independently came up with it and then they get sued by someone else who just so happened to coincidentally have a patent on the idea. Every possible idea that anyone can think of is patented, it's gotten so bad that patent attorneys would tell people NOT to do a patent search on an idea they independently came up with because chances are that someone else came up with it (since just about every idea is patented) and if one intentionally advances a patented idea it's even worse.

                     

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:18pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                "no one else came up with them until a single inventor did?"

                The fact that no one else came up with an idea until a single inventor did doesn't mean much. No one came up with the idea that 2 + 2 = 4 until a single "inventor" did.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:22pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                  Well, it only means much when you realize that NO ONE ELSE could come up with it.

                  On the other hand, math took millenia to develop and the efforts of dozens of people. The steadicam took several years and a lot of experimentation. I think that means a lot.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:50pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    "On the other hand, math took millenia to develop and the efforts of dozens of people."

                    and Zero patents.

                     

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              Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

              "how many people or companies look to existing patents to come up with ideas to advance?"

              That would be sort of like looking in alphabet soup for a line from Shakespeare. THAT'S why people ought to be able to look at solutions that have been proven successful to build upon without having to look over their shoulder.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:17pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                Gee, I would have thought it would be more like looking in the encyclopedia for what has been done before. I know that several companies exploring nanofibers began by building on patents that date back nearly 100 years ago. Good for them.

                 

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                  Weird Harold (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:29pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                  I know that several companies exploring nanofibers began by building on patents that date back nearly 100 years ago. Good for them.

                  Theives!

                   

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            Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

            NO, fundamentally he's saying that knowledge has no value without application and implementation.

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:49pm

        Re: Re: How many stories are there?

        Would you care to point out an objective study that shows that patents have been a net harm to innovation, meaning that the advantages and disadvantages of patents have been analyzed and a net advantage or disadvantage has been calculated?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

          "Would you care to point out an objective study"

          You mean your subjective opinion of what constitutes an objective study.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

          "an objective study"

          You mean your subjective opinion of what constitutes an objective study.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

            I think he meant, "an objective study." I notice you have yet to propose one. Does that mean you know of none that would even have a hope of being considered objective?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

              "considered objective?"

              Considered objective by whom, him? Seriously, with the complete lack of common sense that you pro patent people demonstrate (ie: expecting mike to be able to post every possible patented idea and all the other stuff I've pointed out that lacked common sense in other posts) I have very little reason to believe that he is able to determine what constitutes an objective study (other than a study that agrees with him).

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:33pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                (or rather, expecting him to post every bad patent)

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:23pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                I think the question was: May we see an objective study that has balanced the advantages and disadvantages of patents to come up with a net positive or negative value. That seems like a reasonable request.

                 

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                  Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:22pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                  I think the question was: May we see an objective study that has balanced the advantages and disadvantages of patents to come up with a net positive or negative value. That seems like a reasonable request.

                  Bessen/Meurer did so. Their research showed a net negative impact of patents in every industry other than pharma.

                  Boldrin/Levine have done research in these areas as well.

                  Eric Schiff's research was slightly different, but did show rapid industrialization without patents.

                  Petra Moser's research (lots of it) have showed innovation continues in the absence of patents, and how patents often have a distortionary effect on innovation (whether that distortion is good or bad) is a separate issue.

                  Bessen & Hunt's study on patents in the software industry...

                  Lerner's research on patent systems that are strengthened shows their impact on innovation.

                  Gord and Klepper show how most innovation takes place when there are fewer patents, and that as patenting becomes more standard, the rate of innovation declines (oops).

                  Meloso, Copic and Bossaerts showed how patents lead to inefficient solutions.

                  There's plenty of research on these things...

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:31pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    "Bessen/Meurer did so. Their research showed a net negative impact of patents in every industry other than pharma."

                    But those studies aren't objective because they disagree with him.

                    As far as pharma, I do think that where development requires high fixed costs and low variable costs patents for short periods of time (no more than 7 years) are warranted. 20 years is much too long and our current patent system is causing more harm than good.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:01pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                      I consider the Bessen/Meurer research fairly objective. You should not put words in my mouth.

                      Pharmaceutical patents virtually never last for "20 years." You have no idea what you are talking about.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:07pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                        "Pharmaceutical patents virtually never last for "20 years." You have no idea what you are talking about."

                        I was referring to patents in general and yes, pharmaceutical patents do last 20 years (from the date of filing). In effect it maybe less though, and I never said otherwise. I do know what I'm talking about.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                          Then you should not say "they last for 20 years." The average effective life of a pharmaceutical patent is 14 years or less, which includes all extensions available to a patent holder.

                          Further more, even in the industries where patent prosecution is speedy, the date of issuance is at best 2 or 3 years after filing, which means the patent "lasts" roughly 17 or 18 years, not 20.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:27pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                            I suppose it depends on your reference point of when the patent began. I say 20 years because the time that it's actually in effect varies from situation to situation and I assume that most readers here already know this.

                             

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:55pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    Mike:

                    I have read many of these studies (only a little by Petra Moser, however). I find it interesting that several of these studies have found positive aspect to patents (actually, I have to exclude a couple of your lower cites - I have yet to read those). Even Petra Moser noted some positive effects to patents. Yes, patents caused "distortions," but "distortion" can have a positive societal effect and a negative societal effect.

                    The Bessen/Meurer study was reasonably objective. The Petra Moser studies also seem to have some objectivity. The Boldrin and Levine book is absolutely biased to the extreme.

                    I think the Bessen and Hunt study was accurate, and mirrors numerous other studies on the software industry (all of which show that software is not aided in the least by patents - case submitted and won, hand down).

                    However, even with your cites ("Meloso, Copic and Bossaerts showed how patents lead to inefficient solutions") that does not mean that a non-patent solution will necessarily be any more efficient, or worse, that a needed solution will occur without patents.

                    I find it disturbing that many of the studies that attempt to be objective end up being highly academic and too focused on a "pure" solution that only notes a "distortion" or "effect" without noting whether society has received a net benefit from the "distortion" or "effect."

                    Objectively speaking, we should be living in caves and have a population in millions rather than 6 billion plus because we are significantly "distorting" the ecology of the planet. However, we have chosen to overpopulate the planet and are working within the distortions we are causing rather than doing the "pure" thing and killing off more than 5 billion people to eliminate the "distortions." Given the proven benefits to patents, rather than throwing out the baby with the bath water we should strive to restore balance to the system, which we are in fact trying to do.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:09pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                      Mike doesn't want balance - he wants to toss it all out of the window because nothing in patent, copyright, or trademark law suits his world view. It isn't about trying to fix things, it is all about killing it.

                      From everything you will see posted here, Mike has this view that these things are in the way, blocking the progress of mankind. Somehow, by making it possible for everyone to duplicate everyone else's efforts without R&D costs, we are suddenly suppose to go rushing forward.

                      Much like some of the other supporters of "FREE!" as a concept, Mike fails to look past the initial (potentially positive) impacts of removing copyright and patent law. Yes, for a short period of time we might see massive improvements in the amount of derivative products and services, but in the end, the money to develop the NEXT great thing is gone, nobody will be willing to take the risks without some hope of return, and the advancements will be left only to the scientic and the bored.

                      It would be the moment, example, that Moore's Law would finally be broken - without development, progress on computing would likely stop at or around it's current levels.

                      It's one of the reasons why I tend to laugh at most of what is posted here. The stories and points of view are extremely short term. There is often a weird mix of fratboy nose tweeking combined with scholarly approach which is disconnected from the reality of day to day business and life.

                       

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:57pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    Do you have links to the Gord & Klepper paper?

                     

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:12pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    I had to recall the Petra Moser paper. That was an outstanding paper with interesting conclusions. Moser noted that countries without patents focused on fewer industries where secrecy was more valuable. In comparison, countries with a patent system tended to be more diversified in their innovation.

                    Moser also believes that the strong U.S. patent system was the driver for U.S. investment in manufacturing industries in the 19th century (i.e., the patent system increased innovation in these industries and ultimately became a huge economic driver for this country).

                    Another interesting conclusion from Moser was that uniform patent laws across all countries is likely not in the best interest of diversification, and underdeveloped countries gain less benefit from a strong patent system.

                    Moser's paper is quite well done.

                     

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                    Weird Harold (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:35pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    More lies!

                    You know how to spot a bad patent study? If it says that patents ever have a negative impact, then it's a bad study!

                     

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                    MikeIP, Jun 29th, 2009 @ 2:38pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    Well then because a bunch of researchers say so, let's just close up the patent office. While we're at it, we should probably shut down the MBA factories because neither do they serve any useful purposes. You have shown time and again that you haven't the faintest clue about the whats, why, hows, and whens of the patent system. You blindly accept any and all opinions of others that are anti-patent because they meet your blind feeling of dislike for the system. Until you're a member of the patent bar, and have shown actual knowledge of the system, your opinions and research carry no weight.

                     

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

              Especially considering that when I do start questioning even the studies you point out (the ones here http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090601/0007575076.shtml ) you're answer is that you're not familiar with one of them (so I'm supposed to trust your interpretation of what constitutes an objective study), you take another study out of context to support your claim (the study actually opposed patents and a pro patent person presented it but he apparently was too unaware of the study to know that it was a pro patent study or to even know the proper context of what he was quoting), and you point to another study that doesn't even answer the question I asked (about whether you can demonstrate that the ideas would have advanced without patents).

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:25pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                You stated:

                ...you point to another study that doesn't even answer the question I asked (about whether you can demonstrate that the ideas would have advanced without patents).

                I think you got it correct. It is difficult to demonstrate that many ideas would have progressed without patents. Some certainly would have. It might have taken decades, or in a few cases, centuries, but some might never have been advanced without patents.

                Great observation!

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:09pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                  would not have advanced without patents * You know what I meant.

                   

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:26pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                lol...Math is not patentable by law.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:13pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                  good.

                   

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                  Weird Harold (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:41pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                  lol...Math is not patentable by law.

                  It should be! Why should someone be able to steal someone else's math from them? That just isn't right! If I discover that 2+3=5, then why should someone else be able to come along and just copy (steal) that?

                   

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:28pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                Wait a moment. As has been supported through several independent, objective studies, most drugs would not have been developed without patents, and the remaining might not have been developed as quickly as they were developed. Which is worse, being unable to pay for a drug that exists, or not having the drug at all? If, according to objective studies, the drugs existed only because patents were available, though some people may have been unable to afford the drugs, some number of people were still helped by them. Was there a net gain to society with the drug or not?

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:11pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                  "If, according to objective studies"

                  So you label studies that agree with you objective and you label studies that disagree with you non - objective. Great logic. One of the studies was based on surveys of a specific group of people who likely have a vested interest in the outcome. You call that more objective than the studies that make patents look bad?

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:36pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    Let me ask you this question, then. If the people in the survey had a vested interest in the outcome - which I grant you that they did - why did the people in the electronics industry and the software industry state that little or no inventions happened because of patents, those in the pharmaceutical industry said 60% happened because of patents, 30%+ in the chemical industry, and roughly 20% in the mechanical arts? Why not 100% on pharmaceutical? Why not 50% in mechanical? If they had a vested interest, you would have thought they would have weighted the scale more dramatically.

                    Fundamentally, I find this study compelling because it presents an array of viewpoints, from zero value to patents to extensive value to patents. I would have anticipated a signficantly biased result to be more like Boldrin and Levine's paper (no benefit to patents at all with the possible, and I must emphasize possible, exception of pharmaceutical - no bias there), or pharmaceutical industry studies that show that the world would come to a halt without patents.

                    In answer to your question, a result that is somewhere in the middle seems more objective to me than a result that either claims all patents lead to a negative outcome or all patents lead to a positive outcome. I find neither credible nor well supported.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:48pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                      "In answer to your question, a result that is somewhere in the middle seems more objective to me than a result that either claims all patents lead to a negative outcome or all patents lead to a positive outcome."

                      I don't really think that we should determine the results of our research before even conducting the research.

                      "Let me ask you this question, then. If the people in the survey had a vested interest in the outcome - which I grant you that they did - why did the people in the electronics industry and the software industry state that little or no inventions happened because of patents..."

                      I'm not trying to discredit the research you present (even your own research seems to suggest that patents aren't all that beneficial to society, but we must also consider the costs to society as well), just pointing out that there is no reason to believe that the research you present is any more valid or less bias or less objective than research that disagrees with you. All researchers have bias including the ones that agree with you.

                      and I do agree that the answer is somewhere in between, some patents are good but it's our current broken patent system that causes more harm than good.

                       

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                    Let's see, you said that without any real support. However, beer companies spend more on advertising than they do on R&D. Cars companies spend more on advertising than they do engineering. What is your point? A pharmaceutical company is a business just like any other business.

                    As for "many drugs" being tax funded, I have no idea the percentage and in any case, the patents for those must be owned by the government then, presuming it was a non-profit or a government agency that invented the drug, and inventorship must be properly attributed, by law.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:02pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                      "Let's see, you said that without any real support. "

                      http://tech.mit.edu/V123/N41/shef_colum.41c.html
                      http://www.actupny.org/reports/drugcosts.html

                      "As for "many drugs" being tax funded, I have no idea the percentage and in any case, the patents for those must be owned by the government then, presuming it was a non-profit or a government agency that invented the drug, and inventorship must be properly attributed, by law."

                      No, they are owned by the pharmaceutical corporations.

                      http://www.mercola.com/2001/aug/15/drug_war.htm

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:30pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                        Based on the web site you linked to, the government provides 42% of all R&D spending for medical research. Now, assuming that the government supports broad areas of research, i.e., more than just drugs, that means that only a portion of that 42% goes to pharm research.

                        In fact, the only drug I saw mentioned in your link was Taxol. One drug? Hmmmmm...

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:45pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                          "Based on the web site you linked to, the government provides 42% of all R&D spending for medical research. Now, assuming that the government supports broad areas of research, i.e., more than just drugs, that means that only a portion of that 42% goes to pharm research."

                          A: it's a large portion and

                          B: They support a large portion of research on drugs.

                          "The Taxpayer Assets Project also studied the funding of all cancer drugs that were discovered since the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) new drug program began in 1955 and approved for marketing by the FDA through 1992. Of the 37 cancer drugs, 92 percent, or 34 cancer drugs, were developed with federal funding. "

                          Read what the study says

                          "The federal government funds about 42 percent of all US health care research and development (R&D) expenditures, including a significant portion of R&D costs for new drugs."

                          The emphasis is on drugs here. That is, a higher percentage is on drugs.

                          It's hypothetically possible to fund 42 percent of all US health care R&D AND to find 90 percent of drug R&D at the same time (drug R&D being an aspect of health care R&D). That just means that a lower percentage of funding goes to other health care R&D (ie: if they funded 10 percent of other health care R&D or whatever).

                          They fund 42 percent of all health care R&D with an EMPHASIS on drug R&D, in other words, the percentage of drug R&D is greater than 42 percent.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:46am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                            Okay, now show where some sort of audit has shown that the emphasis is drug research and what percentage that emphasis makes up with respect to drug industry R&D. Since those figures just rolled right off your tongue that should be a piece of cake.

                             

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:48am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

                            Cool, 92 percent of cancer drugs were developed with government funding. How many are patented, and who holds the patents?

                            Incidentally, the Taxol patent was obtained by the government.

                             

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:54am

      Re: How many stories are there?

      "I think we should be thrilled that 99.8% of all patents encourage innovation and are properly used."

      Last I remember the majority of patents don't even become successful products (ie: was it like 90 percent or something? At least according to all of those pro patent people that have been around techdirt). That's a huge failure rate, that means that 90 percent of the time patents potentially serve to prevent others from advancing an idea that the patent holder couldn't advance. Seriously, the fact that you can make up bogus statistics doesn't help your position.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:42pm

        Re: Re: How many stories are there?

        I think that was the number of patents that were not useful while the patents were still in force. Many of those patents (such as the cell phone patents and much of the technology that was eventually put into televisions) are useful years (and in some cases decades) after the patents expire.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

          Exactly, the ideas are obvious and good and they would advance without patents but patents only harm innovation.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:42pm

        Re: Re: How many stories are there?

        What bogus statistic? Is the statistic any more bogus than implying that a couple of hundred examples extrapolates to a bad system? Now THERE is a bogus statistic.

         

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          Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: How many stories are there?

          "Is the statistic any more bogus than implying that a couple of hundred examples extrapolates to a bad system? Now THERE is a bogus statistic."

          Now THERE is a diversionary tactic.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:57am

      Re: How many stories are there?

      "Can we assume that lack of complaints about those 1.5-2.0 million patents means that they are expanding knowledge and encouraging further innovation?"

      No, it could mean that there are so many stupid patents that we simply can't keep up with them all.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:47pm

        Re: Re: How many stories are there?

        Or it means that they are perfectly fine. Obviously with the number of anti-patent sites around there is plenty of room to talk about patent abuse, and yet they mostly talk about the same few patents.

        Forrest Gump: Stupid is as stupid does.

         

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      Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:39pm

      Re: How many stories are there?

      "I think we should be thrilled that 99.8% of all patents encourage innovation and are properly used."

      I think I need to go change my pants.

       

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    mike, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    astroturf!

    Does it seem like the post june 11th 10.30am is just a piece of astroturfing to anyone else?

    It doesnt matter what the costs/time taken for ABL to file this bogus and completely fictious patent are.

    If I had my way, ANYONE filing a fake patent would have ALL patents instantly rescinded and would pay a fine of least 100x whatever they tried to steal (and yes ABL execs it IS stealing to try to claim money you aren't owed by basically lying to the patent office)...and if such companies go out of business...TOUGH NOOGIES....the world doesn't need companies like ABL who don't care about progress and will quite happily see people die in agony so they can make a quick buck....

     

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    mike, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:02am

    hmm

    Between my post 11th June 10.56am and the post i commented on at 10.30am there were a number of other posts in a similiar vein...I wonder if techdirt would mind posting in the comments which IP addresses these came from? (perhaps with a list of known AB IP addresses?)...because the basic theme of these additional posts seems to be "oh well its only a few patents that cause people to die therefore we should just sit back and let ABL and other companies abuse and manipulate the patent system and who cares if a few thousand people suffer?"....It doesn't matter if ONE SINGLE PERSON suffers unfairly....NO COPORATION is worth the life or liberty or rights of a single human being, and any company that thinks it is should be destroyed forthwith to protect humanity.

     

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      Ryan, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:14am

      Re: hmm

      It doesn't matter if ONE SINGLE PERSON suffers unfairly....NO COPORATION is worth the life or liberty or rights of a single human being, and any company that thinks it is should be destroyed forthwith to protect humanity.

      Uhh...what are corporations made up of, cats and dogs? Corporations are owned by people, invested in by people, employ people, and conduct mutually beneficial business with people. What is the deal with your anti-corporate rant? "Regular" people commit murder, rape, and patent abuse everyday, just as ABL. Why don't you hedge on the patent system instead of randomly venting on tangents?

       

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      A Dan, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:18am

      Re: hmm

      I doubt that will happen. That would not be respecting the privacy of anonymous commenters, something that is frowned upon here.

       

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    AnonCow, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:05am

    I have a patent on surrendering immediately when faced with any type of invasion threat, the French owe me BILLIONS!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:11am

    Where can I donate.

    I put up a couple bucks to help Monster Golf in their defense, I'll be glad to throw some coins at this guy as well (not Stanford, they have enough money and maybe I can pay them if my kids go there).
    Being a physician and amateur programmer, I am on the doctors side obviously.

    Would the companies view change if one of their family members needed to benefit from this data?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

      Re: Where can I donate.

      "Being a physician and amateur programmer"

      One of the problems with this nation is that it's ran by politicians, lawyers, and lobbyists and not economists, scientists/engineers, and doctors. We should avoid leaving it to politicians, lawyers, and lobbyists to do anything to help innovation, they will only pass laws that make things worse.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:19am

    Name one single person who had their health put at risk? Just one? Can you do it?

    So Stanford agreed to put a warning label out that said by using it someone "might" be put at risk for a lawsuit translates out to putting someone's health at risk?

    Who, name someone who died or got sicker because of this. Isn't this just your "do it for the children" cry that you so make fun of?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:25am

      Re:

      Every time a patent is abused, a baby kitten dies and baby jesus cries.

      That and Mike gets another story where he can show that 0.0001% of all patents are bad, thus the system is defective.

       

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        mechwarrior, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re:

        Astroturf much? Even patent lawyers know how screwed up the system is. Only patent trolllobbyists would say otherwise.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          lol...Even mechwarrior knows that this comment is screwed up and brings no value to the discussion. Only Techdirttrolls would say otherwise.

           

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      Shawn (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:27am

      Re:

      Frank Johanson

       

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      jjmsan (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:30am

      Re:

      If I name one person does that make it wrong? How about 2. The point is essentially this was a patent granted for something that you can type using an excel spread sheet or for that matter a typewriter and telephone. It should not have been granted and Stanford should not have given in.

       

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      angry dude, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      "...someone "might" be put at risk for a lawsuit translates out to putting someone's health at risk?"

      yeah, that's Mikey's logic which he peddles to the rest of mindless techdirt lemming-punks here

      Same as peddling the nonsense that "software patents" and business method patents are the same thing

      lemming-punks will eat anything

       

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        Rebel Freek (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:47am

        Re: Re:

        But obviously you come here and read the blog? Why go around flaming and actually give a good flame, perhaps detailing your arguments better or actually using some common sense...

        Oh and you realize lemmings don't really go and jump off a cliff to their deathsbecause they were following the group, right? That was all a charade put on by the person filming that to try and make the Disney movie look good...

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I also read the Onion for the humor. Techdirt isn't much different at times, except that Mike is so serious about it.

           

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        Derrick Hinkle, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re:

        Your conclusion has no logical support, you have no argument, and your typing was nothing more then a baseless opinion worth nothing. Please STFU and Get off my Internet.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re:

        lemmingpunk? Is that like Cyberpunk? A dystopian world where people interface with lemmings and get lemming part body-modifications?

         

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        Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:49pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm sorry, I own the patent, copyright and trademark on SimsLemmings. You now owe me $150,000.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

        Re: Re:

        Hey angry dude,
        Are you still in that Federal institution?

         

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    reaperman0, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:31am

    I looked at the patents...

    and can say that they literally describe a fuckin' database and program to pull info from the database when queried for specific disease treatments. Input patient data, compare to other available data, display results so doctor can choose appropriate treatment plan. Thats it. The diagrams are networking diagrams showing how a DB can be remotely located and accessed through the 'magic' of the intarwebs. What a novel concept. Definitely worthy of these two patents and surely several more.

    /sarcasm

    In all seriousness though, I'm no doctor, but I am pretty sure that the medical community has been doing this FOREVER but using charts, and paper instead!!! How else can you diagnose and treat patients?

     

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    Logo, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:42am

    More than anything I'm angry that this kind of stuff can be patented to begin with. Seriously the one I read (6,188,988) is basically just saying "Use Computer to get treatment regiment." Data Goes in, combined with pre-existed data, and out comes treatment regiment. That's an obvious 'process' to any self respecting programmer.

    As bad as the patent laws/abuse is the biggest abuse in my opinion is that patents like this are accepted at all.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:02pm

    You want to know why the patent system is bad? Just look at how it works. Let's say you're going to design something, and you're worried about whether or not there might be patents that cover what you're going to design. So you head over to the patent attorney's office and ask him what to do. The first thing he's going to tell you is "do not look at any patents." Because, of course, willful infringement means three times the damages.

    But let's say you accidently do look at some patents and realize that your device is going to infringe on one. What do you do? You change your device so that it doesn't infringe. It may make it worse, but considering how much patent holders often require you to pay means your device will be unprofitable.

    Then there are the other tricks that companies use. Let's say you come up with a useful device and you want to extend that device. But some other company now owns patents for every single possible extension of your device. Sure they don't use any of the patents, but that's not the point of them. The point is to run your company into the ground by not allowing you to expand your market.

    Or there's what Macrovision does. They come up with a method of copy protection, and then they patent every possible method of bypassing that copy protection. They don't license out those patents because once again, that's not the point of them.

     

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      Weird Harold (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:53pm

      Re:

      Or there's what Macrovision does. They come up with a method of copy protection, and then they patent every possible method of bypassing that copy protection. They don't license out those patents because once again, that's not the point of them.

      Hey, it's a free market, you can get those patents if you want them. All you have to do is buy the company!

       

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    Nemesis, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

    Eliza

    This computer method is really not much more than a multi-level ELIZA (psychotherapy) program that has been around since the 70's. ELIZA made responses using a decision tree based on an individual's input and sometimes just fed back a question based on the input when it had no response in an attempt to elicit more information. The process is basically the same as the current issue---define parameters, search DB based on those parameters, give back info or no info available. (Wait a minute!! Isn't that what we do with ALL DBS??) The data in the database may be subject to copyright, but a patent? Hardly.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    Angry Dude, you should totally trademark "mindless Techdirt lemming-punks."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    I find it interesting that you cannot refute an actual argument about patents, because instead you decry the fallacy of appealing to emotions. Seriously, access to patents, copyrights and trademarks are not rights guaranteed in the constitution. I guess we should rewrite that too, because it doesn't entitle brats to stuff they didn't work for. All of you corporation hating activists should read a little Edmund Burke.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      "because it doesn't entitle brats to stuff they didn't work for."

      You mean when patent trolls file for a bunch of patents on ideas they don't work for and then they end up suing entities that do work to advance ideas (as in the OP?).

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:31pm

    "If I name one person does that make it wrong? How about 2. The point is essentially this was a patent granted for something that you can type using an excel spread sheet or for that matter a typewriter and telephone. It should not have been granted and Stanford should not have given in."

    I agree, but the headline reads "Patents put lives at risk" is over the top. It is the "think of the children" cry for Techdirt.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 1:51pm

      Re:

      ROFLMAO...Absolutely so...Now Techdirt is "thinking of the children" when it comes to patents.

       

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      Grae (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

      Re:

      This company is preventing competitors from arising in the field of treating HIV patients. Unless you have a legally binding statement from this company stating they will either a) provide licensing for both these patents for free or b) will manufacture and provide the devices described in these patents at cost then they will-by definition-be artificially inflating the cost for any patients looking to benefit from these ideas.

      Statistically, there are going to be HIV infected individuals who cannot afford to receive superior treatment because of the artificially increased price. So despite your hyperbole aimed at TechDirt, yes, these patents are being used to put lives at risk because of corporate greed.

       

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      Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:07pm

      Re:

      See this is where you're just stupid. "Think of the children" makes fun of those who use the emotional appeal of issues relating to kids to prop up a completely unrelated argument.

      Mike's point here is that these two stupid patents, and the ridiculous legal results (i.e. Stanford gives in, prof gets sued himself - and for what? oh yeah for research trying to cure AIDS) that are A DIRECT RESULT OF ACTUAL BAD PATENTS.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:27pm

        Re: Re:

        I think you missed the point. "Patents kill people" is a lot like "think of the children."

        The researcher in question has a database of information that hopefully permitted speeding up research (you know, like what patents do). Lack of access to that database is not going to kill anyone. Guns kill people. Prescribing the wrong medicine kills people. Texting while driving kills people. Patents are a document, and unless a stack of them fall on you they are unlikely to kill you.

        Think of the children!!!

         

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          ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I think you missed the point. "Patents kill people" is a lot like "think of the children.""

          In that they're both English statements, yes they're a lot alike.

          In that one is designed to let scientists engaged in research get on with their jobs without interference from money-grubbers, and the other is a fear tactic used by politicians, then no, they're completely different.

           

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      Weird Harold (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 10:58pm

      Re:

      It is the "think of the children" cry for Techdirt.

      What about the patent holder's children? Somebody should think of them! Where's daddy going to get the money to send them to law school?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    I lived in Iowa, went waterskiing on the Mississippi, fished there.

    I never heard anyone call it the Big M. Just saying.

     

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    Grae (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 2:32pm

    Patent 6,188,988 has 66 claims. Here's the key claims:

    1: Help selecting treatment for an illness.
    a: Entering patient illness data and history into a computer that matches said data against databases containing known treatments, known guidelines for diagnosis and treatment selection, and known variations of treatments.

    b & c: Aggregate data from those databases into a list of treatments and treatment data for said patient.
    This is a search engine for illnesses and treatments. Google could have done this and probably has something planned with their Google Health offering. Claims 2-8 & 12-22 are based on claim 1.
    7: Generate warnings about drugs patient is taking that will have negative side effects with proposed treatment and information to help begin a proposed treatment.
    Every legal Pharmacy does this. They cannot afford to do otherwise, a mistake could cause someone to die.

    Claims 9-11 are based on claim 7. 23 & 45 are rewordings of 1. 24-30 & 34-43 are based on 23. 29 & 50 are rewordings of 7. 31-33 are based on claim 29. 44 is basically saying "a drug reference book on a computer." 46, 48-51, & 55-66 are based on 45. 47 is based on 46. 52-54 are based on 50.

    This thing is a redundant pile of poo. It's literally proof of concept for the idea of how utterly screwed up the patent system is.

    Not original, not innovative, not patent-worthy.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 4:13pm

    "Update: It's been pointed out that some of you might want to look at the great website Shafer has put together, at HarmfulPatents.org if you want to learn more."

    I love this update, it reveals the researcher as a bit of a crusader. Sort of makes it clear who is stopping the potential new treatments from going to market.

     

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      Jason, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:13pm

      Re:

      That was already clear. It's also no surprise that someone who decided they wanted to grow up to cure AIDS is a bit of a crusader.

      The only thing that doesn't make sense is how the hell you claim that he's somehow keeping new treatments from going to market. Try to at least make some sense when you post these stupid comments.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:14pm

    Jason, you are an idiot, so I won't bother posting why, because it is obvious.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:29pm

      Re:

      Now, now. Do not stoop to Jason's level. When he uses words like stupid, try to focus on what he would have said had he used his head.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:04pm

    It's rather obvious that patents have adversely affected the health of people, mostly in poor countries who can afford to buy the latest cure.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:33pm

      Re:

      Wait a moment. A drug costs millions to develop, more time to prove through clinical trials. So, according to you, clinical trials kill people since they delay getting drugs onto the market. But wait, testing thousands of alternatives to find an effective alternative kills people because people die while testing occurs.

      Even further, RESEARCHING kills people because while scientists are screwing around analyzing chemicals people are dying. In fact YOU PERSONALLY ARE KILLING PEOPLE because you are not donating all your money to non-profit research organizations who will find cures for various diseases and provide the information for that cure to everyone everywhere.

      So, we can say that YOU personally have affected the health of people, mostly in poor countries who are unable to buy a drug that you could have supported the development of.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:07pm

        Re: Re:

        "So, according to you, clinical trials kill people since they delay getting drugs onto the market."

        No, that's not true according to him. Stop building strawman arguments.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What are the steps in developing a new drug?

          (1) Identify a disease of interest.

          (2) Estimate the length of time and amount of investment required to develop the drug.

          (3) Would the new drug provide sufficient ROI?

          (4) Will intellectual property permit recoup of investment?

          (5) Go/no go decision.

          (6) Begin process of identifying chemical families.

          (7) Perform initial simulations.

          (8) Synthesize chemicals.

          (9) Begin initial response experiments.

          (10) Continue to iterate process until efficacious chemistry families are located.

          (11) Identify best candidates.

          (12) Eliminate candidates with excessive side effects.

          (13) Proceed with living organism test phase?

          ....

          Okay, you get the idea.

          So, after 5 to 10 years of testing and tens of millions in investment, a drug may pop out at the other end of the process - or it might not. After a drug company invests millions in developing a new drug, why is is "bad" or "wrong" to earn a profit from those drugs? Why aren't food distributors similarly castigated for all the starving people in the world? The number of people who die from inadequate supplies of food, non-patented medicine to treat malaria and other common diseases and inadequate supplies of clean water pale in comparison to the people who may die because they may not have had access to a patented drug. Where is the outrage? Why aren't you taking responsibility for that? That is not a straw man, that should be a realization that the world is an imperfect place. If you want to help AIDS victims in Africa to get AIDS drugs, then buy doses for them and have them shipped. Of course, it is likely that pirates or local chiefs will take the drugs and they will never get to the victims that need them, but hey, that is a straw man too.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The number of people who die from inadequate supplies of food, non-patented medicine to treat malaria and other common diseases and inadequate supplies of clean water pale in comparison to the people who may die because they may not have had access to a patented drug."

            What? This is nonsense, if they didn't have access to a non - patented drug to cure malaria what makes you think they can possibly have access to a patented drug? Not to mention, I don't really believe that these numbers are pale compared to those who die because they don't have access to a patented drug (a LOT of people die of starvation and Malaria and there are unpatented treatments for those).

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That is, I believe the reverse is true, the number of people who die due to starvation and malaria are far greater than those who die because they don't have access to some patented drug.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:04pm

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

                This is absolutely true. Roughly 25% of the world is on the hairy edge of starvation. I have no idea how many people have issues obtaining patented drugs, but somehow I struggle to believe that 25% of the world's population is looking for a patented drug.

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:03pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I think you understand the point perfectly.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:14pm

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

                You said people "who may die." Well, those who currently die of everything that people die from pale in comparison to those who "may die" of a meteor strike on the planet earth. The words "may" appeal to speculation and I don't really think that your speculation is helpful in solving anything.

                 

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            Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:


            Okay, you get the idea.


            Your decision tree is wrong and misleading. Most drugs are initially developed thanks to gov't/NIH funding -- with much of it happening on university campuses. It only goes over to the corporation side after the universities have done most of the important (and expensive) research.

            The safety testing is expensive, but there's a public policy question there over whether or not that should be paid for privately or publicly.

            But, more important, you are making a major false assumption here: which is that drugs are the best way to treat disease. As we're learning, they're often a terrible way to fight disease, and there may be much better technological solutions.

            But, thanks to the structure of the FDA and patent protection, more research dollars are put into drugs than technological solutions, because of the distortionary nature of patent protection of drugs. So, perhaps some drugs would not have been developed without patents (which is dubious, actually, given much of the other research in the space), but instead better, healthier solutions would have been developed.

            why is is "bad" or "wrong" to earn a profit from those drugs?

            No one said it was bad to earn a profit from a drug? Why make up strawmen?

            In fact, studies have shown that even after generics are on the market, the original maker of the drug earns a *substantial* premium for being first. So the drug maker can certainly still profit.

            Why aren't food distributors similarly castigated for all the starving people in the world?

            Well, there's a pretty massive difference between the drug maker who stops OTHERS from distributing drugs and the food distributor who does not stop others.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I have never seen a study that indicates that "most" drugs are developed by the government.

              I do agree with you that drugs are not necessarily the best way to treat some diseases. We got into this habit in the 1960's, and it is taking some time to break out of it. However, there are still many diseases for which drugs are the only effective response.

              But, thanks to the structure of the FDA and patent protection, more research dollars are put into drugs than technological solutions, because of the distortionary nature of patent protection of drugs. So, perhaps some drugs would not have been developed without patents (which is dubious, actually, given much of the other research in the space), but instead better, healthier solutions would have been developed.

              Hold onto your socks, except for your last statement regarding whether drugs would have been developed without patents, I agree in principal with the rest of what you said. That does not say the world would have been a better place without patented drugs, but we might, and I emphasize might, have placed emphasis on other alternatives. We may yet do so because drug companies are rapidly losing their economic effect and the steam is running out of pharmaceutical solutions.

              Why aren't food distributors similarly castigated for all the starving people in the world?

              Well, there's a pretty massive difference between the drug maker who stops OTHERS from distributing drugs and the food distributor who does not stop others.

              In order to stop from being the bad guys, drug companies have taken tremendous steps to assure people can get access to patented drugs. However, now free or low-cost drugs are being stolen by warlords or corrupt governments, and they are still not getting to the people that need them. Elimination of patents will not get drugs to many people who could use them. In fact, it is unlikely that elimination of patents will help most people in places like Africa. Of course, then people would be unable to blame patents for killing people or kittens.

               

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                Bettawrekonize, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:29pm

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

                "However, now free or low-cost drugs are being stolen by warlords or corrupt governments, and they are still not getting to the people that need them. Elimination of patents will not get drugs to many people who could use them. In fact, it is unlikely that elimination of patents will help most people in places like Africa."

                I actually tend to buy this. Look at Malaria, we have unpatented solutions to that and many people die of it regardless (simply because they don't have access to those solutions).

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Just the other day I was reading about some technological innovation that some doctor had (independently) invented to fix some medical issue. No one has ever invented this before and someone, with a real broad and confusing patent, sued them as a result. I can't remember the specifics and I couldn't find reference to it on the Internet (since I can't remember enough about it and I no longer have access to the paper).

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 8:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "and there may be much better technological solutions."

              But drugs have the lowest variable costs (each unit of a drug costs less to produce than each unit of some medical device) so they make the most profits.

               

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:12pm

        Re: Re:

        "Wait a moment. A drug costs millions to develop"

        Wait a moment, drug corporations spend more on marketing and advertising than they do on research and development and R&D for many drugs are tax funded.

         

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          Weird Harold (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 11:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Wait a moment, drug corporations spend more on marketing and advertising than they do on research and development and R&D for many drugs are tax funded.

          Anybody but a moron can see that that can't possibly be true.

           

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    1DandyTroll, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:10pm

    Another patent

    's owned by Smith and Wesson.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 6:41pm

    Kind of interesting...

    I have noticed that every time Mike talks about copyright, the power of free, or nearly any topic but patents, he usually gets little in the way of coherent arguments supporting the opposite position. However, every time the issue of patents come up, the post volume goes way up and except for the occasional name-calling, there is a lot of support for both sides. I infer from this that patents do have a lot of support as compared to many of the other issues Mike discusses. Indeed, if Mike wanted to keep his traffic way up, seems like he should spend more time on patent issues.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:06pm

      Re: Kind of interesting...

      "Indeed, if Mike wanted to keep his traffic way up"

      Perhaps Mike is interested in other issues as well. There are other important issues and I'm sure others read about them as well.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:30pm

      Re: Kind of interesting...

      I have noticed that every time Mike talks about copyright, the power of free, or nearly any topic but patents, he usually gets little in the way of coherent arguments supporting the opposite position. However, every time the issue of patents come up, the post volume goes way up and except for the occasional name-calling, there is a lot of support for both sides. I infer from this that patents do have a lot of support as compared to many of the other issues Mike discusses. Indeed, if Mike wanted to keep his traffic way up, seems like he should spend more time on patent issues.

      Interesting theory, but wrong. Patent posts tend to get very little traffic. There may be a lot of comments on a few of them, but they tend to be just a few people arguing back and forth.

      Comments do not correlate well to traffic. For example, the post with the most traffic today on Techdirt has only a few comments.

      I don't write about anything for the traffic. Traffic, by itself, is rather meaningless to us. I write about stuff because I find it interesting.

       

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    Weird Harold (profile), Jun 11th, 2009 @ 9:53pm

    Lies!

    Lies! All lies!

    (Yes, I'm baaack)

     

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    Thomas, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:25am

    Not surprising

    The Dr and the drug companies are interested in making MONEY, NOT in saving lives or helping people. They do research and the goal is to make money, not help humanity. The drug companies/researchers would rather take government money for the research, create new drugs/stuff, and then make tons of money off of it. They don't really care if anyone is helped by it or not as long as they make lots of money.

     

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    angry dude, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 7:19am

    so many comments, so little understanding

    Just go read the original US Constitution Clause

    If everybody keeps it in mind when talking about patents (including patent examiners and judges) then everything becomes simple: patents exists solely for promoting the progress of humanity by providing an incentive to share the knowledge.

    Everything else (including crying babies and upset techdirt punks) is secondary

    Because without patents we are back to the Middle Ages where all the useful knowledge is locked and tightly guarded
    The problems are not with the concept of patents but with US PTO and litigation system

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:07am

    It is totally false to say drugs are developed by government. The government has never brought the drug to market. Ever. I seriously doubt that any university has ever brought a drug to market either.

    Educational facilities and governments of course do research on drugs and other things, but that is a far far cry from bringing a drug to market.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 10:14am

      Re:

      Something kind of interesting with the "flagship" for government drug development, Taxol. Apparently the government granted one company a license to produce Taxol (since the government invented Taxol and owned the patent). At least one other company has since developed a generic alternative and applied for a license from the FDA, which has refused to grant the license - which is not a patent issue, but an FDA refusal to grant a pharmaceutical company license to produce a drug, which it is entitled to do.

      So, do not like what happened to the "government funded" drug that the FDA refuses to permit be produced? Then complain to the FDA, not the patent office.

       

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        Weird Harold, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:03pm

        Re: Re:

        So, do not like what happened to the "government funded" drug that the FDA refuses to permit be produced? Then complain to the FDA, not the patent office.

        Better yet, complain to both.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Except, complaining to the USPTO gets you no where. That is a civil court matter. So, complain to the FDA and take them to civil court. Good luck suing the government.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Except, complaining to the USPTO gets you no where.

            Neither will the FDA. It you really want results, get a bunch of people to write letters to your legislative representatives and put cash, *lots of it*, in the envelopes along with the letters because that's all they really care about in the end. In other words, you'll have to outbid the pharmaceutical industry. The best government money can buy.

             

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      Weird Harold, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

      Re:

      It is totally false to say drugs are developed by government.

      To deny it is pretty obviously a lie.

      The government has never brought the drug to market. Ever. I seriously doubt that any university has ever brought a drug to market either.

      Nobody is saying otherwise, so why are you making up that straw man?

      Educational facilities and governments of course do research on drugs and other things, but that is a far far cry from bringing a drug to market.

      Again, nobody here is claiming that they bring drugs to market. No, they use tax dollars to develop the drugs and then practically give them away to favored drug companies to sell and profit from (using patents as the vehicle to do so, of course).

      Your industry lies and straw men are getting a little old.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

        Re: Re:

        It is totally false to say drugs are developed by government.

        To deny it is pretty obviously a lie.

        Obvious? In view of what facts?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Obvious? In view of what facts?

          With the support of the American people, the NIH annually invests over $28 billion in medical research. More than 83% of the NIH's funding is awarded through almost 50,000 competitive grants to more than 325,000 researchers at over 3,000 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every state and around the world. About 10% of the NIH's budget supports projects conducted by nearly 6,000 scientists in its own laboratories, most of which are on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

          Source: http://nih.gov/about/NIHoverview.html

          Now of course, I guess you'll just say that the government is lying too.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 9:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Let me see...still looking...still looking...I am not seeing the word "drug" or "chemical" anywhere in thise post. How much of the research is related to studies? How much is related to surgery? How much is related to understanding the human body? You post is truly fascinating, and answers no questions as to how much money the government spends on pharmaceutical research, how many drugs are discovered in that research, and how many of those drugs actually end up in production, and of those, how many are patented.

            If you are going to bring these issues up, be prepared to provide the details. Otherwise, all you have is an unsupported allegation or story. I allege that all patents have some measure of societal benefit, and my allegation is as good, and as well supported, as yours.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 10:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Let me see...still looking...still looking...I am not seeing the word "drug" or "chemical" anywhere in thise [sic] post.

              Wow! How do you manage to read at all with those eyes? Or are you just too ignorant to know that "medical research" relates to that field of the healing arts and sciences that focus on "medication" as a form of treatment? Now go look up "medication". Oh wait, I forgot, your eyes are too bad to see anything you don't want to. Here, I'll look it up for you:

              medication -
              1. A pharmaceutical drug.
              2. Loosely, a substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.


              And you really expect people to believe that none of that NIH medical research money is used to research, ahh, "medicines"? Yeah, right, no one's likely to believe that one either. I could go pull tons of examples, but that obviously wouldn't mean anything with you.

              Yeah, I'm being snarky, because you've shown yourself to be disingenuous lying bag of pharma industry troll crap whose basic aim is to get rich off the suffering of others. In fact, you're a good example of what's wrong with the pharma industry. Now go back to your masters and tell them how you got called out and spanked.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:22am

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

                Let me look again...nope, the word "medication" is not used anywhere. In order to help you, let us see what "medical research" entails...

                Oh, "medical research" is generally divided into what is called "preclinical research" and "clinical research."

                Okay, what is "preclinical research"?

                From Wikipedia.org:

                Preclinical research is research in basic science, which precedes the clinical trials, and is almost purely based on theory and animal experiments.

                Let me see, is there any medicine here? Nope. Is there even any research directd to practical application? Well, since it is primarily "research in basic science," guess not.

                Now, what is a clinical trial?

                Also from Wikipedia.org:

                A clinical trial is a comparison test of a medication or other medical treatment, versus a placebo, other medications and devices, or the standard medical treatment for a patient's condition.

                Oh, look! Clinical trials include devices! Oh my.

                So, medical research include:

                Basic Research
                Device Research
                Medication Research

                Now, we also know that the NIH funds research into existing drugs, such as aspirin, known hormones, and other non-patented drugs. So, now we can summarize the NIH's research as:

                Basic Research
                Device Research
                Research of previously patented or unpatented medication
                Research of medication that might be therapeutically useful

                So, if the NIH devotes its research uniformly to all areas, then that meant 25% of NIH's research would be devoted to medicines that might potentially be patented at some point.

                Prove otherwise.

                As for being a name-calling cretin, I think you hold that record all to yourself. Is it any wonder you are able to converse logically and coherently on this subject?

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

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

                  So, if the NIH devotes its research uniformly to all areas, then that meant 25% of NIH's research would be devoted to medicines that might potentially be patented at some point.

                  Well, there was a claim that the gov't doesn't fund drug research. So you now seem to be admitting that that was a false claim. See, that wasn't so hard, now was it?

                  Is it any wonder you are able to converse logically and coherently on this subject?

                  No wonder at all.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

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

                    Who was claiming the government does not do drug research? I never said any such thing. What I said was the there was no evidence that the government's support for drug research was necessarily significant. I have yet to see any evidence that it is (though I remain open minded).

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:05pm

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

                      Who was claiming the government does not do drug research? I never said any such thing.

                      That's why I didn't say you did. It was one of the Anonymous Cowards. You should try reading.

                       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 8:00pm

    I have been talking about theft of the man's design (and the easiest way to steal the design is either steal a set of drawings, which apparently were in too secure of a location, though my understanding is that they tried to steal those as well, or steal a working prototype), and you keep wanting to say you can't steal intellectual property.

    A prototype is what is know as an "embodiment" of a design. It is not the design itself. You seem to be confusing the two, perhaps because you are ignorant of the difference.

    Clearly, you are one confused individual.

    No, clearly you are either ignorant of the difference I described above and are mistaking your own confusion for someone else's, or you are just the lying turd you originally appeared to be. Which is it?

    Remember how this conversation started. You said that the Steadicam would have been invented anyway.

    Umm, no I didn't. Either more of your ignorance is showing through or you're being dishonest again. You do realize that "Anonymous Coward" is the default name given here to anonymous commenters and that there may be more than one, don't you? You should, since you've been using it yourself.

    I said that if it was so obvious, then why did someone try to steal the design - MULTIPLE FREAKING TIMES?

    If they were trying to steal the prototype, then they were trying to steal an embodiment of the design. Perhaps they intended to just use it or to attempt to derive the design from the embodiment, I can't say. But it any case, the prototype is not the design and the inventor would have still been in possession of the design. The design would not have been taken away from him (as it would be in a true case of theft). So your claims of attempted "theft" of the design are obviously untrue.

    Design is an intellectual construct, something you don't seem to be able to understand. If you just don't have the ability to understand such abstract concepts then there is nothing further I can do to explain it to you. But let me warn you: if you go around shooting your mouth off about stuff that you don't understand like that, then many people are going to think that you're just a liar because they won't believe that anyone could be that stupid.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 8:38pm

      Re:

      If you are unable to obtain the actual drawings that embody the design, then an physical embodiment of the design is the next best thing. In fact, it may be better because the drawings may not explain certain assembly details that are better shown by the prototype.

      Design is a plan for a physical product OR the actual product itself. The drawings describe the device, the device is an implementation of the drawings - they are both designs, one physical, the other lines on paper, something you don't seem to be able to understand.

      In any case, stealing the drawings or stealing the prototype amount to the same thing, and since it is likely that in that era there would only have been one copy of the drawings that the inventor might well not have had possession of the design and would have had to recreate the design from memory - again an error on your part. My "claims" of theft are in fact real, as was the attempt to break into the inventor's vehicle.

      If you do not have the ability to understand what design is, then there is nothing further I can do to explain it to you. But let me warn YOU: If you go around with diarrhea of the mouth about stuff that you don't understand, then many people are going to think that you are a mentally incompetent individual and they will not long believe you because it is impossible that anyone could have such a comprehension problem and still be walking upright.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 8:40pm

        Re: Re:

        Did you just call her a retard?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 12:03am

        Re: Re:

        Design is a plan for a physical product OR the actual product itself.

        No, it isn't. Try buying a patented device and then start selling unauthorized copies of it. When you get sued, try telling the judge that you own the design itself because you bought a device that embodied it. Judges don't laugh a whole lot in court, but that one just might do it.

        they are both designs, one physical, the other lines on paper

        No, neither one is. One is an embodiment, the other is a description of it. Neither one is it.

        something you don't seem to be able to understand.

        No, being an engineer (i.e. someone who professionally designs stuff for a living) and having experience with the subject, it is just something I know to be false.

        In any case, stealing the drawings or stealing the prototype amount to the same thing, and since it is likely that in that era there would only have been one copy of the drawings that the inventor might well not have had possession of the design and would have had to recreate the design from memory - again an error on your part.

        Error? How's that? I hadn't said anything about drawings, you did. I happen to realize that drawings aren't a design either, just a description thereof, and so wouldn't call the drawings "the design". I know better. So even if someone stole the drawings, they would be stealing a description of the design, not the design itself. If the inventor can't recall the design without a memory aid, well then, that's his problem. The "design" itself is not a physical thing.

        Look, you've had this explained to you over and over, and yet you persist. So I don't believe that there's much chance at this point that you don't know any better. You're just a lying turd trying to pretend that "intellectual property" is the same thing as physical property. It isn't.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Actually, a design is a physical thing. It is as much a characteristic of a physical thing as are its height, width, and depth. Thus, you are erroneous in your arguments. In fact, how many times have you heard phrases such as:

          "Look at the design of that car."
          "The your circuit design is excellent."
          "This garden has an excellent design."
          "This design is unique."

          In every case, the word "design" is attached to a physical characteristic of a genuine object. Therefore, one must conclude that all physical things have "design" as a characteristic of that physical thing. Therefore, when you steal the physical thing, if the design of that physical thing was previously unknown to man, then you must also be inherently stealing the design, which in this context means taking a deliberately hidden thing and revealing it to the world. The crimes (of which there multiple) are probably breaking and entering, felonious trespass, and theft of trade secrets, embodied in the design of the object.

           

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        WotoWooter, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 12:58am

        Re: Re:

        "Design is a plan for a physical product OR the actual product itself."

        So, if someone steals a Ford off the street, then they've stolen Fords designs? And then I guess Ford can sue them for millions (billions?) of dollars? That would be an interesting concept if it weren't so laughable.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And then I guess Ford can sue them for millions (billions?) of dollars?

          Continuing with ridiculous reasoning: Maybe they could defend themselves against Ford by making a sketch of the car that they stole. That drawing would be theirs, since they made it. Now they own a drawing of the car and, if the drawing is the design, they also own the design! Take that, Ford!

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 9:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Were you born an ass or are you just trying hard to be one. Have you read any of the messages that came before?

          Okay, if you have any measure of comprehension in your brain, understand this:

          Let us say that Ford has a design for a new car that no one has ever seen before. Let us say that the car is being transported in a tractor-trailer. Let us say that someone steals the tractor trailer.

          Question: Has the individual that stole the prototype car stolen Ford's design for that prototype car?

          Answer: Yes. Is it laughable? Only if you are an ignorant buffoon with a low threshold for humor.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 8:43pm

      Re:

      I believe it was obvious from the previous comments that the criminal was stealing the physical design in order to create a drawing design.

      From Wikipedia:

      As a noun, "a design" is used for either the final (solution) plan (e.g. proposal, drawing, model, description) or the result of implementing that plan in the form of the final product of a design process.

      In other words, the implementation of the plan is a design.

       

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        DangerMouse, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re:

        "I believe it was obvious from the previous comments that the criminal was stealing the physical design in order to create a drawing design."

        Actually, that was only an assertion made about the story. That the assertion is true is far from obvious. Unless the attempted burglars were caught, who's to say that they weren't trying to steal the car instead? And who's to say what their future plans were? Oh, and a "drawing design" would be a design for a drawing. A "design drawing" would be a drawing of a design. As if any of it matters, anyway.

        In other words, the implementation of the plan is a design.

        From someone who doesn't know the difference between a design for a drawing and a drawing of a design.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:40am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, I suppose one would normally pop a trunk to steal a car. I am unsure how breaking into a trunk would constitute stealing a car, but it is possible.

          Also, when the person was spotted in commision of the theft, they apparently were in possession of the Steadicam, not the car, and they left the Steadicam as they ran away. Again, it is possible they were stealing the car, but breaking into the car and removing the Steadicam from the car all seem to be unrelated to breaking into the car. I would think a reasonable person would think that the Steadicam was the focus of the theft, not the car.

          A design for a drawing is literally, how the drawing is layed out. It has nothing to do with the actual design embodied in the drawing. A drawing of a design is a plan for construction of a product. In fact, there are several types of drawings, which can include component drawings, assembly drawings, and process drawings. Each type of drawing serves a different function.

          In some cases, the hardware itself is the design, which is quite frequent in prototyping. While the initial design may start as a drawing or sketch, the physical design can quickly run from the drawings as the design is modified to make improvements or solve problems. In electronics design, these changes are quite common.

          In many engineering development functions it is quite common for the current design to be embodied in the hardware rather than the drawings, and eventually the drawings are modified to catch up with the current design of the hardware. Prior to updating the drawings, it can truly be said that the hardware is the design.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 9:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            In many engineering development functions it is quite common for the current design to be embodied in the hardware rather than the drawings, and eventually the drawings are modified to catch up with the current design of the hardware.

            That's not really very good engineering if that's happening. Hit or miss, trial and error is more the way non-engineers tend to "design" things. They may get it to work, kind of, eventually, but rarely on the first try. But I can understand your confusion because most non-engineers probably don't fully appreciate what's really involved with engineering.

            In some cases, the hardware itself is the design, which is quite frequent in prototyping.

            Nope. The hardware may embody the design, but it's not the design.

            While the initial design may start as a drawing or sketch, the physical design can quickly run from the drawings as the design is modified to make improvements or solve problems. In electronics design, these changes are quite common.

            Hey, electronics design is my specialty. Now usually my designs work right the first time. If it takes a lot of trial and error modification to get it working then I've screwed up and my boss will let me know that if he wanted that kind of result then he could just hire a technician to do the job instead. But if changes do have to be made to one of my designs (for some reason) then those changes will be calculated and documented before hand. What you describe is NOT common in engineering, and I should know. Not that it really makes any difference to your argument, it just shows once again how you either don't know what you're talking about or are being dishonest.

            In many engineering development functions it is quite common for the current design to be embodied in the hardware rather than the drawings, and eventually the drawings are modified to catch up with the current design of the hardware.

            Once again, that's just not true. Unless you use a really loose definition of "engineering", and that would be a deception all in it's own.

            Prior to updating the drawings, it can truly be said that the hardware is the design.

            Once again, no. The design may be embodied in the hardware or described by some other manner, but the design itself is an abstraction that exists intellectually.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 5:32am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              In many engineering development functions it is quite common for the current design to be embodied in the hardware rather than the drawings, and eventually the drawings are modified to catch up with the current design of the hardware.

              That's not really very good engineering if that's happening. Hit or miss, trial and error is more the way non-engineers tend to "design" things. They may get it to work, kind of, eventually, but rarely on the first try. But I can understand your confusion because most non-engineers probably don't fully appreciate what's really involved with engineering.

              I have worked with EE's for about 30 years. Admittedly, all of these activities have been very R&D oriented, which often means that we are trying to do something that has never been done before. The design is generally created. A prototype is fabricated. The prototype is tested - and that is where the fun begins. We quickly discover that there is something about the interface with the equipment being controlled that was unanticipated. Sometimes the modifications are small. Sometimes they require a redesign. Regardless, this has been my personal experience with dozens of EE's beginning in about 1975.

              Of course, perhaps you are a truly great engineer and your designs work right the first time, every time. I have yet to see that happen.

              Incidentally, I am an engineer.

              In some cases, the hardware itself is the design, which is quite frequent in prototyping.

              Nope. The hardware may embody the design, but it's not the design.

              Really? Then where is the design?

              Incidentally, does that mean there is no design in the hardware?

              While the initial design may start as a drawing or sketch, the physical design can quickly run from the drawings as the design is modified to make improvements or solve problems. In electronics design, these changes are quite common.

              Hey, electronics design is my specialty. Now usually my designs work right the first time. If it takes a lot of trial and error modification to get it working then I've screwed up and my boss will let me know that if he wanted that kind of result then he could just hire a technician to do the job instead. But if changes do have to be made to one of my designs (for some reason) then those changes will be calculated and documented before hand. What you describe is NOT common in engineering, and I should know. Not that it really makes any difference to your argument, it just shows once again how you either don't know what you're talking about or are being dishonest.

              You may well be a great engineer that makes few mistakes. However, with the projects I have been associated it is typically the technicians that report the problems with the design and the engineers that come in a fix it (or try to). In some case, significant redesign has resulted.

              In the last project I was associated with, we were on about iteration 4 or 5 with the hardware, and I lost count on the software portion. We had also called in two electronics consulting firms to assist us with the design. Considering what we were trying to do, I was unsurprised. I am sure with your vast skill and experience you could have done better. Next time we will be sure to call you.

              In many engineering development functions it is quite common for the current design to be embodied in the hardware rather than the drawings, and eventually the drawings are modified to catch up with the current design of the hardware.

              Once again, that's just not true. Unless you use a really loose definition of "engineering", and that would be a deception all in it's own.

              I have not deceived anyone. I am merely relaying my experiences with hardware. Indeed, I have also made modifications to the mechanical hardware on the fly to solve problems and corrected the drawings later. I have yet to meet a productive engineer that halted everything to run back to his or her office, change the drawings, and then run back to the shop, repeat until correct. Hardly an efficient way to put a prototype together.

              Prior to updating the drawings, it can truly be said that the hardware is the design.

              Once again, no. The design may be embodied in the hardware or described by some other manner, but the design itself is an abstraction that exists intellectually.

              Sorry. Then I have never worked with a design in my life. Ever. I have no idea how the numerous prototypes I have designed and put together do it, but they are not "abstractions that exist intellectually." Indeed, the only way I could keep track of the design was to either get it on paper, in the computer, or into a piece of hardware. Until then, it was nothing more than a collection of ideas.

              I am still wondering. If the hardware is not the design, where is the design? You keep saying the design is not in the hardware and not in the drawings (even though every definition of design says the design is in the drawings and in the hardware - but hey, you are a great engineer and a great linguist), so WHERE is the design? It is not in my head, I guarantee you. Without the drawings that I had made even I get to the point where keeping all the details is impossible. Indeed, one of the greatest innovations in the last twenty or so years was the creation of software that analyzed interferences. Though I continued to do them by hand for a time, having the software was excellent insurance (though I sometimes caught interferences the software did not, which I find amusing).

              Young engineers tend to rely too much on software rather than their own abilities. Then they get stumped when something does not work as planned. Tsk, tsk.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

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

                Of course, perhaps you are a truly great engineer and your designs work right the first time, every time. I have yet to see that happen.

                Incidentally, I am an engineer.


                So you're a supposed engineer and you've never even seen a design work properly the first time? I'd fire your sorry ass in a heartbeat.

                I have not deceived anyone. I am merely relaying my experiences with hardware. Indeed, I have also made modifications to the mechanical hardware on the fly to solve problems and corrected the drawings later. I have yet to meet a productive engineer that halted everything to run back to his or her office, change the drawings, and then run back to the shop, repeat until correct. Hardly an efficient way to put a prototype together.

                You've never heard of an engineering field notebook and claim to be an engineer? Not likely. And trial-and-error prototyping is the often most inefficient method of design. I am reminded of what Tesla once said about Edison's methods:

                "If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search... I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor."

                Once again, if that's typically how you go about it then I'd fire your sorry ass.

                Sorry. Then I have never worked with a design in my life. Ever.

                I could certainly believe that.

                ...WHERE is the design? It is not in my head, I guarantee you.

                Again, I could certainly believe that. In fact your demonstrated inability to understand abstract concepts leads me to question as to whether you are indeed a qualified engineer at all (and don't tell me that you drive trains). Yeah, I have come across many people who called themselves "engineers" who really were not. Working with the military, one of my pet peeves is the way that some installations give the people who go around mowing the grass the title of "Civil Engineer". Or like the other day when my wife was riding a cab home from the airport and the cabby ask her what her husband did for a living. When she told him that I was an electrical engineer, he replied "Oh yeah? I'm an engineer too! A transportation engineer!" Just calling yourself an "engineer" does not make you one.

                You don't have to be an engineer to design things, but there is a difference in the way engineers and non-engineers generally go about. One of the first engineering projects I worked on (not the lead engineer) was for an implantable heart pacemaker/defibrillator. I guarantee you we did not use a trial-and-error approach to the design, killing of a bunch of patients along the way. And I sure hope I never cross a bridge or enter a structure designed by an "engineer" like you. Your trial-and-error method would likely get people killed and your ass sued off (and hopefully imprisoned as well). That's why there are laws regarding the practice of engineering: to keep people like you away from certain kinds of work and protect the public safety.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

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

                  Of course, perhaps you are a truly great engineer and your designs work right the first time, every time. I have yet to see that happen.

                  Incidentally, I am an engineer.


                  So you're a supposed engineer and you've never even seen a design work properly the first time? I'd fire your sorry ass in a heartbeat.

                  And I would not have your cocky ass working for me, so I would never have hired you in the first place.

                  I have not deceived anyone. I am merely relaying my experiences with hardware. Indeed, I have also made modifications to the mechanical hardware on the fly to solve problems and corrected the drawings later. I have yet to meet a productive engineer that halted everything to run back to his or her office, change the drawings, and then run back to the shop, repeat until correct. Hardly an efficient way to put a prototype together.

                  You've never heard of an engineering field notebook and claim to be an engineer? Not likely. And trial-and-error prototyping is the often most inefficient method of design. I am reminded of what Tesla once said about Edison's methods:

                  "If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search... I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor."

                  Once again, if that's typically how you go about it then I'd fire your sorry ass.


                  Notes in a notebook are not a design, but may lead to one. Again, the kind of arrogance you demonstrate often destroys teams. I would never hire your sorry ass in the first place.

                  Sorry. Then I have never worked with a design in my life. Ever.

                  I could certainly believe that.

                  Of course, I do believe you have either...

                  ...WHERE is the design? It is not in my head, I guarantee you.

                  Again, I could certainly believe that. In fact your demonstrated inability to understand abstract concepts leads me to question as to whether you are indeed a qualified engineer at all (and don't tell me that you drive trains). Yeah, I have come across many people who called themselves "engineers" who really were not. Working with the military, one of my pet peeves is the way that some installations give the people who go around mowing the grass the title of "Civil Engineer". Or like the other day when my wife was riding a cab home from the airport and the cabby ask her what her husband did for a living. When she told him that I was an electrical engineer, he replied "Oh yeah? I'm an engineer too! A transportation engineer!" Just calling yourself an "engineer" does not make you one.

                  You don't have to be an engineer to design things, but there is a difference in the way engineers and non-engineers generally go about. One of the first engineering projects I worked on (not the lead engineer) was for an implantable heart pacemaker/defibrillator. I guarantee you we did not use a trial-and-error approach to the design, killing of a bunch of patients along the way. And I sure hope I never cross a bridge or enter a structure designed by an "engineer" like you. Your trial-and-error method would likely get people killed and your ass sued off (and hopefully imprisoned as well). That's why there are laws regarding the practice of engineering: to keep people like you away from certain kinds of work and protect the public safety.


                  Actually, bridge builders in fact do you "trial and error," if you wish to call it that.

                  Bridge building often (not always) follows several phases:

                  (1) Design phase - Establishing a preliminary design.

                  (2) Analysis phase - Analyzing the preliminary design.

                  (3) Revision phase - Revising the preliminary design with what was learned from the analysis phase.

                  (4) Prototype and testing phase - This phase can go through several stages. The testing phase was most critical with a bridge built for southeast Asia (Singapore, I believe), where the test phase (or "trial and error" phase, as you called it) discovered that the bridge was too resonant to the cross winds the bridge would face. The design had to be modified to correct the resonance before full scale build. This phase was also factored back into the analysis phase to see whether the analysis could better predict the resonance measured with the scale model.

                  (5) Full scale build - Again, though the bridge passed analysis and prototype testing, one additional factor was not considered in how the bridge responded to the wind, and the design was modified during the build. No, I did not build the bridge, but the lessons learned were fascinating.

                  On the other hand, it is obvious that you would have built the bridge without any errors or modifications, because you are a great engineer who knows better than all other engineers.

                  Please tell me exactly what products you have designed. I want to be sure I do not purchase any of them. I do not trust that you spent enough time in the "trial and error" phase before going into full scale production. Incidentally, I would have fired your ass for not going through that phase. You are a menace to public safety.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:14pm

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

                    And I would not have your cocky ass working for me, so I would never have hired you in the first place.

                    Don't worry, you'd never get that chance. I can't imagine any competent engineer working for you.

                    Notes in a notebook are not a design,...

                    You're right, they're not. They're documentation of a design, they're not the design itself; a concept beyond your grasp.

                    Actually, bridge builders in fact do you "trial and error," if you wish to call it that. blah blah blah

                    Heh, you don't even know the difference between prototyping and modeling. You're no engineer.

                    Full scale build - Again, though the bridge passed analysis and prototype testing,...

                    Err, modeling.

                    ...one additional factor was not considered in how the bridge responded to the wind...

                    Sounds like someone screwed up.

                    On the other hand, it is obvious that you would have built the bridge without any errors or modifications, because you are a great engineer who knows better than all other engineers.

                    No, I'm merely competent.

                    Please tell me exactly what products you have designed.

                    I mentioned one above. Yourself? Yeah, that's what I thought.

                    I want to be sure I do not purchase any of them.

                    Well most of them are not the kinds of things someone such as yourself would probably purchase. For example, I've never designed anything for Mattel, so that should help you a lot. But I also suggest you never get an implantable heart pacemaker/defibrillator or get into an airplane. If you're in the military, then your options to avoid to avoid any of my work may be limited. And if you're an enemy of the US, then you'll certainly want to avoid some of the stuff I've done. I fact, you'd probably like to kidnap or kill me if you could. US forces, on the other hand, have benefited greatly from my work.

                    I do not trust that you spent enough time in the "trial and error" phase before going into full scale production. Incidentally, I would have fired your ass for not going through that phase. You are a menace to public safety.

                    Yeah, right. I tell you what, I think I've made my points and I don't have any more time to truly waste on you. So go ahead, you can have the last word now.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 6:45pm

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

                      I think you underestimate the power of "trial and error," though you may be thinking of "trial and error" as something other than what is being described. There are many great engineers known for "trial and error." Clarence Kelly, who had a master's degree in aeronatical engineering, was a great believer in designing as you go; i.e., "trial and error." One of the things that made Kelly a great engineer was his ability to sketch out a design, and then make it happen, modifying as he went to solve problems. Perhaps not the rigorous engineering approach that you learned, but fast and effective, and his approach created what remains two of the greatest aircraft ever built, the U-2 and the SR-71.

                      There are numerous other stories of engineers creating "trial and error" solutions that were fast, effective, and often cheap alternatives. Certainly, military contractors are full of such stories. Do these "trial and error" engineers sometimems fail? Yes. Witness the famous Tacoma Narrows bridge, where engineering neglected to remember that it was a physical science.

                      Another example of "trial and error" are the little winglets you see on modern aircraft. Someone wondered what would happen if you stuck little winglets on wings. I can imagine the first person that flew a plane with those things on it was nervous regarding what the airplane would do.

                      Some people call the experimental approach to engineering "thinking out of the box," doing something other than what conventional engineering would dictate - but that something can lead to wonderful surprises.

                      I would also suggest that there are many different approaches within engineering, all of which are ultimately effective. Medical engineering must, of necessity, take a different approach than bridge building or construction of buildings.

                      I am unsure of what you call "modeling" versus "prototyping." In engineering for the military 1/4 and 1/2 scale prototypes were frequently built to do wind tunnel tests of designs. The test data from these prototypes was fed back into CFD models, and the process iterated until final designs were achieved. This was the was the way that the AV-8, F-15, and F-18 were built. I presume a similar technique was used for previous aircraft, and I presume something similar or a substitute is being used for subsequent aircraft.

                       

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                        Wingman, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 8:40pm

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

                        I think he was probably thinking of it exactly as described, which was a process where different things were just tried without prior calculation or planning until something just happened to work. Then when something finally accidentally worked it was drawn up as a "design" after the fact. Kind of like a room full of monkeys in a room full of typewriters will eventually recreate Shakespeare's works if given enough time. That's trial and error.

                        I happen to know a guy who used to be an engineer for Cessna doing wing design. He says you're full of it I you think wings are designed by trial and error. He is also quite familiar with Kelly and the "Skunk Works" and a big fan of the SR-71. He says Kelly didn't design by trial and error either and there were most certainly engineering drawings made for every single part of those aircraft before those parts were ever even made. They didn't just haphazardly throw stuff together until something finally got off the ground without killing the pilot or blowing up and then go back and make after the fact drawings of what finally flew. It was rather a very purposeful and calculated approach.

                        He also said that "thinking out of the box" is what engineers are trained to do and that it doesn't mean trial and error. While he said that some amateur experimental aircraft hobbyists might approach it like that, i.e. the "backyard builder" bunch, he assured me that no commercial aircraft are designed by trial and error and that every part of them are carefully designed with the process fully documented from the beginning. Otherwise the aircraft would never be type certified for flight. In other words, when you fly on an aircraft, you are not participating in the latest stage of some trial and error experiment that just hasn't crashed yet. He laughed at that idea.

                        Maybe you don't know the difference between a model and a prototype, but he certainly did. He said that those scale things used in wind tunnels are models, not prototypes, and that engineers often make use of both mathematical and physical models as well as computer simulations. But those aren't prototypes. The term prototype usually refers to the first flying sample, serial number 0001. He just shook his head in disbelief when I told him that some someone was going around claiming that the AV-8, F-15, F-18 and so on were built by trial and error. Before presuming that trial and error is used to design aircraft, maybe you should go ask a real aircraft engineer, like I did.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 6:18am

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

                          I do not think any of the posts above claimed that the AV-8, F-15 or F-18 were built by trial and error. That would be insane.

                          Perhaps you should give me your friend's name and e-mail. I worked the SR-71 many years ago. Sadly, it is no longer flown. That aircraft was simultaneously great and awful, depending on your point of view.

                          He is quite correct that aircraft are built by design, modelling and analysis.

                          However, that being said, all new designs encounter problems, and then one must decide how to solve the problem. In the "ideal" world, one stops everything and goes back to the models and tries to figure out what went wrong or what was missed in the model. In the real world, millions in tooling and hardware have already been procured and may be sitting in an assembly area. The solution is to go figure out the best way to solve the problem in the current configuration and incorporate the design change in the next configuration.

                          Clarence Johnson was a master of solving problems encountered during the construction of some of the greatest aircraft ever built. The list of trial and error that went into the SR-71 is lengthy, and helped all those engineers building later aircraft.

                          For example, there was little knowledge of how to work with titanium. Engineers quickly discovered that ordinary grease pencils could not be used on the titanium as it would eat into the metal (we call this trial and error - note that this was not planned, it was not modelled, it was not prototyped - it was discovered and accommodated).

                          Another problem that needed overcome with a previous design was navigation for the U-2. Kelly's team tried several alternatives (trial) only to reject each (error) before finally settling on a sextant.

                          I am surprised that anyone in engineering would belittle trial and error, or to even deny that it exists and has worked for millenia. Are we better now than we have ever been? Of course we are. However, we still push the envelope, we still try to do what has never been done. Each time we do those things we will make mistakes and we will learn from them. If we are not making mistakes and doing better each time, then we have forgotten how to advance.

                          As for models and prototypes, I think there is some hair splitting. A prototype is often defined as a full-scale working model. Yeah, duh. However, when you produce a full-scale model of a component in plastic when the actual version will be metal, is it a prototype or a model? Rapid prototyping houses will say prototype, but perhaps it is a model. I am unsure of when something transitions from model to prototype - or whether a prototype is indeed a model, it just happens to have more characteristics of the final device than does a "model."

                          What happens when you build a fully operational half-scale model of a device? Is it a model because it is not full scale or a prototype because it is fully functional? I suspect you will get different answers from different people. Is terminology so important to engineering design that it stops it, or do we just agree to what the terms mean and move on? After working in a half dozen industries, you quickly discover that different industries use different terms and the terms mean different things. Accommodate and move on.

                           

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                            Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:26am

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

                            I do not think any of the posts above claimed that the AV-8, F-15 or F-18 were built by trial and error. That would be insane.

                            Post 266 seems to be saying just that. And yes, my friend thought it was insane.

                            And the kind of trial and error apparent being discussed is the type where things are just tried without any prior calculating or planning. It is only after something accidentally works that it is even documented. See post 230. That is much different than some kind of methodical iterative design process.

                            Perhaps you should give me your friend's name and e-mail.

                            I don't go around posting other people's info. That you would ask me to do such a thing really says something about you. Tell you what, post your name and email address and I'll forward it on to him. If you're for real, I imagine he'd love to talk to you.

                            Uh huh, that's what I thought.

                            I am surprised that anyone in engineering would belittle trial and error, or to even deny that it exists and has worked for millenia.

                            As described above, I can't imagine any engineer endorsing it. But no one is claiming that it doesn't exit, either. So why make up that strawman?

                            As for models and prototypes, I think there is some hair splitting.

                            Actually, he went on to explain that a model in engineering is something that substitutes as an analog for something else for the purposes of analysis. Whereas a prototype is an actual first or early version of the actual product. That seems like a hair about the size of the Grand Canyon to me. Go ahead and post that name and address of yours, maybe may friend can clear it up for you.

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:49am

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

                              I do not think any of the posts above claimed that the AV-8, F-15 or F-18 were built by trial and error. That would be insane.

                              Post 266 seems to be saying just that. And yes, my friend thought it was insane.

                              And the kind of trial and error apparent being discussed is the type where things are just tried without any prior calculating or planning. It is only after something accidentally works that it is even documented. See post 230. That is much different than some kind of methodical iterative design process.


                              That was not what I intended to say (happens when you get in a hurry). My intent was to say that trial and error has been important to design, including aircraft. Funny you should mention wings, because the chines on the SR-71 caused significant grief for Lockheed in terms of stability and controllability. However, the chines also turned out to yield significant lift. It took a lot of trial and error to get the chines to work.

                              Perhaps you should give me your friend's name and e-mail.

                              I don't go around posting other people's info. That you would ask me to do such a thing really says something about you. Tell you what, post your name and email address and I'll forward it on to him. If you're for real, I imagine he'd love to talk to you.

                              Uh huh, that's what I thought.


                              I will get you an e-mail this evening.

                              I am surprised that anyone in engineering would belittle trial and error, or to even deny that it exists and has worked for millenia.

                              As described above, I can't imagine any engineer endorsing it. But no one is claiming that it doesn't exit, either. So why make up that strawman?

                              Posts 230 and posts 246 certainly seem to be saying that "real engineers" do not use trial and error, and both posts do a phenomenal job of belittling the engineers that use trial and error.

                              I refer also to post 275.

                              As for models and prototypes, I think there is some hair splitting.

                              Actually, he went on to explain that a model in engineering is something that substitutes as an analog for something else for the purposes of analysis. Whereas a prototype is an actual first or early version of the actual product. That seems like a hair about the size of the Grand Canyon to me. Go ahead and post that name and address of yours, maybe may friend can clear it up for you.

                              So, when I was describing functional versions that were smaller than the final version, I was correct after all. Thank you for telling me I was correct. So we are both clear:

                              Prototype - Provides a measure of functionality anticipating the final item.

                              Model - An analog for the final item, but not functional.

                              I would agree with those definitions, and I think my comments earlier said essentially the same thing.

                               

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                              Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 11:54am

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

                              Perhaps you should give me your friend's name and e-mail.

                              I don't go around posting other people's info. That you would ask me to do such a thing really says something about you. Tell you what, post your name and email address and I'll forward it on to him. If you're for real, I imagine he'd love to talk to you.

                              Uh huh, that's what I thought.


                              trialanderror1956@yahoo.com

                               

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                                Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

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

                                trialanderror1956@yahoo.com

                                What, that's really your name and address? Your mama really named you "trialanderror1956"? Man, I bet you had a hard time in school. And it doesn't say much for your mama either.

                                Of course, on the other hand you could just be full of you-know-what.

                                 

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                                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

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

                                  Your mommy named you Wingman? Kind of says it all, doesn't it? You gonna fly away now?

                                   

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                                    Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:17pm

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

                                    Your mommy named you Wingman?

                                    You seem to claiming that I said that was my name. I didn't.

                                    Kind of says it all, doesn't it? You gonna fly away now?

                                    Ditto.

                                     

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 7:49am

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

                          Some references for you, many of them by "real engineers":

                          From "Forensic Engineering": "The design of mass-produced products often includes trial-and-error as an integral part of the design process."

                          From "Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology": "Engineering: The use of scientific knowledge and trial-and-error to design systems."

                          Tufts University Center for Engineering Educational Outreach, 2005: "Engineers often use trial and error, where if something does not work properly, engineers want to figure out why."

                          Design Engineering, by Wolfgang Ernst Eder, Vladimir Hubka, Stanislav Hosnedl: "The "trial-and-error" or "cut-and-try" method used in all sciences is conditioned by previously obtained information-informed trial, not random action-and interpreted as model of knowledge acquisition, see section 1.8."

                          Engineering Your Future, by S.G. Walsh: "Iteration, more commonly referred to as trial-and-error, is common within the design function. All but the most trivial designs typically involve numerous trial and error loops. As a recent graduate used to assignments and problems requiring analysis of existing entities and unique and "correct" answers, you may find design to be somewhat unsettling. Rarely in practice is there a best or correct solution. Rather, the technical professional strives to arrive at a design that is within the "best" subset of all possible solutions as defined by factors such as those described in Chapter 8 and illustarted in Figure 8-1."

                          From WorldWideLearn: "The field of materials science is all about trial and error, and materials engineers and scientists should be able to effectively articulate ideas and proposals."

                          Product Design & Development, January 1, 2004, Bart Eisenberg: Title of the article - "Thinking in prototypes: trial and error still plays a key role in product development."

                          University of California, Berkeley, Lab Notes, Engineering Life, by David Pescovitz, Volume 4, Issue 5, June 2004: "Most genetic engineering is done by hook-or-by-crook," [bioengineering professor] Arkin says. "It takes a lot of trial-and-error to build simple things into cells..."

                          Dassault Falcon web site, quoting Bruno Stoufflet, Dassault Falcon director of future planning and scientific strategy: "Until the mid-seventies, aerodynamic design relied predominantly on the trial-and-error approach to selecting a shape that satisfied performance requirements."

                          Aircraft Engine Design by Jack D. Mattingly, William H. Heiser, David T. Pratt, 2002: "Although more than one igniter is required, the number of igniters and their location is again largely a matter of experience and trial and error."

                          Code One, An Airpower Projection Magazine, "From the Shadows - Early History of the U-2," by Chris Pocock, January 2002: "At the Ranch, activity was still trial-and-error most hf the way."

                           

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                            Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 12:09pm

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

                            Some references for you, many of them by "real engineers":

                            Perhaps you should have looked up above to see the kind of trial and error being is discussed here first because by going off half-cocked (something I'm told engineers try to avoid) you just wasted a whole lot of time and effort (something else I'm told engineers try to avoid). The kind of trial and error being discussed here is an unguided process where things are just tried without prior planing, calculation or even documentation until something just accidentally works. That's not iterative design or methodical investigative research by a long shot, and I seriously doubt that's what's being promoted as "engineering" in any of those references cited. If that was true, then anybody capable of performing random acts could do "engineering", no knowledge or education required. "yastaday i culdnt even spel egineer. now i are one! woo hoo!" What a joke.

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

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

                              I have no idea what you are talking about. Trial and error is a part of the engineering process. I do not think any engineer would condone sitting down with an Exacto knife and a block of wood and start cutting away anything that did not look like a wing.

                              On the other hand, when the rubber meets the road, so to speak, the first issue that ends up needing resolved is how to make the thing work, because there are nearly always problems to be solved. Enter trial and error - which is what I believe most of those references cover.

                              No one ever suggested (and if it appears I did so, it was unintentional) doing engineering without planning, designing and modelling. However, where those end is where trial and error begins - for real engineers.

                               

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                                Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

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

                                No one ever suggested (and if it appears I did so, it was unintentional) doing engineering without planning, designing and modelling.

                                Oh, but they did. You can read up above where it was claimed that is how engineering is commonly done. In fact according to what has been said above, engineers commonly don't even produce any documentation until after a successful prototype has already been built, and then they go back after the fact and make drawings of whatever it was that finally worked. It may not have been you who originally made that claim, but that's what this discussion has been about. You jumping ship now?

                                 

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                                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

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

                                  Not all all...If you look at post 208, the author said that it was common for modifications to be made to the hardware and then the drawings were updated later. Sounds to me that documentation was produced, the hardware was modified on the fly (some people call that trial and error) and the drawings were updated afterward. That makes perfect sense to me.

                                   

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                                    Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:32pm

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

                                    Not all all...If you look at post 208, the author said that it was common for modifications to be made to the hardware and then the drawings were updated later.

                                    Let's see, that would encompass starting with a blank sheet and then filling it in after the project is finished.

                                    That makes perfect sense to me.

                                    I'm not surprised.

                                     

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

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

                                      You are reading something into the post that is clearly not there. Updating the drawings does not mean starting from scratch. Ask your real engineer friend the definition of "updating drawings." Somehow I suspect that does not mean to "create drawings."

                                      No wonder you are confused.

                                      Incidentally, have you given your friend my e-mail address yet?

                                       

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                                        Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:55pm

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

                                        Updating the drawings does not mean starting from scratch.

                                        In the context of this discussion, that's exactly what it meant. The claim was made that prototypes are often the only documentation of a design and that if something happened to the prototype then the whole design was lost. Gee, I wonder what happened if an SR-71 prototype crashed? Did Lockheed have to start all over because the prototype was the only documentation and without that sample nobody knew how it was built? I doubt it.

                                        Yep, you seem to be jumping ship all right.

                                        Incidentally, have you given your friend my e-mail address yet?

                                        I told him where he could find your supposed name and address in this discussion.

                                         

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                                      Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

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

                                      Let's see, that would encompass starting with a blank sheet and then filling it in after the project is finished.

                                      Or start with a title at the top so that it's not completely blank, if you will. Then "update" it after completion.

                                       

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                              Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 12:42pm

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

                              You think I am going to put my real name out here? Your friend may e-mail me. I would be happy to talk with a "real engineer" about airplanes.

                              Interesting that you are devolving into name calling. Running out of any real arguments?

                               

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                                Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

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

                                You think I am going to put my real name out here?

                                Interesting that you would ask me to do the same with my friend's name then isn't it?

                                Interesting that you are devolving into name calling.

                                How's that? You replied to a request for you name (and addr) with trialanderror1956@yahoo.com, so what do you expect? So now you accuse me of name calling for calling you what you put forward as your name? OK then, I've got a "descriptive" name for you now: "Lying Hypocrite". How's that one?

                                I would be happy to talk with a "real engineer" about airplanes.

                                Oh, I seriously he would be interested in talking to you now. I know I'm not.

                                 

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                                Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:24pm

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

                                You think I am going to put my real name out here?

                                Interesting that you would ask me to do the same with my friend's name then isn't it?

                                Interesting that you are devolving into name calling.

                                How's that? You replied to a request for you name (and addr) with trialanderror1956@yahoo.com, so what do you expect? So now you accuse me of name calling for calling you what you put forward as your name? OK then, I've got a "descriptive" name for you now: "Lying Hypocrite". How's that one?

                                I would be happy to talk with a "real engineer" about airplanes.

                                Oh, I seriously doubt he would be interested in talking to you now. I know I'm not.

                                 

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                                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 2:37pm

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

                                  I never said that was my name. I also accepted your logic for not putting your friend's name in a post and followed that same logic. The address I provided is clearly an e-mail address. I know you are [probably] bright enough to understand that.

                                  I am becoming less interested in talking with you as well. However, it does not surprise me that you will not pass on my e-mail address to your non-existent friend.

                                   

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                                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 3:19pm

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

                                    Tell you what, post your name and email address and I'll forward it on to him.
                                    ...
                                    trialanderror1956@yahoo.com


                                    Gee, I guess that exchange never occurred, did it?

                                    And guess what? My email address consists of my_real_name@my_isp, so a response to query for your name and address could conceivable be answered in the manner you did if you claimed trialanderror1956 as your name.

                                    I know you are [probably] bright enough to understand that.

                                    Oh yes. I'm also bright enough to not believe everything you say and to recognize trialanderror1956@yahoo.com as a probable honey-trap address (and to point out your silliness and hypocrisy for even trying such a stunt). Too bad for you that you weren't bright enough to realize that and move on. So now I get to call attention to it again.

                                    Care to step in it again now?

                                     

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

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

                                      I have no idea what "honey-trap address" is.

                                      Care to step in what? I have stepped in nothing yet, and to the extent I have made an error I owned up to it. Making up things said about drawings is something you have yet to own up to.

                                       

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                                        Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:20pm

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

                                        Making up things said about drawings is something you have yet to own up to.

                                        OK, point it out.

                                         

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                                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 5:30am

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

                                          Point out what?

                                          Original statement, from Post 208:

                                          In some cases, the hardware itself is the design, which is quite frequent in prototyping. While the initial design may start as a drawing or sketch, the physical design can quickly run from the drawings as the design is modified to make improvements or solve problems. In electronics design, these changes are quite common.

                                          In many engineering development functions it is quite common for the current design to be embodied in the hardware rather than the drawings, and eventually the drawings are modified to catch up with the current design of the hardware. Prior to updating the drawings, it can truly be said that the hardware is the design.


                                          You went from a discussion where the author clearly indicated the design starts with drawings but can be modified on the fly to (from your post 292):

                                          The claim was made that prototypes are often the only documentation of a design and that if something happened to the prototype then the whole design was lost.

                                          From your post 284:

                                          In fact according to what has been said above, engineers commonly don't even produce any documentation until after a successful prototype has already been built, and then they go back after the fact and make drawings of whatever it was that finally worked.

                                          I do not see a single post that says that engineers do not start with drawings. All the posts say (based on my interpretation) is that you have a sequence:

                                          (1) Create drawings
                                          (2) (Optional) Analyze, model or create additional documentation.
                                          (3) Build prototype or model.
                                          (4) Modify prototype or model as needed.
                                          (5) Update drawings to reflect modification.

                                          Now, would you care to provide support for any other viewpoint?

                                           

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                                            Wingman, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

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

                                            Point out what?

                                            An untrue statement of mine, which you failed to do. Sorry if you don't like that.

                                             

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                                              Jason Wright, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 6:29pm

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

                                              Hey, you are a real winner. Your statement was proved false, and your little scenario above, while interesting, merely indicates that you provided more detail than the other guy did. He was not wrong, just less complete. You, on the other hand, claimed he said that engineers use no documentation, which was clearly untrue.

                                               

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                                                Bob Whitmore, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 2:25am

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

                                                Hey, you are a real winner. Your statement was proved false, and your little scenario above, while interesting, merely indicates that you provided more detail than the other guy did. He was not wrong, just less complete. You, on the other hand, claimed he said that engineers use no documentation, which was clearly untrue.
                                                Heh, "he" who? I looked through all of Wingman's statements and couldn't see where he attributed that statement to anyone in particular, so you're obviously lying claiming he did. But looking at comment 208 I can see where somebody, I don't know who, clearly said
                                                In many engineering development functions it is quite common for the current design to be embodied in the hardware rather than the drawings, and eventually the drawings are modified to catch up with the current design of the hardware.
                                                And in 232
                                                I have yet to meet a productive engineer that halted everything to run back to his or her office, change the drawings, and then run back to the shop, repeat until correct. Hardly an efficient way to put a prototype together.
                                                So indeed someone(s) did make statements that would boil down to engineers supposedly not using documentation (writing something up after the fact isn't "using" documentation, that's reporting). I suspect that "someone" was yourself since you're so vigorously trying to deny it. Maybe you've worked under engineers and had your ass busted a few times and developed a chip on your shoulder over it. I used to know a nurse (not a very good one) who felt that way about doctors.

                                                And the two design procedures certainly look different to me. One looks professional and rigorous, while the other looks like how a half-ass amateur wannabe too lazy or uneducated (We don't need no stinkin' math!) to do analysis (Analysis? What's that?) might go about it. Care to guess which is which?

                                                Seems to me that you're the real winner.

                                                And I don't think "scenario" means what you think it means, either.

                                                 

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                                                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 5:15am

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

                                                  So indeed someone(s) did make statements that would boil down to engineers supposedly not using documentation (writing something up after the fact isn't "using" documentation, that's reporting).

                                                  Your prior statement was that no documentation was used - period. That was clearly an outright lie. Yes, I did so, and will continue to do so, that engineers (at least, real engineers who have some measure of common sense and productivity) do make changes to physical prototypes or models prior to updating the documentation that was used to create them in the first place.


                                                  I suspect that "someone" was yourself since you're so vigorously trying to deny it. Maybe you've worked under engineers and had your ass busted a few times and developed a chip on your shoulder over it. I used to know a nurse (not a very good one) who felt that way about doctors.

                                                  roflmao...I have never had my ass "busted" with respect to engineering. I have been an engineering manager beginning in 1988 until I became product engineering manager back in the mid-1990's.

                                                   

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                                                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 5:52am

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

                                                  So indeed someone(s) did make statements that would boil down to engineers supposedly not using documentation (writing something up after the fact isn't "using" documentation, that's reporting).

                                                  Really...let us double check the sentences you quoted...

                                                  ...eventually the drawings are modified to catch up with the current design of the hardware."

                                                  Okay, so this sentence says that drawings exist, the hardware was modified, and the drawings were updated. So, I guess documentation did exist.

                                                  I have yet to meet a productive engineer that halted everything to run back to his or her office, change the drawings...

                                                  Wait a moment, "change the drawings." So, documentation existed again.

                                                  I repeat my earlier comment: Who said documentation did not exist?

                                                  Incidentally, when you make a design change in the lab, and you modify the drawings to incorporate your design change, that is not reporting, that is updating the drawings. You may have reported the change to your manager, but likely as long as the "i's" are dotted and the "t's" are crossed, he will be more interested in whether the documentation has been updated and whether any analyses needed to verify the change have been performed.

                                                  And the two design procedures certainly look different to me. One looks professional and rigorous, while the other looks like how a half-ass amateur wannabe too lazy or uneducated (We don't need no stinkin' math!) to do analysis (Analysis? What's that?) might go about it. Care to guess which is which?

                                                  Well, potty mouth, had I known we were going to do a Gantt chart instead of an outline, I would have provided one.

                                                  As it turns out, I have more than 40 undergraduate and graduate hours in math and analysis, both in engineering and physics (along with about another 40 hours of undergraduate engineering and physics - graduating with honors, I might add), nearly 30 years of engineering experience, all in R&D, and about 20 years of engineering management experience - with dozens of successful products taken to production.

                                                  scenario: : a sequence of events especially when imagined ; especially : an account or synopsis of a possible course of action or events

                                                  I think scenario means exactly what I intended it to mean. Do I have to teach you English in addition to engineering?

                                                   

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                                                  Wingman, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 10:53am

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

                                                  Heh, "he" who? I looked through all of Wingman's statements and couldn't see where he attributed that statement to anyone in particular, so you're obviously lying claiming he did.

                                                  Hey Bob,

                                                  Yeah, I'd been careful not to attribute certain statements to any particular individual, that's why I asked him to point it out (knowing he couldn't). And of course he fell for it. I did that for a couple of reasons. First, to see how many different identities would pop up in defense (smoke them out). Second, just to see if he'd keep lying. Of course he did (presuming it's the same individual).

                                                  And I think you could be right about "Jason's" motivations too.

                                                  Now I see he's now gone back to his Anonymous Coward moniker and come out with another pack of whoppers, including a bunch of made up credentials. Well, I think most of what needed to said about real engineers and this wannabe has been said at this point. Now it's time to leave him all alone because I'm pretty sure hardly anybody else is reading any of this anymore.

                                                  So long Bob.
                                                  Bye bye to you too, "Jason".

                                                   

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                                                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

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

                                                    Bob aka Wingman:

                                                    Your post 310:

                                                    Yeah, I'd been careful not to attribute certain statements to any particular individual...

                                                    Your post 284:

                                                    Oh, but they did. You can read up above where it was claimed that is how engineering is commonly done. In fact according to what has been said above, engineers commonly don't even produce any documentation until after a successful prototype has already been built.

                                                    You were clearly referring to one or more posts by AC (i.e., me, since I am one of the AC's). You wrote that someone said that engineers design stuff without any documentation, and I believe the only one talking about engineering documentation was me.

                                                    Regardless, why is attribution relevant? Engineers do document, and quite well. They may sometimes do after the fact when they test a change and then submit a design change request (DCR), but ultimately nothing gets approved to move into production without appropriate documentation, an absolute requirement for an ISO 9001 certified company. Even prototyping either requires an appropriate 3D model or drawings.

                                                    Well, I think most of what needed to said about real engineers and this wannabe has been said at this point.

                                                    I doubt you would even recognize a real engineer if he came up to you with a Machinery's Handbook in his hand and a name tag on.

                                                    Now it's time to leave him all alone because I'm pretty sure hardly anybody else is reading any of this anymore.

                                                    So, you need an audience for your smarmy comments?

                                                     

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                                                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

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

                                                    By the way, "Bob," still waiting for your e-mail.

                                                     

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                                                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 8:40am

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

                                                    Wingman:

                                                    My, my...Boeing appears to be in a trial and error mode with the 787 Dreamliner. Who knew that aerospace conducted trial and error?

                                                    http://apnews.excite.com/article/20090623/D990EAHO2.html

                                                    Please come back when you know what you are talking about.

                                                     

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                                    Wingman, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

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

                                    However, it does not surprise me that you will not pass on my e-mail address to your non-existent friend.

                                    So now you're obviously just making stuff up. Way to go (I guess it fits with the rest of your arguments though). He would be quite surprised to hear that he doesn't exit. Try omzihqsomtx@mailinator.com

                                     

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

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

                  Incidentally, I would guess the odds are extremely high that you have used one of the products that I either designed or co-designed...and you seem to be fine. Thank goodness for you that we have a rigorous testing program to work out the bugs before we go to production - which is typical for most mechanical hardware, whether it is designed in Japan, China or the United States.

                   

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          Master Designer, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Any physical thing created by a human being is a design. For example, just this morning I shit a masterpiece. When I flushed, there went my design.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I would be willing to bet that is the best thing you have ever designed.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 9:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Any physical thing created by a human being is a design. For example, just this morning I shit a masterpiece. When I flushed, there went my design.

            Then you have a pretty loose (pun intended) definition of "design", like the steadicam troll's.

             

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:42am

    Bring out your dead...

    Patent posts always seem to bring out the fools who believe they actually understand something about designing and keeping designs secret.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    Design vs Trade Secret

    Actually, a design is a physical thing. It is as much a characteristic of a physical thing as are its height, width, and depth. Thus, you are erroneous in your arguments. In fact, how many times have you heard phrases such as:

    "Look at the design of that car."
    "The your circuit design is excellent."
    "This garden has an excellent design."
    "This design is unique


    Many times. "Look at the design of that car" refers to the design of the car. It does not say that the car is the design. "The your circuit design is excellent" refers to the design of the circuit, it does not say that the circuit is the design. "This garden has an excellent design" refers to the design of the garden, it does not say that the garden is the design. "This design is unique" refers to a design, whether it is communicated by physical embodiment, drawing, photograph, data, oral description or other means.

    Note that people also commonly say things like "I saw so-and-so on TV last night" without meaning that so-and-so was actually on top of their TV.

    Therefore, one must conclude that all physical things have "design" as a characteristic of that physical thing.

    No, that would be what is known as a false conclusion.

    Therefore, when you steal the physical thing, if the design of that physical thing was previously unknown to man, then you must also be inherently stealing the design,...

    Huh? But otherwise not? So now you're saying that at some point (when it becomes known to man) the design somehow magically leaves the object? Now that sounds really wacky. But in that case, the would-be-thieves of the steadicam prototype couldn't have stolen the design because it was already known to man, the man being the inventor. So basically, you just shot yourself in the foot (figuratively, not literally, before you start telling me how you did no such thing or you would have felt it).

    The crimes (of which there multiple) are probably breaking and entering, felonious trespass, and theft of trade secrets, embodied in the design of the object.

    It's good that you didn't include "theft of design" because such a crime doesn't exist (at least in the US). Now theft of trade secret I could agree with because the holder of the secret no longer has a secret, i.e. it (secrecy) has been taken away from him, even if he still has the design. But a design may or may not be a trade secret and a trade secret may or may not be a design.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 2:37pm

      Re: Design vs Trade Secret

      lol...You are funny, and silly. Yes, the design was known to the inventor, but no one else that the time the attempts to steal the design were made.

      However, we are getting really of the Steadicam was non-obvious, and remained so until the patents issued. However, certain individuals made more than one attempt to steal the design for the Steadicam prior the public release of information about the Steadicam. Given the Steadicam's success (which would seem to fit the definition of innovation), it would seem that such an "obvious" invention would have been invented earlier than 100 years after the first films were made.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:06pm

        Re: Re: Design vs Trade Secret

        However, certain individuals made more than one attempt to steal the design for the Steadicam prior the public release of information about the Steadicam.

        Just can't give up that lie, can you?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: Design vs Trade Secret

          You have yet to prove it is a lie.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Design vs Trade Secret

            You have yet to prove it is a lie.

            When someone claims the impossible, that pretty much makes it a lie as far as I'm concerned.

             

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    Bettawrekonize, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:34pm

    As for anyone who claims that patents are necessary for the advancement of pharmaceuticals see this video

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2541736281918823479

    Go about 40 minutes into it and he addresses this issue (about how most of it is government funded).

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:55pm

      Re:

      Your link is to someone who advocates the government taking over all pharmaceutical research. That has worked really well so far with Taxol!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:39pm

        Re: Re:

        "Your link is to someone who advocates the government taking over all pharmaceutical research. That has worked really well so far with Taxol!"

        Not necessarily, he is simply pointing out that the government ALREADY funds pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical corporations reap the befits/patents. He is simply pointing out that we shouldn't give government money to pharmaceutical corporations and then let the corporations get patents on what they developed with government money, we can use the money they ALREADY give to pharmaceutical corporations to fund research that yields unpatented drugs. We are better off doing this than doing what we are currently doing, not that we should necessarily have the government fund research (but they already do).

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Actually, his argument regarding "public money" was not government money, but the money from people purchasing the drugs, which he then attributed to expenditures on marketing, profits and, I presume, executive bonuses. His comment was that if these were eliminated, then we would get more bang from the buck. His suggestion seemed to be that instead of putting the public's money into pure profits, it would be better funneled into research, which in our current system would have to go through the government.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Actually, his argument regarding "public money" was not government money, but the money from people purchasing the drugs"

            No, he was referring to government money. Go on and he uses the word "Public grants" he is clearly referring to government money. Why do they have more transparency than us in the U.S anyways? Why should we trust that our government is doing the right thing?

            And considering the fact that you like to twist the meaning of words in as much as you can and try to make false statements in a way that makes it difficult to prove false (ie: claiming he wasn't referring to government grants) then why should we believe anything you say? Public money refers to government/taxpayer money, don't make it mean something it's not. Just like it's clear that many of the patented pharmaceutical drugs are probably funded by taxpayers (otherwise there would be no reason for the lack of transparency because what else would they have to hide?) and there is substantial evidence showing this, you still try to find a highly implausible way out of it.

            This is how these lobbyists lobby the government, they argue for the most implausible situations and politicians believe them and give them what they want. We're not the government, we're not stupid enough to believe you.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 1:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hey, I thought was what he meant as he was breaking out his numbers. However, that this money comes from the government makes no sense either. He clearly said that his information came from the company's financials. I picked Merck (kind of thinking that they had to be representative) and looked at their annual report. There does not appear to be a mention of support from the NIH in any of their financials.

              Of course, I may be missing something. Would you care to show me the page in Merck's 2008 financial report where this government support comes in?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:55pm

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

                "Hey, I thought was what he meant as he was breaking out his numbers."

                I apologize then.

                "He clearly said that his information came from the company's financials."

                He did say that. But he's not in the U.S. he's in Sweden. So he is probably referring to branches from there I assume. Not sure where I can get their financial statements but it upsets me that in the U.S. we don't have this much transparency in terms of where government grants go.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:14pm

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

                  Yeah, you might be right there. We did not account for the differences in location.

                  Their financial statements are pretty easy to find. Just pick a pharm company and go to investor relations. Most of them have their annual reports listed.

                  But I think I know how drug companies are avoiding reporting the support. The Levamisole thing was interesting. The drug was developed at the Mayo clinic using NIH money. Once the drug was developed, Dr. Moertel apparently gave Johnson & Johnson the technology. I am little fuzzy on why and how, but Johnson & Johnson did not report nor did they have to report the money spent by the NIH. Very sneaky.

                  Essentially, the public did not get the full benefit of the money spent on the research.

                   

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:43pm

        Re: Re:

        And Taxol is a good example of this.

        " The government agency NCI gave BMS a contract which provided the private firm with exclusive rights to use the data from government funded human use clinical trials, and also gave the firm an exclusive "first right of refusal" to harvest the bark of the Pacific Yew tree from federal lands. In return for these privileges and benefits, BMS only agreed to provide the government with a few kilos of Taxol for use in research that BMS would "own," and to use BMS's "best efforts" to commercialize Taxol, a drug with world wide sales of hundreds of millions of dollars per year. BMS was not obligated to pay the government any money in royalties for the exclusive use of its research data, but it did agree to a vaguely written "fair pricing" clause in the contract.

        When Taxol entered the U.S. market it was priced at a wholesale price of $4.87 per milligram, or more than $9,000 for a completed treatment for some types of cancer."

        http://www.cptech.org/pharm/bariloche.html

        Again, this is a completely messed up intellectual property system and only shows that intellectual property is not doing a darn thing to help fund pharmaceuticals. The government, by and large, funds pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical corporations reap the benefits of the patents. So the stupid argument that intellectual property is needed for pharmaceutical corporations to fund research is absolute nonsense since it is mostly the government that funds their research and the pharmaceutical corporations that reap the benefits of patents.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I (along with several other people) are still awaiting information that shows what percentage of pharmaceutical development is funded by the government. I have seen numbers showing how much "medical research" is funded by the government, but that research extends from basic research to devices to studies of drugs that are no longer patented or that have never been patented. For example, the government is spending billions to study vitamins and herbal solutions. So, given that the NIH is spending $38 billion per year on "medical research," and we know that billions are going to non-pharmaceutical research, just how much is going TO pharm research? Does anyone know the answer?

          As for this being a "completely messed up intellectual property system," note that the FDA has refused to allow a competitor produce Taxol and (to the best of my knowledge) has refused to provide a reasoning behind that refusal. That has nothing to do with intellectual property and everything to do with the role of the FDA in approving pharmaceuticals. So, if any is "messed up," it is how the FDA approves applications to produce pharmaceuticals.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "As for this being a "completely messed up intellectual property system," note that the FDA has refused to allow a competitor produce Taxol"

            This, in effect, is a patent, even if you label it otherwise. It's a government granted monopoly.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 1:26pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No, it is not a patent. It was never administered by the USPTO and does not fit under the aegis of either 35 USC or 37 CFR. When the FDA refuses to grant permission to a corporation to make a drug, they may have effectively granted a monopoly, but that does not make it a patent by any stretch of the imagination.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

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

                "No, it is not a patent. ... but that does not make it a patent by any stretch of the imagination."

                No, it is a patent, you are just labeling it something else.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

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

                  What is a patent, a patent is a government sanctioned monopoly. That's what this is, not much difference. The effects are the same, the incentives it creates for corruption are the same.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 2:54pm

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

                    A patent is a right guaranteed by the Constitution under 35 USC and 37 CFR. While FDA approval of a drug manufacturer may have a similar effect, the two process involve different agencies and different laws, and the routes to challenge each is completely different.

                    As for "incentives for corruption," I would suspect that while lying to the USPTO can get you spanked, lying to the FDA can send you to prison, possibly for murder.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:37pm

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

                      You mean when Bayer sold Aids Tainted blood and the FDA allowed it and no one got arrested. Or when Vioxx lied about their data and censored data and no one got arrested.

                       

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 2:55pm

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

                  Patents are covered by the Constitution and specific laws under 35 USC and 37 CFR. FDA approval is completely different and separate. Even if patents did not exist, FDA approval would.

                   

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "we know that billions are going to non-pharmaceutical research"

            How many billions? We already know that 92 percent of cancer drugs were developed with federal funding.

            So you complain that there is a lack of government transparency, that we're not getting the exact numbers of how much money goes to what (though there is a lot of evidence that the government substantially funds pharmaceuticals). I think that a lot of this public funding goes into patented products where the firm reaps the benefits of the patent. Prove me wrong. Where is the government transparency? Clearly, the patent system is not encouraging government transparency. Perhaps the reason the level of transparency that you ask for doesn't exist is because special interest groups don't want people to know how much the government funds patented products. Why should a monopoly want government transparency when that will simply anger voters if they don't like the results? They want to justify their patents by claiming that they fund R&D with the profits but patents give incentive to exaggerate the R&D that they spend and to lie about how much of it is government funded. We should eliminate this incentive.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Here is an example of this.

              "In response to our criticisms of the price, BMS made a number of what appears to be rather common exaggerations about its role in the development of Taxol. For example, BMS claimed that it had spent more than $114 million to "develop" Taxol, but the company refused to provide any specific accounting of how this was calculated. It turned out that most of this money was simply the long term drug supply contracts that BMS had signed with Hauser and other companies, it would be highly misleading to refer to these production contracts as R&D investments. "

              http://www.cptech.org/pharm/bariloche.html

              So the FDA grants what's, in effect, a patents (they just call it something else) and these corporations lie about their R&D research. Why should we trust these pharmaceuticals to tell us the truth? Of course they're going to lie, they have to justify their patents. Lets remove the incentive for them to lie.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Seriously, why don't we have access to this data. How much government funding goes into funding pharmaceuticals, how much of that goes into funding patented pharmaceuticals where the firms reap the benefits of the patents? Where is the transparency?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 1:22pm

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

                I absolutely agree. In fact, every time I ask for this information I get conspiracy theories and doublespeak. I am starting to think that either the people claiming all this support are outright lying, or they are deluded. Regardless, I would love to see where this support is detailed. The vagueness of these reports regarding government support is disturbing and makes me doubt anything the people claiming this support. What axe do they have to grind that they would want to mislead so many people rather than take the opportunity to present a clear, coherent and definitive case?

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:04pm

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

                  "I am starting to think that either the people claiming all this support are outright lying, or they are deluded."

                  Then why isn't this information publicly available if there is no conspiracy? What have they got to hide? Conspiracies do happen, they have happened many times in the past and continue to do so, so we're not deluded. Prove to us that we are deluded or lying. You are making an accusation, prove it.

                   

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:05pm

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

                  Bayer gets away with selling Aids Tainted blood, the FDA allows it, and no one gets arrested. Why should I believe we are deluded? Why should I trust these pharmaceutical corporations or the government? Conspiracies happen and we should assume mistrust and create a system that proves trust. We need as much transparency as possible.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:07pm

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

                    and the only reason for for opposing a system that assumes mistrust and proves trust is if the government or someone has something to hide. Otherwise they should have no problems with complete transparency.

                     

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:08pm

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

                    Prove to me that I should trust these people. PROVE IT!!! I have ZERO reason to trust them, they have to EARN my trust and I have GOOD reason not to trust them.

                     

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:17pm

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

                  "What axe do they have to grind that they would want to mislead so many people rather than take the opportunity to present a clear, coherent and definitive case?"

                  You want absolute proof. What you come up with as proof for your case is nonsense. For example, just the other day one of you pro patent people asserted that threads with the most posts get the most traffic and since anti patent threads tend to get the most posts ( Jun 11th, 2009 @ 7:30pm ), it probably gets the most traffic. Based on this you tried to assert that if there were really so many bad patents Mike would post a lot more because he wants more traffic. Of course this is nonsense, there is no reason to believe posts necessarily correlate with posts. But to you, based on nothing, that's enough proof for you to make such a suggestion. Then Mike proves you wrong. But for someone else to make a much more plausible suggestion, you demand absolute proof. Your level of proof for opposing views is MUCH HIGHER than the level of proof that you require for your own views. You assert that artists benefit from these collection agencies with little to no evidence whatsoever. You assert that without patents innovation would slow down with very little evidence. Yet you demand us to prove you wrong with absolute definitive proof.

                  Secondly, it's not our fault that our current corrupt system doesn't provide the transparency to give you the exact numbers that you are looking for. The numbers it does give indicate that a lot of pharmaceuticals are funded by government grants. So it's not a large leap to deduce that a lot of that money goes into drugs that pharmaceutical corporations receive patents to. After all, if there is no conspiracy why the lack of transparency? That alone should raise questions.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:18pm

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

                    sp/Of course this is nonsense, there is no reason to believe posts necessarily correlate with posts./Of course this is nonsense, there is no reason to believe posts necessarily correlate with traffic.

                     

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 6:47pm

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

                    This comment makes no sense. The NIH, which I discern is the agency where the money comes from, is a public agency. I have to presume that the FOIA would allow someone to dissect their budget to figure out what is being funded. Conversely, if a public company is receiving government grants, that should show up in one of the public filings since sources of revenue must be disclosed.

                     

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:23pm

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

                  Also found this interesting.

                  http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/2007/04/neuroscience_breakthrough_tech.php

                  An example of an advancement that was made using tax dollars yet, "It is perhaps no surprise that intellectual-property disputes are looming."

                  "In a development that is likely to raise more pressing questions about reform of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network (GISN), an international patent application has surfaced in which the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and US National Institutes of Health claim ownership of Indonesian influenza genes.

                  A recent patent search has revealed that the CDC, which is a WHO collaborating centre, is applying for a patent for a new vaccine against influenza, particularly for bird flu (H5N1).
                  ...
                  Under US law, the US government agencies would offer licenses to the technology to pharmaceutical companies."

                  http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/2008/08/cdc_and_st_judes_worse_than_in.php

                  S o these government funded entities get to apply for patents and then they choose which pharmaceutical corporations can use the technology by issuing licenses (or at least charging for licenses).

                   

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 1:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              We know that 92% of cancer drugs were developed with government money?

              Okay, how many patents are there on these drugs?

              Who holds the patents?

              Where is the documentation showing that the government provided the 92% of the support for the development of the cancer drugs?

              Thank you.

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

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

                "Where is the documentation showing that the government provided the 92% of the support for the development of the cancer drugs?"

                I already gave the documentation

                http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2001/08/15/drug-war.aspx

                "Oka y, how many patents are there on these drugs?"

                I would like to know, where is the transparency? What drugs are they? Why should they hide this information from the public if they have nothing to hide?

                 

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              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:40pm

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

                "Who holds the patents?"

                The link I linked to says

                "That is, the drugs that were developed with government funding were 3 times as expensive as the drugs developed without government funding. In 1991, the most recent year of the study, drugs developed with federal funding were over 11 times more expensive than drugs developed without federal funding."

                http://www.mercola.com/2001/aug/15/drug_war.htm

                I highly doubt the drugs would be so expensive unless there was some sort of monopoly (ie: a patent).

                 

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:11pm

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

                  Given that drugs developed without government funding are also patented, then patents are not the common factor here, government funding is. It seems like the moral here is that the government should stop funding the developement of drugs. Either that, or any drugs developed by the government should be provided equally to all drug manufacturers. I would bet that Teva would love to produce such drugs cost effectively.

                   

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                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 10:36pm

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

                    "any drugs developed by the government should be provided equally to all drug manufacturers."

                    In other words, any drug funded with government funding should not be patented.

                    "Rx3 Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an anti-infective drug discovery company, announced today that it has recently been awarded two new grants totaling $1.5 million." (2006)

                    http://www.biospace.com/news_story.aspx?NewsEntityId=30983

                    Not sure to what degree the results turned out to be proprietary (though it's not hard to believe that they yield patents for the company. More transparency on this would be helpful).

                    "LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BioSante Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: BPAX) announced today that the company has been awarded a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the company's development of formulations for the pulmonary delivery of interferon alpha (IFN-α) using its proprietary calcium phosphate nanoparticulate (CaP) technology." (2008)

                    http://www.fiercebiotech.com/press-releases/biosante-pharmaceuticals-announces-receipt-nih -grant-inhaled-interferon

                    Since it's using it's already existing proprietary product there is a good chance that the outcome is also proprietary as well.

                     

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  •  
    identicon
    staff1, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    scam

    "Shafer also has hired his own lawyer and is pushing forward to invalidate ABL's patents. He's also been learning more and more about how such patents are all too often used against their stated purpose, and how, rather than encouraging innovation, they're being used to stifle it and (more importantly) to put lives at risk."

    i dont get it. all stanford had to do was post a warning on their site and this researcher is suing the patent holder on his own. sounds fishy. where is he getting the money for attys? sounds like a scam by large serial infringers who are trying to use this as an excuse to gut the patent system.

    patent reform is a fraud on America...
    please see http://truereform.piausa.org/ for a different/opposing view on patent reform

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:11am

      Re: scam

      "i dont get it."

      I get it. This doctor created a useful product that the patent holder did not create and now he's being sued for no reason. The patent is harming innovation and that's not good.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:13am

      Re: scam

      "where is he getting the money for attys?"

      So then you admit that defending against bogus patents is an expensive process that most people can't afford. In other words, anyone suing for bogus patents can extort money out of people in a settlement or they can sue them out of existence.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:15am

        Re: Re: scam

        and seriously, now that you admit this is expensive, why would he spend the money to do this if he didn't think he was doing the right thing? It's not a scam, he's the one getting sued, not the other way around, chances are he never heard of the patent, not that he intentionally infringed on it. I don't buy that nonsense, if he had known of the patent it only would have prevented him from conducting the research which would have harmed innovation, he won't open himself up to an expensive lawsuit.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Here is another example of our corrupt patent system (same link as above)

    An NIH funded study found a way that the drug could be used to treat colon cancer. However, the "patent" rights to the "idea" of using Levamisole to treat cancer were owned by the drug company Johnson and Johnson (J&J), even though the principal researcher on the project described the company's contribution to the research as trivial - just supplying the drugs for the clinical trials. When Levamisole entered the market for humans, it was priced at $6 per pill, a 100 fold increase in the price, and a difficult burden for many of the patients who take the drug regularly, many without the benefit of health insurance coverage.

    http://www.cptech.org/pharm/bariloche.html

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:09pm

      Re:

      This story is true and accurate. Dr. Charles Moertel from the Mayo Clinic developed the cancer use of the drug using NIH money. Johnson & Johnson's only argument was that they supposedly spent a lot of money researching Levamisole for use as a cancer drug (which remains unproven). Regardless, the FDA quickly approved the use of Levamisole as a colon cancer drug based on Moertel's research, not Johnson & Johnson. The primary question is whether the government should have permitted Johnson & Johnson to take possession of a drug the application of which was largely funded by the NIH. Furthermore, and the worst thing of all, the drug cost pennies per pill prior to evidence that it worked on colon cancer, and the price exploded to $5 or $6 per pill for use in cancer treatment. Tsk, tsk.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 3:43pm

    Another example of our corrupt patent system.

    "The first two fair price agreements were for Taxol and a separate agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb to market the AIDS drug ddI, a drug patented by NIH and licensed to Bristol-Myers Squibb on an exclusive basis for ten years. "

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2001/08/15/drug-war2.aspx

    The NIH (taxpayers) funded R&D, patented the drug, and allowed a private entity exclusive rights to it.

     

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    identicon
    Wingman, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    Documentation

    Point out what?
    ...blah blah blah...
    (1) Create drawings
    (2) (Optional) Analyze, model or create additional documentation.
    (3) Build prototype or model.
    (4) Modify prototype or model as needed.
    (5) Update drawings to reflect modification.

    Now, would you care to provide support for any other viewpoint?


    Sure, for a real engineer it might generally go more like this:

    1. Obtain objective, specifications (document)
    2. Analyze problem (document)
    3. Develop/refine/optimize solution (document)
    4. Verify solution (document) (analysis, simulation, modeling)
    5. If results are not satisfactory, go back to step 3.
    6. If there is to be a prototype phase, go on to next step, else go to end.
    7. Build prototype (document)
    8. Test prototype (document)
    9. Analyze results (document)
    10. If results are satisfactory, go to end, else back to step 3.
    11. End: Produce deliverables (usually documents)

    Note that this is not a "seat of the pants" affair and analysis is not "optional". Also note the absence of ad hoc, undocumented prototype testing and modification. A step is not complete until the documentation for that step is complete. As for testing, there is a whole specialty of engineering sometimes used called "test engineering" employing specialized test engineers.

    My friend relayed this little story to me about the importance real engineers are taught to place on documentation.

    When he was in engineering school lab classes they had to keep lab notebooks documenting their work. The notebooks had sewn bindings and preprinted sequential page numbers so that pages could not be inserted or removed without detection. At the beginning of each lab session (and projects could take several sessions, lasting weeks in all) the student had to date the session and describe the objective and the planned procedure for that session. During the session the student had to note any changes to the plan before making the change and note all significant observations. In other words, they were to document everything before doing it and then document the results. At the end of each session the student had to sign and date it and get the TA on duty (or other faculty) to witness and sign it also. So there was always a verifiable paper trail of their work. The department made it very clear that the students were being taught what would be expected of them as engineers after graduation and anything less would be considered unprofessional.

    To show that they were serious, TAs (and sometimes even a prof) would occasionally walk up behind a busy student and ask them what they were doing, and the answer had better match what the TA/prof was seeing. Then they would then pick up the students lab notebook and see if it was up to date with what was being done. If not, the notebook was confiscated and the student was told to start over with the entire project. This was significant because the student might have already have invested weeks of work on the project that would now have to be repeated (and it was a struggle to complete projects in the time allotted to begin with). That was for a first offense. Second offense was said to get a an automatic F on the project and a third offense got an automatic F in the course for unprofessional behavior. He said he knew of a couple of students who got caught on the first offense, but never heard of any second or third offenders. And he said that engineering programs are usually rigorous like that (and I'm not even going into what he said about senior level design reviews that could bring students to tears). The typical engineering student entering the program he was in had come from the top 1 or 2 percent of their graduating high school class and the vast majority of them still washed out, never to make it as engineers. Again, typical of most programs.

    And true to his training, this was something he practiced after he graduated and throughout his career. Later, as an engineering manager, engineers working for him didn't make it very far with poor documentation either. There was one who desperately wanted to be transferred to a prestigious new project dealing with the space program. He was technically qualified, but due to poor documentation habits he was denied. He also encountered situations in which technicians took it upon themselves to make design changes and "improvements" and then later tried to pin it on the engineers. Lack of preceding documentation is what caught them.

    Now some of the commenters here have claimed that engineers commonly design and build stuff without the preceding documentation (which would of course include analysis, calculations, observations, procedures, etc.) and then kind of go back and fill in the documentation later. A prototype change is a design change. Some have even claimed to be actual engineers themselves working in such an ad hoc fashion. Considering the story above, I find that a little hard to believe and think anyone who had actually been through such a program would know that. A pretender might not grasp it.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2009 @ 9:24pm

      Re: Documentation

      You need to show me where anyone here claimed engineers build stuff without documentation. The only one that seems to be making this statement is you.

      Incidentally, you do know that engineers do make changes to prototypes and models without changing the documentation first, right?

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Bob Whitmore, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 2:33am

        Re: Re: Documentation

        Incidentally, you do know that engineers do make changes to prototypes and models without changing the documentation first, right?


        From what I read above, probably not very good ones. But I guess you've probably got a few duds in every profession. That wouldn't make it common though.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 5:11am

          Re: Re: Re: Documentation

          From what I read above, probably not very good ones. But I guess you've probably got a few duds in every profession. That wouldn't make it common though.

          I work in a very large company that employs somewhere around 1,000 engineers. I did a quick survey of about a dozen engineers and asked them the same question: Do you make changes to physical prototypes or models and update the drawings later?

          The answer I got was that every one of them had made a change to at least one physical model or prototype without updating at least drawings first. Many had done so without consulting the analytical model, but they thought, knowing the analytical model, that making the change would not compromise the design or functionality.

          All of them also said that the physical models or prototypes nearly always needed modifications to work for a variety of reasons. Either something was machined improperly or something was missed or miscalculated in the design.

          All of them also thought that trial and error, while not desirable, was in fact still necessary and still used.

          So, based on a limited survey, I guess most engineers are duds.

           

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 5:42am

      Re: Documentation

      Marketing: Provide objective and initial specifications

      Engineering:

      1. Create Drawings
      a. Analyze problem
      b. Develop a solution
      2. Analyze solution
      a. FEA
      b. CFD
      c. Bending moments
      d. Sheer strength
      e. Interferences
      f. Tolerance analysis
      g. Others as needed
      h. Performance analysis
      i. Theoretical inputs and outputs
      ii. Theoretical efficiencies
      iii. Theoretical life
      iv. Proposed maintenance intervals
      3. Refine and Optimize the solution based on the results of step 2. Iterate steps 2 and 3 as needed to obtain a solution that meets the objective.
      4. (Optional) Build model(s)
      a. Procure components
      b. Modify model, if needed
      c. Analyze, test and review components.
      d. Modify model, if needed
      5. Use results of 4 to verify, to the extent possible, steps 2 and 3, and to update documentation in steps 1, 2, and 3.
      6. Build prototype(s)
      a. Procure components
      b. Measure prototype components
      c. Machine, as needed prototype components
      d. Test individual components, if needed
      e. Assemble components, modify components if needed
      f. Test assembly
      i. Life tests
      ii. Cycle tests
      iii. Environmental tests
      iv. Harsh duty tests
      v. Specialized tests for specific products
      7. Analyze results of step 6 (typically ongoing).
      8. Determine whether documentation of steps 1, 2, and 3 need revised to correct problems or to reflect changes made during testing. Repeat all steps until a satisfactory solution to the original objective is obtained.
      9. Present solution to marketing.

      Marketing: Approve solution to the objective.

      Engineering & Operations: Transition product into production, which is another set of details.

      Are we going to do a Gantt chart next?

       

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  •  
    icon
    Deer (profile), Sep 4th, 2009 @ 1:40pm

    Broken

    There is something badly broken with the patent system when something so broad can be patented, and so obvious.

     

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


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