Want Healthcare Reform That Works? Get Rid Of Patents

from the and-watch-innovation-flow dept

Economist David Levine (author of the book Against Intellectual Monopoly) has a column up at the Huffington Post, where he explains why abolishing pharma patents would be a great way to reform healthcare. He runs through many of the arguments against such a move, and explains why they don't make much sense:
But, perhaps, without all those extra monopoly profits we wouldn't have such great new products? The fact is there aren't so many great new products - a well known fact among health economists is that while big pharma's spending has soared the last decade, as patent control has tightened, drug discovery has plummeted. Pharmaceutical innovation is not lower in Europe, despite of big pharma's lower monopoly profits. While the market for pharmaceuticals is now largely a global one, so local rules may not be so important, this was less true in the past. Historically, before pharmaceutical patents were introduced in Italy in 1978, that country accounted for about 8% of new pharmaceutical discoveries worldwide. After the industry was strangled by patents, that percentage dropped to practically zero. Switzerland, a powerhouse in the world drug industry, introduced pharmaceutical patents at about the same time. While Switzerland's fall has not been as dramatic as Italy's, it too is much less of a powerhouse today than it was before 1977.

Patents do not seem to lead to the innovation their proponents claim. The list of examples goes on and on: the discovery of the one-dose HIV cocktail that replaced the complicated multi-pill regime? That took place in India a country that at that time did not allow pharmaceutical patents. Of the fifteen great medical milestones recently identified by the British Medical Journal - only two were patented or could be attributed to the "incentive" that patents supposedly provide. Numerous technical studies by economists of the effect of stronger patents on innovation have failed to find any consistent increase. Put it plainly: while the social gains from abolishing patents on drugs are obvious and computable, the losses are dubious and, on the basis of empirical evidence, probably nil.

Pharmaceutical patents and the resulting monopolies have many other corrosive effects, over and above raising the prices of prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies spend far more money promoting their products than on R&D. Some of the giants spend as much as four times on marketing as they do on research and development. How do these companies market their products? Most of the money goes to "scientifically convincing" the medical profession to prescribe patented products. How? Well, for example, by inviting doctors and their families to week-long conferences in exclusive resorts, where two hours are for a marketing presentation (the "medical symposium") and the rest for (all-included) leisure. A spectacular - but hardly unique - example of the level of corruption is the conviction of Pfizer for encouraging doctors to bill the government for drugs they were provided for free. These practices not only raise the cost of drugs, but corrode trust in the medical profession.
He also goes on to suggest some other ways to lower the costs of "drug development," as well. There's probably not much new in there if you've read his book, but it's a good, straightforward description of the problem with pharma patents. While the writing is a bit flippant, if you go through the related chapter in Levine's book, and then start reading some of the other source material and studies, it's all backed up quite strongly. There's almost no evidence that patents do anything to promote more drug discovery -- and plenty to suggest it makes medicines significantly more expensive. Ditching pharma patents would make a much more efficient market in drugs that would end up saving a lot of lives.


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    Ryan, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    What's that saying? Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!

    His argument is flawed for multiple reasons and I suspect the guy is also an anticapitalist but here goes..

    The HIV cocktail that he mentioned that was created in India is in fact accurate but it was based off of drugs that were created, tested and commercialized as a result of the patent system. So really it was leaky copyright protection that resulted in this cocktail.

    Perhaps his argument should be for leaky copyright protection or shorter patents, either would make more sense than no patent system at all!

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 1:50pm

      Re: What's that saying? Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!

      His argument is flawed for multiple reasons and I suspect the guy is also an anticapitalist but here goes..

      Heh. You should read David's writing. He's about as strongly pro-capitalist as any economist I know... and that's saying a lot.

      The HIV cocktail that he mentioned that was created in India is in fact accurate but it was based off of drugs that were created, tested and commercialized as a result of the patent system. So really it was leaky copyright protection that resulted in this cocktail.

      I think you mean patents, not copyright, but I think you're overstating the case to claim that they were created *as a result* of the patent system.

      Perhaps his argument should be for leaky copyright protection or shorter patents, either would make more sense than no patent system at all!

      Again, if you read through the full argument, he explains why that doesn't make much sense either.

       

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      Ryan, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

      Re: What's that saying? Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!

      Patents are not an artifact of capitalism, unless you mean crony capitalism. True capitalism lies in cutthroat market competition that is won by convincing consumers to choose your product or service over viable alternatives. It ideally incentivizes not only investing resources in innovative or progressive ventures and then capitalizing on the profit(or suffering the losses), but re-investing the profits in order to retain market share.

      While a necessary part of that reward is entitlement to personal property, patents are not property; rather, they are a government edict restricting the actions competitors can do with their own property. It seems that a lot of patent supporters are of the idea that restrictive intellectual property laws are synonymous with capitalism and free society when they are anything but.

       

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        FixedThatForYa, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 5:39pm

        Re: Re: What's that saying? Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!

        True capitalism lies in cutthroat anti-competitive behavior that is won by screwing consumers into your product or service instead of a potentially better product at a better price

         

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          mobiGeek (profile), Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:31am

          Re: Re: Re: What's that saying? Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!

          No, screwing your customers is one approach to trying to win market share. This isn't any more true than a company that takes the long-term view of better quality, more openness. Customers will pick the winner in the end. If lower price but closed and locked in is what they want, fine. However, if they value openness (or whatever) the other will win.

          Of course, both competitors can win too. It is just that many crony capitalists don't believe they have "won" until there is just them left standing...

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: What's that saying? Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!

            There is nothing wrong with capitalism but what we have now is government granted everything (ie: patents = government granted monopolies, rights of way granted in order to limit competition so that the price of bandwidth in the U.S. has little relationship to the cost of bandwidth while in other countries everyone is surpassing us as a result, etc...).

             

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      Richard, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 9:53pm

      Re: What's that saying? Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!

      Theres nothing sacred about capitalism. It has failed many times, and if you think that its the engine of the US Economy your out of your mind..

      The fact is, capitalism cannot work without heavy regulation in large economies. Catch 22 is that with heavy regulation its no longer capitalism ... I guess you could say that it scales poorly. I think were on the verge of finally becoming the victims of our own greed as china starts looking at us with that pimp smile.

       

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 2:28pm

    Thoughts

    The interesting aspect of the healthcare reform debate has been the hilighting of two polar opposite interests: Big Pharma / Healthcare industry on one side, and the general public or patients on the other. What has become abundantly clear throughout this whole endeavor, regardless of what side of the debate you're on, is that Pharma and the healthcare industry don't want change, and if given the option, they'll choose the least amount of change possible.

    While the abolition of pharma patents would go a long ways to reducing overall costs created by inflated drug prices, corruption of the medical field, and wasteful spending on marketing, I think you'll see major industry opt for a dumbed down version of universal healthcare instead under the notion that at least if they only have to compete or operate within the government they'll be able to control that competition through campaign contributions and/or simply getting their own people, such as former executives or board members, elected.

    Unfortunately, instead of having a useful discourse on a variety of options, which would include this as an example, we've been reduced to name calling (the whole "Obama is a Nazi" one is my favorite) and spewed rhetoric from both sides.

    There are times when what the general public needs is a series of lectures college-style on what the options are that's out there, along with their potential pros and cons. Sadly, I'm not sure people would "go to class", so to speak.

     

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      Mike C. (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 3:18pm

      Re: Thoughts

      The interesting aspect of the healthcare reform debate has been the hilighting of two polar opposite interests: Big Pharma / Healthcare industry on one side, and the general public or patients on the other. What has become abundantly clear throughout this whole endeavor, regardless of what side of the debate you're on, is that Pharma and the healthcare industry don't want change, and if given the option, they'll choose the least amount of change possible.

      This is a complete tangent, but do you realize you've basically descibed Newton's 1st law...

      In the absence of a net external force, a body either is at rest or moves with constant velocity.

       

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      Ryan, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 4:30pm

      Re: Thoughts

      The interesting aspect of the healthcare reform debate has been the hilighting of two polar opposite interests: Big Pharma / Healthcare industry on one side, and the general public or patients on the other.

      This is how I see the debate portrayed as by Democrats, but the dichotomy I've noticed has been between supporters of government takeover of the health care sector and its detractors. The struggle is more of a three-way conflict between Big Pharma in one corner, Big Brother in another, and the public in the third; most of the White House's highlighted policy proposals thus far have been overwhelmingly in favor of Big Brother, while the clash comes as the public and the industry each decide how these changes will help or hurt themselves. Big Pharma, for instance, is not opposed to many of the proposals such as mandated insurance, which will only bring the incumbents with hands deep in politicians' pockets that much more money in the long run.

      Unfortunately, instead of having a useful discourse on a variety of options, which would include this as an example, we've been reduced to name calling (the whole "Obama is a Nazi" one is my favorite) and spewed rhetoric from both sides.

      There are times when what the general public needs is a series of lectures college-style on what the options are that's out there, along with their potential pros and cons. Sadly, I'm not sure people would "go to class", so to speak.


      I agree with this for the most part; both sides generally morph their logic to justify their predefined conclusions, which were themselves derived from party doctrine. Republicans mention a lot of reasons for opposition that are mere talking points, dropping buzzwords such as "socialism" and "death panels" left and right; however, though they are often ignorant to some degree or another of precisely why such may be the case, I think their assertions are generally correct, oversensationalized as they may be.

      Democrats, in my experience, seem to define "useful discourse" as any debate that ultimately gels with their idealistic normativeness. There are many better fixes for the current state of health care than top-down federal mandates and regulations, at least if your definition of success hinges on the long-term benefit to the greatest number of people. I have read about many great alternatives to improve competition such as eliminating federal incentives for employer-provided insurance, allowing interstate insurance policies, relaxing medical licensing restrictions that curb the supply of care providers, etc. that are not discussed by public option/single payer/government mandate supporters.

      I don't think it a series of lectures is gonna do much for anybody, because it all comes down to who teaches the class. Ultimately, that would just devolve into a conflict of interest between party rhetoric. I think what's needed is general education of the underlying methodology from objective and generalized sources, followed by opinions derived independent of political influence. Neither primary side seems to ever make a truly knowledgeable examination of the economics and residual effects, both want wanted and unwanted, intended and unintended. Obviously, I'm for free market solutions because I've read a lot on economics and the success when government is truly isolated from decision-making, so take from this what you will. But I think the decisive impediment to objective debate is not ignorance, which is incidental, but the human tendency to join in groupthink and to warp our logic to support our desired conclusions.

       

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        Reed, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 8:55pm

        Re: Re: More Thoughts

        "I think their assertions are generally correct, oversensationalized as they may be."

        So then Obama really is a socialist at heart that secretly wants to kill old people? lol!

        I agree that both sides are missing many key issues in the debate.

        Relaxing medical licensing would make a difference and I am all for it. Many duties that doctors and nurse preform could be done much more cheaply and still be safe. Letting skilled staff do these things would save a lot of money.

        Interstate insurance policies... Not unless we make it so they can't deny people. The only thing more scary than big government is big corporation. Could you imagine one insurance company to rule them all? (Shudder)

        I think elimination of patents is another logical step in the right direction. Would save money all around and researching could always go the way of non-profit if corporations can't make enough money.

        Honestly though why can't we just "adopt" an already successful model from another country. Just pick the one that's the best and copy them. If we can do the incredible things we have I think we can handle a simple copy job. This idea in the US that we have to re-invent the round wheel with the new patented "square wheel" is getting old real fast.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 5:24am

        Re: Re: Thoughts

        "government takeover of the health care sector"

        LOL

         

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    John (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Doesn't make sense

    I see the argument, however it appears that he's making it specifically because tax payers fund the R&D. Although my google skills forsake me at the moment, I know that not all drugs are paid for by tax payers.

    I agree that if tax payers pay for the drug research, drug companies should not be able to patent it and reap all the benefits. But along that vein, why are those companies allowed to make a dime on something they didn't pay to create? He didn't go that far in the article, but it is the logical next step. Drug companies essentially become arms of the gov't, and since they have no skin on the line, why should they benefit?

    However, if a company invests 100% of the funds into a project, then they deserve all the benefit, and I can't argue against patents there. I invest money in creating something. The second it's on the market, someone's reverse engineering it so they can sell it for far less money then I can (if I ever want to earn a profit). I would have no incentive to invest or create if I wasn't afforded some protection.

    I don't buy the author's argument that patents don't work. I have to agree with the above commenter... when private companies invest 100% of the money, they should be awarded a patent. You can make an argument for shorter patents, but not abolishing them.

     

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      hegemon13, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 3:14pm

      Re: Doesn't make sense

      "The second it's on the market, someone's reverse engineering it so they can sell it for far less money then I can."

      Really? How? Reverse-engineering a drug is not easy. A drug is not just its ingredients. Often, a very complicated manufacturing process is used. So, if you have the process in place, you are already way ahead of the competition, with or without a patent. Sure, drug companies won't be able to charge the obscene prices they do now and remain competitive. But, they will still have the first-to-market advantage, and the even bigger advantage that, while others are scrambling to reverse-engineer their work, they can spend their time improving on it to create an even better product. If you do this, you become the brand people trust, regardless of price.

      Want proof? Look at Bayer. Why would a person spend four to five times as much as generic for aspirin, one of the most easily-available drugs on the planet? Because they trust a brand name for quality. Outside of pharma, look at companies like Monster, who can sell a product for more than 10x the competition because of a public perception of quality. Neither of those is about patents.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 5:26am

      Re: Doesn't make sense

      "when private companies invest 100% of the money"

      Does this happen? If it does, it not the norm

       

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    Paul (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    This is a GREAT idea....

    ... if for no other reason than it is simple to state, simple to understand, and can be implemented regardless of any general or overall health reform.

    And it makes absolute sense. Patents are being used to block innovation rather than encourage innovation. And while 20 years might be a reasonable time to wait to get improved snowboarding bindings at a reasonable price, getting life saving drugs at a reasonable price cannot wait so long.

    Not to mention how tying up drugs by patents hurts people in poorer countries because the big Pharm doesn't make drugs they need because there is little money in doing so, and uses their patents to insure nobody else does either.

    Besides, if you are going to make health care cheaper, you are going to have to make it more competitive. You can't make Pharm more competitive if you keep strong monopoly rights over drugs.

    You want a solution, turn Capitalism loose on the problem. Isn't that want Republicans at least claim to want to do?

     

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      Capt Obvious, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 5:28am

      Re: This is a GREAT idea....

      "Isn't that want Republicans at least claim to want to do?"

      As with any politician, what they say and what they do are almost always two completely different things

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 2:54pm

    Modern science has of course better ways of extracting the active principals of drugs and of course has discovered numerous ways of synthesizing new substances of extreme power, but the actual discovery of these naturally occurring things was made by primitive man who knows how many centuries ago.

    There is for example, in the underneath the, lake dwellings of the early Neolithic that have been dug up in Switzerland we have found poppy-heads, which looks as though people were already using this most ancient and powerful and dangerous of narcotics, even before the days of the rise of agriculture.

    So that man was apparently a dope-bag addict before he was a farmer, which is a very curious comment on human nature.

    ~Aldous Huxley, 1962


    However, patents, and the pharmacological processes that have been put in place in modern times has proven very powerful, and profitable, for a select few.

    I have doubts, however, that the current expression of today's pharmacological process, inclusive of various enforcement agencies including the FDA have outgrown their original public charter, and instead add additional overhead as a way to ensure the healthcare industry as a whole, such that they do not overtake the power of the layman.

    If the public contract and charter was not violated, I have serious doubts that an "industry of care" would exist in it's current form today with it's powerful lobby and roadblocking attempts instead of nicking and diming via methods of pre-existing conditions and denial of their product, "care", in general.

    Thusly, it's difficult to reciprocate and have "care" for this industry. In the near term, an option which re-baselines the intangible value of "care" in the interest of the public should be a paramount goal.

    But yes, as David Levine points out, in his poignant article, patents and their ability to economically strong-arm a faster, more agile competitor out of the market may be a largely contributing factor to many of the issues we see today... Not just in healthcare.

    Our productivity in terms of goods has fallen off a cliff since economic exploitation of other countries has become the de facto method of so many businesses.

    Discovery Channel has a great show called "America's Ports" and it's often shown how we have ships coming in from the Pacific Rim filled with toys and other plastic items, yet we so often deadhead the ships back.

    As one person on this show said: "We are the largest exporter of air". This in itself is unsustainable. Anything to re-balance the economy such that products and goods can balance out services should be pursued. The current handling of Patents and Copyrights are a major roadblock for many.

     

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    Derek Reed, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 3:44pm

    Societal Benefit

    Fuck the societal benefit of releasing currently patented drugs to people at lower prices.

    I want the societal benefit of being able freaking build on top of existing research to make new drugs. Why is this not the main argument? Why is this a tangent or irrelevant? This is what's killing people. Not being able to treat a disease with weak drugs is small compared to not be able to cure a disease with new drugs.

    From what I read of Grootendorst and Levine, they both gloss over this.

     

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      Bill, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 10:10pm

      Re: Societal Benefit

      I want the societal benefit of being able freaking build on top of existing research to make new drugs.

      As pointed out in the column, pharmaceutical research is done by universities using grants that mostly come from your tax dollars, so eliminating patents will not kill off research of new medical discoveries. On the contrary, the lack of patents will mean that inventors won't have to wade through the current patent minefield in order to innovate. It will cost less to develop a new medicine due to not having to worry about paying royalties to umpteen-thousand patent holders. Where the royalties would have been prohibitively costly, it would allow new medicines to come to fruition (with as many ingredients as needed) that would have been impossible before. Overall, your tax dollars would go further and would be able to fund even more research.

      This doesn't even take into account the creativity that would be unleashed by loosening restrictions on which research can be built upon and which cannot.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 5:22am

        Re: Re: Societal Benefit

        I am unsure of where you got your "facts," but medicine research is exempt under patent laws. Thus, innovation can happen freely.

        Here is a question: You talk about innovation without having "to wade through the current patent minefield." Once a medicine is developed, it is either a new medicine, or it is an old medicine. If it is an old medicine, then it is not new, and therefore not innovative.

        On the other hand, if it is a new medicine, then there is no "patent minefield."

        While there have been some dramatic law suits regarding patents in the medical area, there are relatively few patent suits over medicines. I can only guess why, but one reason is likely that either you have found a new medicine, or not. In either case, it is fairly easy to search the patent database to see if the medicine is new.

        When discussing pharmaceuticals, most of the anti-patent people discuss the monopoly cost of having a patent, not lawsuits over patents. The reason is simple: there are relatively few such suits.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 4:04pm

    "While a necessary part of that reward is entitlement to personal property, patents are not property; rather, they are a government edict restricting the actions competitors can do with their own property. It seems that a lot of patent supporters are of the idea that restrictive intellectual property laws are synonymous with capitalism and free society when they are anything but."
    ----------------

    If a "free society" entails devolving the world economy into what amounts to a giant Shanghai flea market than I sincerely hope I never live to see it.

     

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    Raybone (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 5:14pm

    Wasn't it Bayer that shipped and sold blood known to be tainted with AIDS to Europe?

    http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/0503/22.php

     

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      Tom Landry (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:23pm

      Re:

      They also invented Heroin

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 3:26am

      Re:

      And amazingly no one in the United States was held accountable, the FDA even allowed this atrocity but NO ONE in the U.S. was held accountable. The rich and the powerful are held UNACCOUNTABLE in this nation for their atrocities no matter how atrocious. WHY DO WE ALLOW THIS???????????

      Here is another example

      "Now, here is where it gets shady. Someone hid the fact of $3.6 billion in bonuses from the shareholders. That's crooked. The SEC in bonuses and worked on a cozy agreement with Bank of America where the bank was given only a civil fine, and the real culprits, they got off the hook. "

      http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,551262,00.html

      The rich and the powerful are held completely unaccountable for their actions no matter how atrocious. WHY DO WE TOLERATE THIS???? This is America, these people should be in JAIL!!!!! Yet they get away with all sorts of atrocities and they get to break the law all they want with NO ACCOUNTABILITY WHATSOEVER!!! How come?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 3:32am

        Re: Re:

        Only crimes and actions that threaten the profit margins of the rich and the powerful are punished ("A Bulgarian man, Yordan Kavaklov, has been jailed for four-and a-half years for stealing bank card numbers and passwords through a skimming device he and an accomplice connected to Bank of America ATM's in metro Atlanta in the southern state of Georgia." http://www.sofiaecho.com/2009/09/11/782874_bulgarian-bank-fraudsters-jailed-for-us-bank-scam and also note the Enron scandal that serves a threat to rich and powerful investors), but when rich and powerful entities commit crimes against the poor and the powerless (ie: knowingly selling AIDS tainted blood) there is NO PUNISHMENT WHATSOEVER. Why such an unfair legal system?

         

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        iNtrigued (profile), Sep 17th, 2009 @ 8:57am

        Re: Re:

        It is actually very simple, they are the ones making the laws through "campaign contributions" and lobbyists. They are also the ones with armies of lawyers to cover their gold plated asses.

         

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    angry dude, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 6:40pm

    Come on punks

    this horse is dead and stinking
    why don't you find some other topic

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:09pm

    Here we go, again...

    There have been a number of studies by independent analysts that have concluded that if patents never existed, and assuming that innovation was at least equal to current levels, the price of health care would only be reduced by 7%.

    On the other hand, the same studies point to personal lifestyle choices (eating too much, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of exercise), contributing about 25% toward the cost of healthcare.

    Indeed, administration costs account for something in the neighborhood of 20% of healthcare costs.

    When someone focuses on a third order effect rather than truly significant effects, I have to wonder what their motivations might be.

     

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    TeaBaggers, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:13pm

    Is Health Care too Expensive?

    Too bad for you ... but dont die on my watch

     

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    Tom Landry (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

    Heres a better way to lower health care costs.....tort reform.

    Back-charge attorneys the cost of plaintiffs legal fees if they lose.

     

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      Possible Side Effects, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 7:50pm

      Re:

      Tort reform is a big pharma attempt to limit your options when their drugs screw you up.

       

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      captn, trips, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 9:01pm

      Re:

      Republicans are spewing this out as if they understand what the hell it means. Its just their way of saying "NO we hate Obama so everything is always NO!!!" without saying no. Lets put it this way Billy Bob. Lets say you did a back flip off of the roof of your trailer into a plastic pool because your cousin promised you a B.J. if you could shotgun 12 cans of Milwaukee's best and belly flop the center. And lets say you break your back, then end up in surgery (Assuming that you qualify for that sweet, free gvt health care you hate so much) and you get a hold of some of that Bayer Blood mentioned above spiked with HIV. You would be pretty dad gum pissed off when you find out that you cant sue Bayer because of some clause in tort reform.

      Let me put this as plainly as I can. You and all of the people that are dancing around your church with rattle snakes should wake up... YOUR BEING DUPED for fucks sake!!!

      The tell you tort reform, you stop breathing through your mouth just long enough to nod??? WHY WOULD THE GOVERNMENT LIMITING YOUR ABILITY TO SUE MULTI NATIONAL PHARMA LOWER THE COST OF HEALTH CARE??? It wont, thats the answer.. it will raise THEIR net at the expense of humanity.. but that seems to be the theme of this century. Big companies have taken over the world, buying politicians out in the open and turning you and your ilk into zombie parakeets....

      damn it man, think for yourself!!!

       

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        iNtrigued (profile), Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:12am

        Re: Re:

        Ok, first of all relax a little, anger causes your body to release chemicals that reduce intelligence(hence all your ridiculous personal attacks). Second, I think you completely misunderstand what people mean by tort reform. While I agree there will be those that support the kind of reform you mention, the vast majority of the supporters just want to cut back on what some call "frivolous" lawsuits. So don't be so quick to assume they want to abolish lawsuits all together.

        Imagine this for a moment, you are a radio talk show host and you call your competitor short(he happens to be 5'6"). Well they hear about it and turn around a complain to their network, which happens to be one of those "Big companies" you hate so much. Well since they have lawyers on payroll anyways, they turn around and slap you with a slander lawsuit. So now you have to put up hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend yourself, because the "Big company" can afford to string the obviously frivolous lawsuit along until you are completely broke. Do you think that is fair or right?

        That is precisely the type of tort reform we need, to keep situations like that from happening. So don't try to lump all tort reform under "only good for big companies." The same lawsuits you like can be used by the "Big companies"/(anyone with a grudge) against private citizens, including yourself. While there are perfectly good lawsuits, we should protect people from the bad ones.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 9:47pm

    Patents hurt in other ways to.

    I remember reading a while back that one of the greatest untapped areas in health research was in drug combinations. That is taking two or more existing drugs that may treat completely different problems, but when used in combination with each other they greatly improved the effectiveness of one of the drugs or found they help treat a completely different problem. As a random example you may have drug A that is for high blood pressure and drug B that is for acne. They may find that taking drug B with drug A greatly increases drug A's ability to lower blood pressure. The benefit to this is because the drugs have already gone thought FDA approval and their side affects, etc are already known, getting approval to use them in combination is much more streamlined process, basically just making sure it works as advertised. The downside is that finding these combinations is a very research intense process.

    The problem is Big Pharma has little interest in doing this kind of research as it typically involves drugs that are out of the patent period, so they can't patent them. Thus they are more interested in creating new drugs than trying to find ways to use old drugs more effectively.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 5:35am

      Re: Patents hurt in other ways to.

      Wait a moment. So there are MASSIVE numbers of drugs AVAILABLE for INNOVATION, and yet - no one is innovating with them?

      Huh. So what effect would the elimination of patents have on innovating with unpatented drugs? Further, since around 80% or so of ALL drugs are no longer patented, how much opportunity would removal of patents present?

      Even better, since several anti-patent articles claim that many newly-patented drugs are hardly better than placebos, it would seem the value of innovating with those drugs is marginal, at best.

      Let's not even bother pointing out that the vast majority of moneymakers for the big pharmaceutical companies will expire over the next several years, meaning that the number of currently patented drugs that have a significant effect on price will be nearly negligible by around 2013. It is highly unlikely that the patent system will change significantly between now and then.

      More interesting: Some people like to point out that Europe is more innovative than the U.S. Europeans also patent their drugs, both in Europe and the U.S., as well as elsewhere. Of course, they also get just as much government support for their drugs as U.S. companies - and some contend much more, but I am sure someone will figure out why that is irrelevant.

      The real problem with American pharmaceutical companies is not patents, it is laziness. These companies had cash cows that kept those companies profitable with less and less real invention. After nearly two decades of living off research that is two and a half decades old, reality is that with or without patents, many of these companies have few new golly-gee-whiz products in the pipeline. Many of those are only marginally better than what is out there.

      As with many companies that get fat and live the good life, once the current crop of patents is expired, these companies will have to actually become good again - or fail. It is about to happen - just watch. In the meantime, generic manufacturers like Teva are finding their star rising rapidly as they take over production of dozens of drugs as patents expire - which is NOT innovation, it is just reducing the price of an existing drug.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2009 @ 9:54pm

    I well understand Messrs. Levine and Boldrin's arguments presented in their book Against Monopoly. However, I have always been troubled that so many of the "facts" they rely upon are largely anecdotal and appear to have been accepted by them at face value without peering behind the veneer to get a more informed understanding of the facts. For example, they talk about the pre-1978 pharma industry in Italy, and yet fail to provide any information on the Italian pharmaceuticals they tout. What were these pharmaceuticals? Were they efficacious, pharma advances for the treatment of diseases for which there were long felt needs with no adequate solution having been achieved? Did these pharmaceuticals displace other similar drugs in the market, or were they merely cumulative to what was already available? The list goes on. In my view, it is not possible to accurately characterize the state of the Italian industry without a more comprehensive examination. Unfortunately, the other research upon which they rely and cite does not evidence any effort to consider question such as the forgoing.

    Until Messrs. Levine and Boldrin break out of their "economic shells" and engage in detailed fact finding, or at least begin relying upon the work of someone what has actually done such detailed fact finding, much of their work comes off as little more than a largely superficial treatment of an industry that is much more fact intensive that these authors may have you believe.

    I do not doubt their sincerity, just their methodology.

    I have chosen to limit my comment to just this one example because of time constraints, so please do not take away from my comment that I am cherry picking just one area and do not find similar fault with other areas in their book.

    BTW, it would certainly help if Mr. Levine eschewed his rhetoric and, as Sgt. Friday on Dragnet would say "Just the facts, ma'am." His over-the-top rhetoric takes away much of the persuasive force or his arguments.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Sep 16th, 2009 @ 10:46pm

    Sure

    Okay. Make this happen.

    We can toss out good ideas all we want, but implementing them is another matter.

    I want lower health costs, so you have my permission to do this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 3:11am

    The fact of the matter is that if patent maximists had their way the rest of the world would advance as fast as graphing calculators have advanced in the past 20 years or so. Government granted monopolies are used so that the rich and the powerful can make money without innovating and without doing any work.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 6:59am

    When the baby boomers are hitting their prime in terms of health care spend, drugs are expected to comprise 15% of healthcare dollars.

    You reform a system by addressing only 15% of the spend?

    There were patents back when many blockbuster drugs were discovered. The discovery drought that has been going on for a few years has little if anything to do with patents.

    What is the right health care system? I don't know, but I know the one being proposed isn't the answer. Anything that is supported by big pharma and the 3 big insurance companies can't be good for us.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 8:30am

      Re:

      Also, even though drugs comprise "15%" of healthcare dollars, the next question is what percentage of that 15% is due to patents. When Wal-Mart, and now others, have hundreds of $4 prescription drugs, all generic, and when 80% of all presecription drugs are not patented, while the exact answer is not known, even being generous with percentages we might believe that patents might affect 30% or 40% of that percentage, meaning somewhere around 4% to 6% of healtcare dollars. So, we are going to address healthcare costs by focusing on something that comprises 4% to 6% of the cost of healthcare, and dropping as patents expire.

      As noted earlier, it seems like the real reason to focus on patents related to drugs is because someone has a hidden agenda, not because there is a significant affect on healthcare costs due to patents.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Here is another question. Why would you think eliminating patents would reduce marketing spend? Without patents, wouldn't advertising budgets go up? I buy either Coke or Pepsi, depending on what is on sale. Do Coke and Pepsi have small advertising budgets? I don't think so.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 7:21am

      Re:

      "Do Coke and Pepsi have small advertising budgets? I don't think so."

      So apparently patents have done little to eliminate marketing spend.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 8:51am

        Re: Re:

        Or rather, lack of patents have done little to eliminate marketing spend. In 2008, among the top 10 advertisers was Verizon Communications (17 patents), PepsiCo (248 patents), and Time Warner (134 patents). On the flip side, IBM has tens of thousands of patents and is not one of the largest advertisers.

        Seems like there is little reason to correlate patents with advertising and marketing dollars.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Where are your numbers? Do you have sources?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Where are what numbers? The number of patents came from the USPTO at www.uspto.gov. The top rank of advertisers was obtained from an advertising report listing the top advertisers for 2008.

            Any other questions?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Where are the numbers, give me the sources. I'm not saying they're wrong I just want to fact check.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:45am

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

                The numbers of patents were obtained from the www.uspto.gov patent database.

                As for advertisers, there are numerous lists. The list I looked at last time, which I did not bookmark, was from later 2007 and early 2008. Here is a link to 2009:

                http://adage.com/marketertrees09/

                On this list, Verizon is #2. Time Warner is #8. Again, minimal numbers of patents for both. Walt Disney is #7, and they have only 123 patents.

                The point remains: There are many companies on this list with huge advertising budgets that have few patents. Walmart has been in the top 10 advertisers from time-to-time, and they have 17 patents. Mixed in with big companies with few patents are big companies with lots of patents. Plotting advertising budgets and patents would just give you noise.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:49am

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

                  First of all I am not the one plotting advertising budgets and patents, someone else did that, so talk to them. However, I don't think that patents do much to reduce advertising. Also note, while Wal Mart may not have many patents of its own, it often sells products that do have patents.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 11:30am

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

                    "Also note, while Wal Mart may not have many patents of its own, it often sells products that do have patents."

                    (and to complete my thought process)

                    those patented products benefit from Wal Marts advertising and to the extent that they do benefit from such advertising by Wal Mart that is marketing and advertising spent on those patented products.

                     

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 12:05pm

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

                    What is your point regarding Wal-Mart & patents? Verizon does not have many patents of its own, but the phones it sells do. Further, they use patented equipment. Big deal. How is selling patented products important to anything.

                    Here is a challenge for you. The next time Wal-Mart has a commercial, count the number of patented items that are advertised. I suspect you will find very few, and probably none.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

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

                      "Verizon does not have many patents of its own, but the phones it sells do."

                      So when Verizon does advertise itself, those advertisements do help their patent phones so that is marketing and advertisements that go into patented products. So money is being spent on advertising and marketing patented products, be it the manufacturer of the product or the retailer or whomever.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 2:05pm

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

                        lol...Question: Does Verizon care whether the phones they sell are patented? How about this: Name a retailer of any technology product that does not sell patented products. For that matter, are there any retailers in existence that do not use or sell patented products? And how is that relevant to anything?

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

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

                          "For that matter, are there any retailers in existence that do not use or sell patented products?"

                          My point is that marketing and advertising are spent on patented products so patents have done little to nothing to reduce marketing and advertising costs.

                          Your counterargument, "It's not the manufacturer paying for the marketing and advertising, it's the retailer." My response, "Who cares."

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 8:35pm

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

                            Patents are unrelated to advertising and marketing, as they should be.

                            As for your other comment, "who cares," I agree. Who cares?

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:56pm

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

                              I think the point that you are (willfully) overlooking is the fact that just because retailers, and not manufacturers, are spending marketing and advertising dollars on patented products in no way diminishes the amount of marketing and advertising dollars that get spend on patented products.

                               

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                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 5:18am

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

                                I think the question still remains, WHO CARES? Another question is why SHOULD we care?

                                 

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                              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 11:02pm

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

                              and regarding "who cares" TAXPAYERS care. When the government, an entity funded by and that's supposed to represent the people, grants monopolies we better make darn sure those patents are justified. Oh sure, those rich and powerful entities that have a disproportional influence on the government with their lobbying efforts that benefit from such one sided intellectual property laws at the expense of society don't care, but taxpayers do care when the government has turned into an entity that does nothing but serves the rich and the powerful at the expense of society.

                               

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                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 4:50am

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

                                and if you want to argue that the lobbying efforts of the rich and the powerful don't have a disproportional influence over the government then explain to me why only in the United States did Bayer get away with selling Aids tainted blood, with the permission of the FDA, and no one was held accountable (in other countries they were held accountable)?

                                But of course your response is, "who cares" because it's only poor people that are suffering, as long as the rich people benefit there is nothing wrong with it right?

                                 

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                                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 5:46am

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

                                  No, my "who cares" was in reference to marketing of products, patented or otherwise.

                                  As for your comments regarding how Bayer "got away" with selling AIDS tainted blood, your comments verge on being strawman arguments that are completely unrelated to the original topic. However, Wikipedia appears to have a comprehensive article on the subject.

                                  History shows that it took a while to figure out that plasma, not blood as you stated (because that was already known during the time of this incident), could transmit the HIV virus. New techniques were developed to eliminate HIV from plasma, but Bayer's Cutter division continued to sell the old product in Asia after the risk of transmitting HIV became known and after a new product was developed.

                                  The FDA called in the manufacturers, believing they had not kept their promise to pull the products from the market, and told the companies to cease production immediately. The FDA never gave "permission" to any company to sell plasma that could have the HIV virus.

                                  Lastly, not only have there been lawsuits in other countries, there have been lawsuits in the U.S., and hundreds of millions have been paid in the lawsuits and in settlements. So your statement that "no one was held accountable" is imprecise, at best.

                                   

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                                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

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

                                    You're wrong, the FDA did give permission and they even told Bayer not to let it leak to the public.

                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg-52mHIjhs

                                     

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 9:01am

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

                                      I loved the video. It reiterated the FACT that the FDA told the companies that produced plasma to pull the plasma from the market and to NOT SELL THE PLASMA OVERSEAS.

                                      Excellent FACT you have there.

                                       

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                                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

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

                                    Also, I would like to see your sources.

                                     

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                                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

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

                                    Also, here is your Wikipedia article.

                                    "The United States Food and Drug Administration helped to keep the news out of the public. In May 1985, the FDA's regulator of blood products, Dr. Harry M. Meyer Jr., believing the companies had broken a voluntary agreement to withdraw the old medicine from the market, called together officials of the companies and ordered them to comply.[3] Cutter's notes from the meeting indicate that Dr. Meyer asked that the issue be "quietly solved without alerting the Congress, the medical community and the public" while another company noted that the FDA wanted the matter solved "quickly and quietly."[3]"

                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contaminated_haemophilia_blood_products

                                    So please, don't come here and start making up your own facts without fact checking.

                                    Also, plasma is a component of blood and these were blood products.

                                    Also note, in other countries the people were put in Jail. In the U.S. no one was put in jail and the settlement costs were only for people infected within the U.S. Notice how much the government works for the corporations.

                                    "In early 1995, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago decertified the lawsuit, saying it might bankrupt the industry."

                                    "Individual lawsuits continued to fail because most states had laws shielding blood products from traditional product liability claims.[1]"

                                    "Soon after the settlement, because the New York state statute of limitations required people to file a lawsuit within three years of discovering an illness, New York Governor George Pataki signed a bill allowing people infected by blood products, or their survivors, two years to bring product liability suits against the manufacturers."

                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contaminated_haemophilia_blood_products

                                    and the fees that were paid were settlement fees, the government pretty much did everything to limit the damages that Bayer had to pay (because the government works for the corporations).

                                     

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 3:00pm

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

                                      ""Soon after the settlement, because the New York state statute of limitations required people to file a lawsuit within three years of discovering an illness, New York Governor George Pataki signed a bill allowing people infected by blood products, or their survivors, two years to bring product liability suits against the manufacturers.""

                                      and why is it that everyone else can have a lawsuit filed against them in three years but Bayer got to have it changed for them for two years? Because the laws don't apply to rich and powerful entities like they do to the rest of us. A normal person would be in jail, but the executives who worked for Bayer responsible for intentionally selling Aids tainted blood and the people who worked for the FDA who helped the rich and the powerful by allowing it don't get punished. In other countries those involved were jailed, but not here in the U.S. because the only thing that's required in this nation to get away with all sorts of atrocities is for you to be rich.

                                       

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                                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:43am

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

                                        and why is it that everyone else can have a lawsuit filed against them in three years but Bayer got to have it changed for them for two years?

                                        Do you need help understanding English? Please let me know. I can simplify things for you.

                                        Let us think about this care-ful-ly...

                                        (1) An event took place.

                                        (2) A statute of limitations of three years RAN OUT.

                                        (3) Governor Pataki signed a bill that ADD-ED a two year EX-TEN-SION on the STATUTE of LIMITATIONS so that victims had MORE TIME to FILE A LAW-SUIT.

                                        DO YOU UN-DER-STAND?

                                        Ergo, the governor was helping the "rest of us" be able to file lawsuits against "rich and powerful entities."

                                         

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                                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 3:21pm

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

                                    "Lastly, not only have there been lawsuits in other countries, there have been lawsuits in the U.S., and hundreds of millions have been paid in the lawsuits and in settlements. So your statement that "no one was held accountable" is imprecise, at best."

                                    No one was held accountable. No one went to jail for these atrocities. Stockholders of Bayer had to pay settlement fees and lawsuit fees but those at Bayer responsible for the atrocities were not held accountable.

                                    So if you want to be technical, the wrong people were held accountable. The stockholders, who didn't do anything wrong, were had to pay for the misconduct of Bayer executives.

                                     

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                                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

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

                                    "The FDA called in the manufacturers, believing they had not kept their promise to pull the products from the market, and told the companies to cease production immediately."

                                    In the United States, but then they turned around and said they can sell it overseas and they told them to cover it up.

                                    "The FDA never gave "permission" to any company to sell plasma that could have the HIV virus."

                                    Not true as the sources I have given you already explained.

                                    "So your statement that "no one was held accountable" is imprecise, at best."

                                    This suggests that you actually agree with the "punishment" (or lack of punishment) imposed by those who committed this atrocity. My statement is imprecise at BEST meaning that, if it was imprecise at BEST it suggests that you believe something to the extent of, "those responsible for these atrocities were sufficiently punished for their actions" despite the fact that they weren't punished at all.

                                    To which I must respond, WHAT KINDA MONSTER ARE YOU? It's people like you that are ruining our society. Bayer KNOWINGLY sold Aids tainted blood and NO ONE in the U.S. went to jail for this and the people who ended up paying were the stockholders of Bayer. Those responsible for the atrocities were not jailed, they did not pay any fines out of their personal assets (they delegated the fines to stockholders), and they were NOT held accountable. Yet you seem to be OK with it.

                                    This just goes to show the mentality of intellectual property maximists.

                                     

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 3:54pm

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

                                      sp/imposed by those/imposed on those

                                       

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:28am

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

                                      "The FDA called in the manufacturers, believing they had not kept their promise to pull the products from the market, and told the companies to cease production immediately."

                                      In the United States, but then they turned around and said they can sell it overseas and they told them to cover it up.

                                      Wrong. They called in the manufacturers and told them to stop selling EVERYWHERE. As for telling them to "cover it up," that is interpretation. They did tell them to stop selling the product and they did tell them to withdraw the product quietly, and they did tell them not to tell congress and the media, but not telling someone is not the same as destroying files and telling people to lie.

                                      "The FDA never gave "permission" to any company to sell plasma that could have the HIV virus."

                                      Not true as the sources I have given you already explained.

                                      Your sources manage to interpret things in a subjective way that verges on lies, and certainly is misinformation. As often as people accuse the government of "lying," the sites you quote seem to be "innovative" over our government's paltry attempts at misleading and confusing. Objective sites point out that the FDA did specifically tell companies that produced plasma to stop selling plasma that had not been subjected to the new heat treatment process, and that is a well-documented FACT. Do you need me to define FACT for you?

                                      "So your statement that "no one was held accountable" is imprecise, at best."

                                      This suggests that you actually agree with the "punishment" (or lack of punishment) imposed by those who committed this atrocity. My statement is imprecise at BEST meaning that, if it was imprecise at BEST it suggests that you believe something to the extent of, "those responsible for these atrocities were sufficiently punished for their actions" despite the fact that they weren't punished at all.

                                      I do not call a settlement that ran into the hundreds of millions of dollars, in addition to other settlements, as a failure to punish. If you do, then obviously you have a really poor definition of "punished." However, given that you also have a failure to understand a simple word such as "fact," as opposed to half-truth, innuendo, and misinformation, I am unsurprised.

                                      To which I must respond, WHAT KINDA MONSTER ARE YOU? It's people like you that are ruining our society. Bayer KNOWINGLY sold Aids tainted blood and NO ONE in the U.S. went to jail for this and the people who ended up paying were the stockholders of Bayer. Those responsible for the atrocities were not jailed, they did not pay any fines out of their personal assets (they delegated the fines to stockholders), and they were NOT held accountable. Yet you seem to be OK with it.

                                      You really are a ad hominem creating lying bag of crap.

                                      (A) Monster - I feel for the people who were sold AIDS-tainted plasma. Read the history. It took several YEARS to realize plasma could contain HIV. Plasma is not BLOOD. You have a real issue with definitions. It was a known FACT that blood could carry HIV. It was several years later when we figured out plasma could carry HIV. Once we had a reasonable suspicion, the FDA directed plasma-producing companies to start rejecting certain donors (which plasma producing companies did not do). Once we had a better option, the FDA ordered plasma producing companies to sell only the heat-treated plasma, but several companies continued to sell OVERSEAS, NOT the United States. I feel for the people infected with HIV, and I certainly think the companies that sold the tainted plasma were wrong. However, there was insufficient evidence of a CRIME for any government to charge anyone with a crime. Of course, you, being the all-powerful genius that you are, are free to form a lynch mob and hang whoever you feel might deserver punishment, regardless of whether you have any facts to back you up. That, of course, would make you a heinous MONSTER.

                                      (B) People like me: I have long been a proponent of the death penalty. I am the kind of person who thinks that people who throw trash out the window should be required to spend 40 hours of community service picking up the highways. Don't even get me started on people who commit capital crimes like rape and murder, much less LYING about others. If anything, it is people with LYNCH-MOB mentalities like yours who are ruining our society.

                                      (C) Jail: I am surprised you have the ignorance to make a statement like this. If a district attorney anywhere thought they could make a case against a pharmaceutical company, I guarantee you that they would have LOVED to have a case like this, because when they won they would be in excellent position for a high profile job. That is the way politics works. The bigger and more powerful the company is, the greater the reputation of the DA that wins - but, they HAVE TO HAVE A CASE FIRST. No one was ever able to prove that ANY of the companies that produced plasma BROKE A LAW. Now, you and your white-hooded lynch mob might have some targets in mind, but before you go off and burn some crosses in people's yards and string a few people up, you might want to remember that the U.S. does not have moral rights laws, so you would be guilty of murder and one more of those people ruining our society.

                                      (D) The individuals were not held accountable. I am not thrilled with that. To say otherwise is essentially an outright lie. However, better to let 10 guilty men go free than to have one innocent man hung by your lynch mob, which is how our society is becoming ruined.

                                      Your statements go to show the mentality of people who want to eliminate the laws and rights that help advance our society.

                                       

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                                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 11:46am

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

                                        "No one was ever able to prove that ANY of the companies that produced plasma BROKE A LAW."

                                        So willfully selling Aids tainted blood is not against the law? Or is it that they would not be able to prove that Aids tainted blood was willfully sold?

                                         

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                                          Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 5:34pm

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

                                          It was probably that they would not be able to prove that AIDS-tainted blood was sold - particularly since it was PLASMA. A charge of selling AIDS-tainted blood would have been dismissed.

                                           

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                                            Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 7:53pm

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

                                            "A charge of selling AIDS-tainted blood would have been dismissed."

                                            Fine, a charge that it knowingly sold plasma tainted blood. They did knowingly sell plasma tainted blood and they should be personally punished for this; be it overseas or in America. Their actions should not go unpunished.

                                             

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                                              Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:26pm

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

                                              sp/They did knowingly sell plasma tainted blood/They did knowingly sell Aids tainted Plasma.

                                               

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                                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 7:28am

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

                                                So, how many pharm company employees went to jail in foreign countries?

                                                 

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                                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 1:09pm

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

                                        "No one was ever able to prove that ANY of the companies that produced plasma BROKE A LAW."

                                        Wow, Bayer willingly sold Aids tainted blood and no one broke the law? Only in America.

                                         

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                                          Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 5:33pm

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

                                          Well, let's think for just a moment.

                                          (1) Bayer did NOT sell AIDS-tainted blood once it was known that blood could be contaminated by HIV. Error on your part.

                                          (2) Bayer, along with several other companies, sold AIDS-tainted PLASMA. However, once it was recognized that plasma could carry HIV, the FDA ordered those companies to stop producing plasma that was not heat-treated. Those companies complied IN THE UNITED STATES.

                                          (3) At least one company sold HIV-tainted plasma overseas, in spite of the FDA's requirement that the plasma be pulled from the market. Pay attention now: Selling the plasma overseas was NOT AGAINST ANY U.S. LAW. Conversely, if China sold HIV-contaminated plasma in the U.S., IT WOULD NOT BREAK ANY CHINESE LAW. Did you catch that? If not, go back and read it again, carefully.

                                          (4) You stated that people overseas went to jail. I would be curious as to how many Bayer employees actually went to jail, and which countries sent them to jail.

                                           

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                                            Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:08pm

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

                                            "(4) You stated that people overseas went to jail. I would be curious as to how many Bayer employees actually went to jail, and which countries sent them to jail."

                                            The officials involved overseas that allowed for it went to jail. It's in the fox link I gave you. No one in the U.S. went to jail despite the fact that Bayer in the U.S. knowingly sold Aids tainted blood overseas.

                                            "The inventor gets the opportunity to profit from his invention."

                                            Or the inventor gets the opportunity to monopolize obvious ideas that others would have invented without patents but it's just that that specific inventor managed to get to the patent office first.

                                             

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                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 5:24am

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                                So, when an individual inventor, say, Clessie Cummins, invites a novel engine brake after decades of thought and development, and at his own expense, and the government grants Cummins a patent on his invention, that is serving the "rich and powerful" of society? I see that as rewarding an inventor for spending thousands of dollars of his own money at his own risk without knowing whether his invention would work and whether it would be desirable. Would you rather the government have funded Clessie's work, and allowed the government to take all the risk? Apparently, businesses appeared uninterested in funding the work, and it seems that some actively discouraged the work.

                                Oh, to the best of my knowledge, Cummins did not spend any of his highly valuable time lobbying anyone, but I do know that he valued the utility of a patent before exposing his invention to potential customers. As for one-sided, society now has unlimited access to his invention forever, so obviously patents are not as one-sided as you state.

                                But, my earlier "who cares" was in reference to marketing of products, whether they were patented or not, and that question has yet to be answered.

                                 

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                                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 2:47pm

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

                                  However, Clessie Cummins didn't really seem to care about patents very much. For example

                                  "Clessie did not apply for patent protection of his invention until more than a year had passed, and then only at the urging of one of the patent attorneys representing the company."

                                  http://books.google.com/books?id=JeS-rGoMZgEC&pg=PA152&lpg=PA152&dq=Clessie +Cummins+patent&source=bl&ots=7TrCODFyKs&sig=pF3rGiPrdupFB1BP_S6ZA9KjE5U&hl=en&e i=rv6zSqblKoHysgOvg-XRDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#v=onepage&q=Cles sie%20Cummins%20patent&f=false

                                  Apparently this guy would have invented with or without patents. In fact, patents even seemed to get in his way more than anything.

                                  "The Diesel Odyssey sometime gets bogged down with trivial details, like technical descriptions from patent applications and long passages from business letters."

                                  http://www.cruise-in.com/resource/cisbk02.htm

                                  While the article does subsequently say

                                  "Overall, however, the author creates a lively recounting of the father of the American truck diesel. "

                                  Patents aren't to be credited for this.

                                   

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                                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 3:08pm

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

                                    and here is a reason why patents don't really do much to advance society. Because those who want to invent invent because they want to help society. Those who are in it for the money have little incentive to invent, that's not where the money is, instead they abuse the patent system because that's where the money is, abusing and misusing the system is where they can generate the most profits. Those who want to invent for the sake of invention don't do it because they want profits.

                                     

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

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                                      Those that are in it for the money won't spend money on innovation with or without patents because spending money is less profitable than not spending money. With a patent system they will abuse the patent system. Without a patent system they will lobby the government for an intellectual property system and for laws that benefit them at the expense of society.

                                      Those that want to invent will invent with or without patents because their goal is to advance society.

                                       

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                                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:32am

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                                        Fool. I am an inventor and hold dozens of patents. My goal was not to advance society, but to make money. If patents did not exist, why would I bother to invent? There is no way I would be able to get a return on my investment before my inventions were copied by others who did not have the same investment.

                                        You should try inventing something, say, a new combine. After you spend a few million dollars and 5 years of your life on your new inventions, do not bother to patent your inventive new combine. See if you make your investment back. Fat chance with that.

                                         

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                                          Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

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

                                          "My goal was not to advance society, but to make money."

                                          So then the incentive is more for you to abuse the patent system then to advance society.

                                          "After you spend a few million dollars and 5 years of your life on your new inventions."

                                          If your goal is to make money it's very unlikely you would invest enough money on an invention to justify a 20 year patent being that the present value of the revenue generated twenty years from now from each additional dollar you invest now is very very VERY little.

                                          Also, I think you should be forced to justify the patent to the patent office (which should be ran by ELECTED officials who run up for re election every two years) by giving them receipts and evidence of your costs and expenses on each invention that you want a patent on. If you want a government granted monopoly it should be regulated, if you want free market capitalism then there should be no patents. You shouldn't have it both ways. If an invention really costs enough to justify a patent you should have no problems providing evidence.

                                           

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                                            Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 3:04pm

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

                                            Also, all those receipts and evidence of your costs for the patent should be public domain for everyone to scrutinize, perhaps on the PTO's website. Independent auditors should be allowed to audit you as well.

                                            And don't complain about a lack of free market capitalism with what I'm saying (since you're the one that wants to restrict free market capitalism with patents), you want a monopoly it should be regulated and you should have to JUSTIFY your request for a lack of free market capitalism (ie: your request for patents).

                                             

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                                              Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 3:14pm

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

                                              Furthermore, if you don't market and sell your product within the first year of getting a patent the patent should automatically expire (perhaps with some rare exceptions) and anyone should be allowed to sell the product without paying royalties and without having to worry about litigation even if you start selling it afterwords. If you discontinue the product or stop selling it for more than three months (and they don't have to be consecutive) the patent should expire and anyone should be allowed to sell the product without paying royalties and without having to worry about litigation even if you start selling the product later on.

                                              I'm not against patents per se. Despite the fact that no one has been able to come up with examples of how patents have helped society and we have came up with many many examples of bad patents and how patents have harmed society and despite the overwhelming evidence that patents have caused FAR more harm than good and the complete inability of anyone to refute this or defend patents, I still think that if patents are used correctly they could help society. But the laws shouldn't be so one sided. Patents shouldn't last 20 years; 5 years should be the average, 7 years MAX (being that time beyond that would not justify much more money into R&D since the present values of the future amounts from each additional dollar invested now for R&D would be very marginal after 7 years).

                                              Also, if anyone tries to falsely sue someone for intellectual property infringement when they knew or should have known better they should risk losing about as much money in damages as they have to gain. This would reduce the incentive for bogus lawsuits and patent trolls. $2,500 for fraudulently suing someone for infringement only if intent can be proven yet up to $250,000 and/or five years in jail for copyright infringement is completely one sided and the law should not favor punishing copyright infringement more than it favors punishing fraud.

                                               

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                                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 3:44pm

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

                                                Also, people should not be allowed to sell a patent. It opens the door for abuse where people get patents just to prevent others from selling a product without paying them. If you don't sell a product that utilizes a patent you should not be allowed to prevent someone else from selling such a product and you should not be allowed to force someone else to pay you for selling such a product.

                                                If we're going to have patent laws we should ensure that the patent laws in place make sense instead of the current ones that invite abuse and cause far more harm than good. I know it's very difficult to justify my position that patents could be good for society if used properly and the incentive to abuse the patent system like it's being abused right now is very high but if we have good laws in place that foster innovation instead of ones that foster abuse, litigation, and monopoly then perhaps patents can cause more harm than good.

                                                 

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                                                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 3:45pm

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

                                                  sp/then perhaps patents can cause more harm than good./then perhaps patents can cause more good than harm.

                                                   

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                                            Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 5:27pm

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

                                            The patent system ALWAYS had TWO PARTS. Pay attention carefully now.

                                            (1) The inventor reveals his knowledge for the ultimate benefit of society.

                                            (2) Society grants the inventor an EXCLUSIVE RIGHT to his invention for a limited period of time.

                                            Part 1 is the benefit society gains once the exclusive right expires. Part 2 is the benefit the inventor gains for revealing his knowledge. The inventor gets the opportunity to profit from his invention.

                                            I have no idea what you are talking about regarding investment. The fact is that people invests up to BILLIONS of dollars on inventions. Do they recoup that money? Often, but not always. In some cases, one invention is a stepping stone for another invention that costs less. In other cases, while the return on investment is not repaid in 20 years, additional income can be made past 20 years at a lower return rate that eventually justifies the initial investment.

                                            However, perhaps you can explain your position better.

                                            So, if we elected examiners, say grocery store clerks from Kansas City, and paid them less, we would have a better system? You need to explain how that will work.

                                            As for "receipts and evidence of costs and expenses," why? The granting of a patent should be on novelty rather that cost of expenditure. Indeed, some inventions can cost $100 to develop, and yet be incredibly novel. Other inventions can cost $500 million, and be novel, and yet the initial investment may not be repaid in the life of a patent. What is your point?

                                            Actually, there is no such thing as "free market capitalism" and there actually never has been. So you can set up your strawman position, but to no avail. Indeed, one of the biggest arguments among economists is that "free market" systems tend to lead to a less than optimal market efficiency for a variety of reasons - the biggest of which is that there are people involved and there are a lot of imperfections in markets.

                                             

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                                              Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 7:49pm

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

                                              "The granting of a patent should be on novelty rather that cost of expenditure."

                                              So please explain to us the criteria for determining if a patent is novel and non obvious?

                                               

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                                              Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:01pm

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

                                              "The fact is that people invests up to BILLIONS of dollars on inventions."

                                              Then they should have no problems substantiating those costs to the society if society is to grant them a monopoly (ie: via allowing independent auditors to audit them). Otherwise, what do they have to hide?

                                              "As for "receipts and evidence of costs and expenses," why?"

                                              Because monopolies are bad for society so we should make sure they are justified.

                                              "(1) The inventor reveals his knowledge for the ultimate benefit of society."

                                              Or perhaps many of those novelties can be invented by others without patents. Who are you to say that it's to the benefit of society? Why not society decide what's in its own best interest instead of lobbyists that keep on lobbying the government? Who are you to decide that giving a monopoly on an idea is to the benefit of society? Because you said so? Just because you can assert it it must be true? You know what's better for society moreso than anyone else so you get to dictate what you think is best for society?

                                               

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                                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:04pm

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

                                                Monopolies are detrimental to society so society should make certain that they are justified before granting them. Steps should be taken to make sure they are justified. But today they hardly ever are. Pharmaceutical corporations claim that it's about the cost but few steps are taken to substantiate the alleged costs.

                                                "Actually, there is no such thing as "free market capitalism" and there actually never has been. So you can set up your strawman position, but to no avail. Indeed, one of the biggest arguments among economists is that "free market" systems tend to lead to a less than optimal market efficiency for a variety of reasons - the biggest of which is that there are people involved and there are a lot of imperfections in markets."

                                                So then you shouldn't have a problem with having the government and the people making sure that monopolies are substantiated before granting them. If the justification is the cost why not have independent auditors audit them to ensure that the costs are true unless there is something to hide?

                                                 

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                                                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:57pm

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

                                                  "Indeed, one of the biggest arguments among economists is that "free market" systems tend to lead to a less than optimal market efficiency for a variety of reasons - the biggest of which is that there are people involved and there are a lot of imperfections in markets."

                                                  There are people involved in "non-free" markets and there are imperfects in governments just as well. Who is to say that the government (composed of people) is any more perfect than the people in free markets.

                                                  Free markets lead to less than optimal efficiency because there are people involved is a big argument among economists? No, that sounds like something you made up.

                                                   

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                                              Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:12pm

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

                                              "The patent system ALWAYS had TWO PARTS. Pay attention carefully now.

                                              (1) The inventor reveals his knowledge for the ultimate benefit of society.

                                              (2) Society grants the inventor an EXCLUSIVE RIGHT to his invention for a limited period of time."

                                              Let me rephrase that.

                                              1: The person can't survive in a free market so he tells unelected officials what he wants a monopoly on.

                                              2: unelected officials grant him that monopoly.

                                              It's entirely one sided.

                                               

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                                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 11:33pm

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

                                                "The inventor reveals his knowledge for the ultimate benefit of society."

                                                Oh, and regarding the inventor "revealing" his knowledge to society, all he's doing is dictating to us what we can't build. That's not doing anyone a favor. If I come across a problem I don't need you to tell me that I can't implement a solution, thank you very much, we (ie: society and businesses that hires engineers) can find a solution all on our own just as well as you can WITHOUT your help and WITHOUT you telling us what solution we may and may not implement.

                                                 

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                                                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 7:08am

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

                                                  We see how well that has worked for thousands of inventions. Of course, it is always easier to copy someone's solution than to find one of your own. As for "dictating to us what we can't build," yes, that is true. But, after the patent has expired you can use that knowledge freely.

                                                  It is amazing how many people claim they "could have" invented the same invention because it is "obvious," and yet, there are inventions that have taken decades to develop. Where were you when we needed your "obvious" solution?

                                                   

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                                              Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:14pm

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

                                              "The granting of a patent should be on novelty rather that cost of expenditure."

                                              You mean like swinging sideways on a swing?

                                               

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                                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 7:27am

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

                                                Ah yes. The famous swing patent that was essentially meaningless and pointless. In any system, including that of "free markets," though they do not and never have existed, there will always be flaws.

                                                 

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                                              Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:31pm

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

                                              "In other cases, while the return on investment is not repaid in 20 years"

                                              You claim that patents are doing because these corporations (and people) are in it for the money. If that's the case, it's not about the ROI per se, how much you will invest into R&D will be determined on the PRESENT VALUE of each additional dollar invested on R&D. So say someone invests $100 now. If s/he plans on recouping that $100 twenty years from now the PRESENT VALUE of that $100 twenty years from now is MUCH LESS than the present value of that $100 now. So s/he likely will not invest $100.

                                               

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                                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:38pm

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

                                                In other words, if I'm going to invest, say, $10,000 into R&D now for a return I plan to acquire twenty years from now or even ten years from now my future return better be A LOT MORE than $10,000 to justify me spending $10,000 NOW.

                                                Do you NOT understand time value of money concepts? Here

                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_value_of_money

                                                 

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                                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 7:26am

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

                                                Of course the investor assumes that they will exceed the cost of development and be able to make a profit on their investment. Why do you keep talking about $100 20 years from now? Inventions are sometimes profitable within a year or two. Others may take a few years. If you know you are not going to be profitable with an invention in 20 years, why would you develop it in the first place?

                                                 

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:35am

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

                                      Are you stupid or ignorant? People invent because that is their chosen career. They invent for the hope to make money. Advancement or helping society is typically not a consideration.

                                      What do you mean invention is "not where the money is"? If your job is to invent, there has to be money in it. Indeed, why would anyone invent if there is no money in invention? Indeed, if there was no money in it, then all we would do is "innovate." Eventually, we would have the best buggy whips and buggies in the world, but no ipods, no video games, no computers, no clean diesels, and a lot more no's.

                                      Those who want to invent for the sake of invention don't do it because they want profits.

                                      You obviously do not know any inventors. Would you like some phone numbers of a few?

                                       

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                                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:55am

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

                                    You are taking a quote from the very, very early portion of Clessie's career. You obviously overlooked a couple of important FACTS.

                                    First, Cummins was not enthused about filing for a patent at that time, not because he was uninterested in a patent, but because HE WANTED TO PERFECT THE SYSTEM. Oooooooo, kind of missed that point, didn't you?

                                    Also, as you get further in the book, and then in "Diesel Odyssey of Clessie Cummins," Cummins is quoted a number of times regarding how important patents were to him and to his ability to get paid for his inventions, particularly after he left Cummins Engine Company and started his own company.

                                    Patents are credited for helping Clessie Cummins to be able to recoup his huge investment of time and money and enabled him to make a profit. As he points out in his book, he needed the patent to be able to proceed.

                                     

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 11:25am

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

                                      "First, Cummins was not enthused about filing for a patent at that time, not because he was uninterested in a patent, but because HE WANTED TO PERFECT THE SYSTEM."

                                      Please provide evidence of this. Making up your own reasons why you think he didn't file for a patent doesn't count. Give quotes please.

                                       

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                                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 8:20am

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

                                        "First, Cummins was not enthused about filing for a patent at that time, not because he was uninterested in a patent, but because HE WANTED TO PERFECT THE SYSTEM."

                                        Please provide evidence of this. Making up your own reasons why you think he didn't file for a patent doesn't count. Give quotes please.

                                        Gladly!

                                        Page 152 lines 31-32, noting why Clessie did not want to file a patent application yet:

                                        "Clessie first wanted to improve the technology."

                                        Would you like anything else?

                                         

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                                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

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

                                  "So, when an individual inventor, say, Clessie Cummins, invites a novel engine brake after decades of thought and development, and at his own expense..."

                                  "Cummins' former employer, Irwin, invested a great deal of money in Cummins' company"

                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clessie_Cummins

                                  (again, all of this was before patents even got in the picture and Cummings didn't seem to excited about even getting a patent after the fact).

                                  So when you come in here and say, "well, there is an invention and a patent is involved, so the patent must be responsible for helping to advance the invention" it is correct of me to ask you to PROVE that patents were responsible for helping advance the invention (not to merely assert such a thing).

                                   

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                                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:51am

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

                                    "So, when an individual inventor, say, Clessie Cummins, invites a novel engine brake after decades of thought and development, and at his own expense..."

                                    "Cummins' former employer, Irwin, invested a great deal of money in Cummins' company"

                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clessie_Cummins

                                    (again, all of this was before patents even got in the picture and Cummings didn't seem to excited about even getting a patent after the fact).


                                    lol...I see Wikipedia got it wrong. I refer you to "Diesel Odyssey of Clessie Cummins" and "The Engine That Could."

                                    Cummins' "company" was actually Irwin's company. Irwin provided the finances and ultimately the management, and Cummins provided the technical genius.

                                    As for patents, Cummins filed for patents from almost the BEGINNING, and, as stated in both books, patents were very important to both companies.

                                    However, you MISSED (big shock here, given your ability to comprehend FACTS) was that Cummins LEFT Cummins Engine Company and started his own company, which Irwin DID NOT INVEST IN. It was after Cummins left Cummins Engine Company that he invented and patented the engine brake.

                                    As for "excited about patents," Clessie Cummins repeated again and again and again the criticality of obtaining patents on his inventions in the books noted above, particularly "Diesel Odyssey." I recommend you read them if you wish to learn how important patents are to an inventor wishing to make money from his inventions.

                                    So when you come in here and say, "well, there is an invention and a patent is involved, so the patent must be responsible for helping to advance the invention" it is correct of me to ask you to PROVE that patents were responsible for helping advance the invention (not to merely assert such a thing).

                                    I recommend that when I provide references regarding the importance of patents to an inventor, as I have, that you not merely blow them off, but actually go look at the references. The evidence is there, in abundance. Have fun reading. Both books are a lovely case study in the value of patents to inventors.

                                     

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 11:16am

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

                                      "I recommend that when I provide references regarding the importance of patents to an inventor"

                                      I'm still waiting for references.

                                      "As for "excited about patents," Clessie Cummins repeated again and again and again the criticality of obtaining patents on his inventions in the books noted above, particularly "Diesel Odyssey.""

                                      Where?

                                      As I glance through the Book I see example after example of money and resources wasted on patent litigation including examples of patents hindering innovation. For example,

                                      "Since Diesel had no patent in patent in Holland, Brons & Sons was free to develop diesel-type oil engines."

                                      It was the lack of patents that allowed this innovation and it was patents that prevented this innovation from occurring elsewhere.

                                       

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                                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 11:24am

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

                                        Here is another example

                                        "The models Busch sold were used in power plants, mines, mills, retail operations, and manufactories, while production of the first marine diesel was stalled by the Busch patent monopoly until about 1910."

                                        Not to mention all the money that was wasted on patent issues.

                                         

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                                          Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 11:30am

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

                                          Another example of where patents harmed Cummings.

                                          "But Ohio Crankshaft put an end to competition from Atlas (and several other manufacturers) by threatening patent litigation."

                                          All throughout the book patent litigation and patent issues seemed to make things a lot more expensive than they should be for Cummings and they seemed to cost him, and everyone, enormous resources, resources that could have gone into advancing technology instead.

                                           

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                                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 8:16am

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

                                        "I recommend that when I provide references regarding the importance of patents to an inventor"

                                        I'm still waiting for references.

                                        I give you one for now, from "The Engine that Could," page 47, discussing the steps that Cummins and W.G. Irwin were taking to change Cummins Engine Co. from a licensee to a developer of technology:

                                        "This critical meeting probably took place in the second half of 1921. It was then that W.G. [Irwin] and Clessie [an inventor] put concrete plans in motion to transform Cummins from licensee to diesel developer. The application for Clessie's patent in September...was one step."

                                        Then, on page 48 of the same book there is a discussion of the formation of the Oil Engine Development Company (OEDC), which Clessie Cummins would own 50% of:

                                        "The following month, Clessie Cummins and W.G. Irwin formed a new organization to carry out the required development work. The [OEDC] was organized on February 2, six days before application for its incorporation was filed in Bartholomew County. Although the company's mission statement was reminiscent of the engine company's - to "design," build, improve, develop, perfect, and sell oil and other engines, and, in connection therewith, to acquire, hold, sell, assign, and license to use patent and patent rights..."

                                        Tell me again how Cummins did not care about patents.

                                        "As for "excited about patents," Clessie Cummins repeated again and again and again the criticality of obtaining patents on his inventions in the books noted above, particularly "Diesel Odyssey.""

                                        Where?

                                        Page 53 of "Diesel Odyssey of Clessie Cummins" describes how Cummins came up with the invention of an improved "stuffing box" for boats and the award of his first patent. On page 55, it is apparent that he thought this patent and invention were important because he created stationary with the return address:

                                        Clessie L. Cummins
                                        Manufacturer of
                                        The Cummins Universal Stuffing Box
                                        The Only Self-Aligning
                                        Device for Power Boats
                                        Columbus, Indiana

                                        On page 58 is a description of how Cummins Engine Company was initiated. Worthy of note was that Clessie Cummins was the one who convinced W.G. Irwin to invest in the endeavor and item #2 of the articles of incorporation:

                                        2. Take out patents, acquire patents, and transfer patents.

                                        Cummins experience with patents, both licensing and getting his own, already told him how important they were.

                                        There are other references throughout the book, but another one from pages 367 and 368, speaking of the patents he obtained on an engine brake:

                                        "Securing a potentially lucrative licensee for one retirement idea was a great satisfaction to Dad. It not only had returned his development expenses through the option payment, but would also bring increasing royalties to him. While he lived to see only a promising dawn of its [the brake] increasing success, it was long enough for him to be vindicated for his vision and determination so underestimated by naysayers in Columbus [referring to those who did not think he could have come up with a successful engine brake design on his own when hundreds of engineers had tried and failed to create such a brake]."

                                        As I glance through the Book I see example after example of money and resources wasted on patent litigation including examples of patents hindering innovation. For example,

                                        "Since Diesel had no patent in patent in Holland, Brons & Sons was free to develop diesel-type oil engines."

                                        It was the lack of patents that allowed this innovation and it was patents that prevented this innovation from occurring elsewhere.


                                        Yes, but it turns out that those patents ultimately drove others to make improved diesel engines that avoided all the patent issues. In fact, the improved diesel engines were much better than the original and used a different technology. Chalk up another benefit to patents - the drive to create options that may be better than the original. In fact, there is example after example of this in the book.

                                         

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 11:42am

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

                                      "Cummins' "company" was actually Irwin's company. Irwin provided the finances and ultimately the management, and Cummins provided the technical genius.

                                      As for patents, Cummins filed for patents from almost the BEGINNING, and, as stated in both books, patents were very important to both companies."

                                      Where in the books does it say this.

                                      "However, you MISSED (big shock here, given your ability to comprehend FACTS) was that Cummins LEFT Cummins Engine Company and started his own company, which Irwin DID NOT INVEST IN."

                                      No, Cummins left his former employer, Irwin, to start Cummings and Irwin invested heavily in Cummings. This was before patents were involved. Please cite in your sources where it says otherwise.

                                       

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

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

                                      "that you not merely blow them off, but actually go look at the references."

                                      At least I provide references but when I ask you for sources you provide none. Or you say, "it's there somewhere, keep looking." Instead of just making things up why not provide sources?

                                       

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                                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 5:53pm

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

                                        What kind of reference are you looking for? Clessie Cummins was listed as an inventor on 33 patents. Many of these were while he was working for Cummins Engine Co. Around a half dozen or more were awarded to Clessie after he left Cummins Engine. Would you like a list of all 33 patents?

                                         

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                                          Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 7:52pm

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

                                          "What kind of reference are you looking for?"

                                          You must be a politician because you're evading the issue.

                                          "Clessie Cummins repeated again and again and again the criticality of obtaining patents on his inventions in the books noted above, particularly "Diesel Odyssey."""

                                          Where does he say this. Quotes and URL's or references. Don't just say, "it's in the book somewhere." Where, what did he say, give me quotes and references.

                                           

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 9:58pm

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

                                      "I recommend that when I provide references regarding the importance of patents to an inventor"

                                      Oh, and I'm still waiting for references on the statement that

                                      "First, Cummins was not enthused about filing for a patent at that time, not because he was uninterested in a patent, but because HE WANTED TO PERFECT THE SYSTEM. Oooooooo, kind of missed that point, didn't you?"

                                      Instead of just your made up statement.

                                      "Clessie Cummins was listed as an inventor on 33 patents."

                                      but as I already demonstrated he didn't seem to care very much for patents and just got them at the recommendation of his lawyer. If anything patent litigation seemed to annoy him and get in his way being that he had a lot of problems with patent litigation.

                                       

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                                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 10:00pm

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

                                        Ie: the cost (in time and money) of patent litigation. He only seemed to get patents as a formality (ie: at the recommendation of his lawyers).

                                         

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                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

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

                      http://www.walmart.com/

                      Just look at the the front of their homepage.

                      Zune = most likely has several patented components.

                      Laptops = most likely have many patented components.

                      Monitors = most likely have many patented components.

                      Playstation 3 = intellectual property.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

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

                        Heck, even sunglasses have patents.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

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

                          Serious? Got a patent number?

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 2:38pm

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

                            I look at sunglasses that I see at the store and many of them have patent numbers right on the sides of the sunglasses. I'm sure many others can attest to that. In fact, if you have a pair of sunglasses you can probably see the patent number for yourself. Go to Wal Mart, look at the sunglasses, look at the side and many of them have patent numbers written right on them.

                            Here, I found this google link.

                            http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=eIU7AAAAEBAJ

                             

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                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

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

                        I said commercial, not web page.

                        However, you have yet to explain why Wal-Mart's sales of someone else's products that contain inventions owned by someone else is relevant to anything.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

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

                          I've explained it, you simply ignore the explanation. I suppose you have no more arguments, your arguments have been destroyed and you can't substantiate anything you say so you must resort to ignoring things that disagree with you. While you may ignore the things that disagree with you others won't and they will take note of your willful ignorance and associate your position with willful ignorance.

                           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Also, one must realize that cableco/bandwidthco companies don't innovate because they have rights of way / a government granted monopoly (ie: in effect, a patent, just named something else) on the infrastructure and no one else is allowed to build new infrastructure or use the existing infrastructure without going through them.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            In other words, Time Warner already has a government granted monopoly on what it does yet it still spends tons of money on advertising meaning that there is little reason to suggest that patents/government granted monopolies does anything to reduce marketing costs.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              How do you arrive at this conclusion?

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:09am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              How do you conclude that Time Warner has a government granted monopoly? What monopoly would that be, and what is your source for that informtion?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:15am

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

                Have you never heard of rights of way? I can't just start laying wires from my house to my neighbors house across the street and cross public property, I need rights of way. The government grants these rights of way to specific entities and hence grants monopolies over these rights of way.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:19am

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

                  Also note, in other countries that aren't so restrictive regarding rights of way, broadband prices have dropped significantly. Hence America is falling behind.

                   

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                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:20am

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

                  lol...The government NEVER grants a monopoly to rights of way. In many municipalities, COMPETING companies (this is where two or more companies offer a similar product) use the SAME right-of-way for their lines.

                  Again, where is the "grant" of monopoly?

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:39am

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

                    In some cases competing companies do use the same rights of way but in many cases the government does grant a monopoly (ie: cable infrastructure) in return for allegedly regulating those monopolies (ie: a natural monopoly).

                    also note that the FCC often has influences over many of these rights of way, so it's not just a city issue.

                    http://www.universalservice.org/sl/applicants/step06/wide-area-network-fact-sheet.aspx

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:41am

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

                      The fact is that people in the U.S. can't just lay wire where they want (and that's fine to some extent) and the government restricts who has rights of way and hence largely limits competition on this sort of thing.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:57am

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

                        That has to be fine, since a right-of-way is co-opting of private property. However, the citizens of the municipalities controlling the right-of-way (mine is controlled by my city) should be proactive in assuring that rights-of-way are competitively used when private companies are permitted to use them. Otherwise, people get what they deserve when they fail to take action.

                         

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                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:56am

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

                      The "government" that you speak of is not the federal government, but local municipalities, as long as we are not talking frequencies. With respect to frequencies, I believe all governments award frequencies to their citizens to eliminate conflict.

                      As for local government's awarding of monopolies, that is a problem with the citizens of that city. They should be more active in their government to prevent awarding of a monopoly, not for the right-of-way, which they do not do, but for access to the right-of-way without competition from others. Fortunately, more and more cities are recognizing that limiting access to city owned rights-of-way ultimately leads to higher prices. Some cities are now taking ownership of cable lines to enable competition among cable companies. Bully for them.

                       

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "PepsiCo (248 patents)"

          Yes, but PepsiCo does have patents on what it does sell yet the very products that it has patents on that it sells it also spends tons of advertising dollars on suggesting that that patents have done little to nothing to eliminate marketing and advertising costs. Look at big Pharma, they have tons of patents yet they spend more on marketing and advertising than they do on R&D.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            BTW, when I say "yes" I am not agreeing that your numbers are true. I am merely saying that even if your numbers are true, so what?

            Also note: many of pepsico's products are trade secrets. The purpose of patents is supposed to be to avoid things like trade secrets. Yet, apparently it hasn't worked. Patents are only used when something is so obvious that it's no secret and hence patents are used to prevent people from using obvious ideas. For example, many ideas are independently created by different people (calculus was constructed by both Newton and Libniz at the same time). Patents are mostly used because some new problem with an obvious solution comes out and someone knows that someone else could and would come up with the same solution, when faced with the same problem (and often times they already have but often the first to file a patent is the one who gets it, especially in other countries), and they want a monopoly on the solution anyways.

            http://ideas.4brad.com/archives/000061.html

            It's often not that the solution is non - obvious and innovative, it's that the solution is obvious but the problem itself is new and the patent office is quick to hand out patents to whomever comes up with the first obvious solution to a new problem.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Also realize, trade secrets are also often a form of intellectual property and an employee can be in trouble with the law (ie: they may have a judgment against them from the corporations) for releasing trade secrets, so in effect, they are "patents" just with a different name (and without the requirement of releasing the information).

               

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Calculus is a discovery, it is not an "invention." It has been known for a while that many discoveries are made simultaneously and independently, but there has been zero evidence that such simultaneity happens to any significant degree with inventions.

               

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              *sigh* There will always be trade secrets. However, how many MORE trade secrets would there be without patents? You somehow seem to think that patents are supposed to eliminate trade secrets. Why would anyone think that? The purpose of patents is to provide an incentive for people to reveal information FASTER than they might otherwise reveal that information. That has nothing to do with trade secrets. I suppose you are going to tie trademark into patents next.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:13am

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

                "However, how many MORE trade secrets would there be without patents?"

                Please substantiate your scare mongering tactics.

                 

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:21am

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

                  Not scare-mongering. The question remains. It is absolutely certain we would have more trade secrets without patents (see Boldrin & Levine, "Against Intellectual Property"). The only question is how many MORE trade secrets would there be?

                   

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                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 11:03am

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

                    "It is absolutely certain we would have more trade secrets without patents "

                    I would like to see evidence of this because it just sounds like more scare mongering to protect a business model that relies on government protectionism to survive.

                     

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:10am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What does this rambling e-mail mean?

             

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Also, companies like IBM don't use many of the patents they have, they just keep them around so that they can

          A: Cross license them (that way they can exercise patents that others have)

          B: countersue if someone sues them for patent infringement.

          Also found this interesting.

          "IBM announced lay offs of 300 good smart people here in Research Triangle Park (a stone's throw from my home in Durham)."

          http://scenttrail.blogspot.com/2009/03/ibm-stop-advertising.html

          While IBM lays off scientists who perform R&D they continue to waste money on telling us how important math is (ie: advertising and marketing).

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I would be interested in knowing just how much cross-licensing IBM has done.

            I would also be interested in how much suing and counter-suing IBM has done with their patents.

            Your comment regarding IBM's advertising and marketing is uninformed. Companies should advertise their products. The bigger their market and the more competitive their market, the bigger advertising and marketing might need to be, even in the face of layoffs. Without that advertising they might well be laying off more people.

            However, your comments neglected an important point, and that is that IBM is not one of the biggest advertisers, in spite of getting more patents per year than any other company.

             

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:18am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You're missing the point. Patents are supposed to help with R&D yet apparently, in the case of IBM, they are not doing any such thing.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 11:02am

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

                Interesting. So, IBM has cross-licensed several times. Yet, in none of the articles did IBM ever state that they have a lot of patents just for the sake of cross-licensing.

                So, other than a very few anecdotes, you have no data on IBM lawsuits and cross-licensing?

                 

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 11:07am

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

                  "Yet, in none of the articles did IBM ever state that they have a lot of patents just for the sake of cross-licensing."

                  Not Just for the sake of cross licensing, though that is an important factor of course. It's simple to deduce that they wouldn't cross license if it wasn't beneficial to them.

                  Also, patents are often used to give one party disproportionate bargaining power when it does come to cross licensing deals and working together and such.

                  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081020/1938442601.shtml

                  But of course I don't expect IBM or Microsoft to admit that they are abusing the patent system for such causes.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 11:20am

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

                    and considering that the majority of patents don't are either not implemented in products (perhaps because patents act as a detriment for the implementation of products) or they are not implemented by the patent holder why do you think that patent holders spend so much money acquiring patents that they don't use?

                    A: To prevent competitors from creating a competing product to their own

                    B: So they can counter sue if anyone does sue them for patent infringement.

                    C: So they can have more bargaining power when it comes to patent cross licensing deals

                    D: So they can patent troll

                    After all, patent trolls don't innovate, they don't create products, yet patents are still of value to them, so just because IBM has a lot of patents doesn't mean that all of those patents are just there to help them innovate and that they aren't used for something else. They're there for a reason and considering that the majority of patents aren't exercised by the entities who own them then what other reasons are there: cross licensing is one of those reasons, countersuing is perhaps another, preventing others from innovating and hence competing is perhaps another, etc...

                     

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                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 11:59am

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

                      How about so they can sell their inventions to someone else. There are companies who have made a business of inventing things and then selling them to others so that they might produce and market those inventions. IBM is one of those companies.

                       

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 11:42am

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

                    Perhaps they are often used, but you attributing a motivation to IBM without evidence.

                    However, IBM does have a stated purpose of earning income from licensing their inventions, and they make substantial revenue from licensing, as has been often publicized.

                     

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                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 12:05pm

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

                      "Perhaps they are often used, but you attributing a motivation to IBM without evidence."

                      I am merely stating different possibilities.

                       

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                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

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

                      "Perhaps they are often used, but you attributing a motivation to IBM without evidence."

                      The only assumption one has to make is that IBM (just like any other corporation) is self interested.

                      However, it seems like the only evidence you would take as valid is an outright admission that IBM is abusing the patent system for the wrong reasons. Of course I expect no such thing.

                       

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                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 11:08am

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

                  "So, other than a very few anecdotes, you have no data on IBM lawsuits and cross-licensing?"

                  Cross licensing among entities that have many patents is common, but it's those smaller entities with fewer patents (ie: the average Joe Blow) that doesn't get to have fair cross licensing deals and that end up losing in the end as a result.

                   

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 8:32am

      Re:

      You would think so. As they tend to teach in business classes, when business is bad, spend more on advertising. Unfortunately, companies routinely react by reducing R&D and engineering and spending more on advertising when revenue decreases, rather than the reverse. Milking what you have is almost always an MBA answer to decreasing revenue rather than finding new stuff.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 7:37am

    I already explained why patents last way too long here ( http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090826/0111055998.shtml ) and I figure I'll reference the post here as well.

    See post Aug 26th, 2009 @ 4:14am

    ChrisB paraphrased what I said by saying.

    "So basically there are diminishing returns on innovation investment for each additional year patents are extended.

    If patents lengths are doubled, the investment into R&D may increase slightly, but certainly isn't going to double."

    20 year patents are way too long and the last couple of years won't contribute much to R&D. How much money would you give me now to receive $100 twenty years from now. Not much. You also wouldn't invest much into R&D now to receive $100 twenty years from now as well.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 7:39am

      Re:

      But of course our patent system isn't designed to foster innovation, it's designed to hinder innovation and to allow rich and powerful entities to make money without innovating and without doing any work.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 8:34am

        Re: Re:

        Nice statement of belief. Do you have facts to back that up? Consider that about 1/3 of all patents are awarded to individuals. Consider that another third of all patents are awarded to small and medium size companies. When about 2/3's of all patents are issued to relatively poor and non-powerful entities, how does that support your argument?

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 8:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          In addition, individuals and small companies are incredibly anxious to get their product noticed and used. Seems like a perfect basis for innovation.

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          But then patents get sold to rich and powerful entities.

           

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        •  
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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 9:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Also, where are your numbers? Do you have sources?

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            www.uspto.gov Look for the TAF reports. The information is all there.

             

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            •  
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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 10:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You're the one making the claim, give me the report links. I'm not going to dig around to substantiate your claims, especially if they are unfounded I'll just be on a wild goose chase.

               

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 11:38am

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

                I gave you the links...however, you will still have to dig for them.

                As for the searches in the USPTO database, use the following format:

                http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-adv.htm

                AN/[company name]

                And you will find the number of patents issued to that company since 1976.

                As for the TAF reports, they are all locatd at:

                http://www.uspto.gov/go/taf/reports.htm#by_org

                However, you will have to work for statistics. You need to separate out the big companies from the top inventors, and sum the remaining patents, including those for individual inventors. I am a little out of date on individual inventors. Seems like they peaked at about 30% or so of patents a few years ago, but they are now around 18% or so of issued patents.

                 

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2009 @ 1:16pm

    Given that the comments have splintered off in all directions, it seems to me that the linked article is of little moment and relevance.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 8:32pm

    sp/You claim that patents exist because these corporations (and people) are in it for the money.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 9:42pm

    I found these links interesting.

    "The site will focus on medical process patents because these patents are universally disparaged by medical organizations. "

    http://harmfulpatents.org/blog/

    But of course the scientists nor the people have any say over the law, its' only rich and the powerful who use broken laws to exploit the poor that have a say. Of course the rich and the powerful is always right and everyone else is always wrong. America is always right and all other nations are always wrong and, on top of that, it's the rich and the powerful that are always right and the masses in America that are always wrong.

    Also see

    http://thepriorart.typepad.com/the_prior_art/2009/08/patent-litigation-weekly-stanford-resear cher-loses-at-pto-still-fights-on.html

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 10:01pm

      Re:

      Also found this quote interesting.

      "Tens of millions of dollars have been spent in legal fees in pursuit of royalties on undeserved obvious patents that assert ownership of the concepts of HIV drug resistance and virus load monitoring. The legal fees alone could have been used to pay for virus load and/or resistance testing for hundreds of thousands of patients. Moreover, the patent on the concept of the HIV drug resistance testing was the basis for the cross-licensing agreement between Stanford and ABL."

      http://harmfulpatents.org/blog/

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 10:26pm

    I also find it interesting that intellectual property maximists (mostly rich and powerful corporations of course) even admit that there is a problem with the USTPO

    "[T]these proposals represent a huge risk for the Patent and Trademark Office, which already is under severe strain as indicated in Congress’ emergency approval to use trademark fees for patent functions. Adding new obligations to the agency at this time seems extraordinarily unwise. Almost inherently, the basic patent examination function will suffer, with the result of longer patent pendency and lower patent quality. . .

    Another troubling aspect of the post-grant review and inter partes reexamination proposals is that, as written, they are vulnerable to a high level of abuse."

    http://271patent.blogspot.com/2009/09/and-were-off-companies-turning-to.html

    but they only do so when it's in their best interest to make such an argument. Otherwise they would argue till the bitter end (and many on techdirt have argued such a thing) that there is no problem.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 7:10am

      Re:

      Many people using the patent system have issues with the system. Indeed, who is driving patent reform, those against the system or those who use the system? Do you need a hint?

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 7:30am

    "Indeed, one of the biggest arguments among economists is that "free market" systems tend to lead to a less than optimal market efficiency for a variety of reasons - the biggest of which is that there are people involved and there are a lot of imperfections in markets"

    And since people are the biggest problem with the system, lets eliminate them! If we do that, we won't even need a healthcare system.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 8:25am

      Re:

      Even better, rather than focusing on something that accounts for a few percent of costs (patents), how about we focus on smoking porkers who eat fried twinkies while in their recliners (about 25%)? Or, we could invent a better administration system to reduce that 20%. Gee, those two items alone acccount for close to 50% of healthcare costs. But, no, it is easier to focus on patents that have a few percent affect on healthcare costs. So, to reduce the price of cars we should focus on the cost of the cloth in the seats? Does anyone know what a Pareto chart is?

       

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  •  
    identicon
    DB, May 21st, 2011 @ 1:02am

    Get Rid of Patents

    The FDA latest Ban of vitamin Pyridoxamine at the behest of Big Pharma illistrates the need to elliminate patents entirely by constitutional amendment. If a technology os needed, it will come, someone in either Govt or Private Sector will provide the funding.

     

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


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