Good Ideas Come From Sharing, Random Collisions And Openness, Not Hoarding And Bursts Of Inspiration

from the once-again dept

This is a point that we've been making for years (and often highlighting the research that proves this), but innovation and good ideas tend not to come from the proverbial "spark of genius." Study after study after study has shown that's almost never the case. Almost all good ideas come from people building on the works of others, with a minor tweak here or there, or a random decision based on a suggestion from someone new, after an idea percolates for months or years. The more open systems are to sharing ideas and spreading information and allowing those collisions to happen, the more likely that new good ideas and new innovations occur. That's why it's so harmful that today's intellectual property systems are built on the false assumption that innovation really does happen through that "spark of genius."

Entrepreneur and author Steven Johnson is about to come out with a new book on this particular topic, Where Good Ideas Come From and has been writing and speaking about some of what's in the book -- which highlights these same points. People have been submitting both his recent TED talk and his recent WSJ piece that makes these points clear:
As he says at one point in the video:
The key thing is to allow those hunches to connect with other people's hunches. That's what often happens. You have half of an idea and someone else has the other half, and if you're in the right environment, they turn into something larger than the sum of their parts. So, in a sense, we often talk about the value of protecting intellectual property. You know, building barricades, having secretive R&D labs, patenting everything that we have, so that those ideas will 'remain valuable' and people will be incentivized to come up with more ideas. But I think there's a case to be made that we should spend at least as much time, if not more, valuing the premise of connecting ideas and not just protecting them.
In the WSJ piece, he highlights an example of this in action:
Earlier this year, Nike announced a new Web-based marketplace it calls the GreenXchange, where it has publicly released more than 400 of its patents that involve environmentally friendly materials or technologies. The marketplace is a kind of hybrid of commercial self-interest and civic good. This makes it possible for outside firms to improve on those innovations, creating new value that Nike might ultimately be able to put to use itself in its own products.

In a sense, Nike is widening the network of minds who are actively thinking about how to make its ideas more useful, without adding any more employees. But some of its innovations might well turn out to be advantageous to industries or markets in which it has no competitive involvement whatsoever. By keeping its eco-friendly ideas behind a veil of secrecy, Nike was holding back ideas that might, in another context, contribute to a sustainable future--without any real commercial justification.
Of course, I think an even better example is the recent research on Alzheimer's that really only took off when everyone involved opened up their data and agreed to avoid patents. Or, how about the research on the human genome that compared patented and public domain gene research, and showed that the patents limited commercial viability. But when the genes were opened up to the public, much more value came out of it. The more you look, the more you find these results pretty much everywhere you look. And it's nearly impossible to find any evidence to support the idea of a "flash of genius" for key innovations in history. In fact, almost every key innovation in history has been shown to have come about to multiple people at once, as ideas are shared and the general progress of knowledge and innovation pushes forward.

This is important if you believe and support innovation. The fact that our entire regulatory system for innovation is based on a disproved theory that makes innovation more difficult should be seen as a serious problem and one worth fixing as quickly as possible.


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    herodotus (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 7:07pm

    "Almost all good ideas come from people building on the works of others, with a minor tweak here or there, or a random decision based on a suggestion from someone new, after an idea percolates for months or years."

    Sorry, but this is oversimplified.

    Ideas come both ways, through widespread collaboration, AND through individual flashes of genius.

    Both approaches can work, given the right conditions, and the right people.

    Don't you agree?

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 8:05pm

      Re:

      Ideas come both ways, through widespread collaboration, AND through individual flashes of genius.


      Ideas... perhaps. Good ideas... not so much. Really, the more you look, the more you realize that good ideas almost always are a process.

       

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        Richard (profile), Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 5:25am

        Re: Re:

        There is no such thing as a really new idea - all ideas even the so called "flashes of inspiration" turn out on close inspection to be the transplanting of an already well known idea into a new domain.

        I challenge anyone to come up with a counter example...

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 7:13pm

    And without a guarantee of monopoly control over the exercise of their flashes, geniuses will shut off their brains and watch jersey shore. Right.

     

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      herodotus (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 7:59pm

      Re:

      I didn't say that, nor do I think that.

      Just so you understand, I agree with Mike about copyright, and IP generally. I disagree with him about intellectual history, and in other contexts, I often disagree with him about aesthetics.

      When I see oversimplified statements, they bother me, whether I am 'for' or 'against' the cause being espoused.

      In Mike's case, I am 'for' the cause.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 8:54pm

        Re: Re:

        We all know an apple fell on newton's head and he had a flash of insight. It's not worth saying. You don't advocate effectively by giving both sides of every issue ad nauseam. Yes, it's hyperbole.

         

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          Richard (profile), Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 5:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Newton's apple "flash of insight" was of course the simple transfer of a well known idea (gravity - you everyone already knew that apples fall off tree) to a new domain- in this case astronomy.

           

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            Jose_X, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 5:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Do you know what happens when an apple falls on a vast stretch of pavement? It doesn't grow.

            When an apple falls in the right place, and the fleshy exterior rots away or gets removed by weather or other forces, you start to get new growth.

            Now do you think the good field was created overnight from a meteor that hit the earth? No, the field is the accumulation of the right treatment for a period of time.

            In short, Newton was going to make many discoveries and contributions whether or not that particular apple had fallen or not. It's a human desire to create, and he was investing heavily in certain areas. He could be quick and accurate upon seeing a particular pattern while most others could not.

            In this example, I was not looking at the connectedness between Newton and his environment (societal influences), but only pointing out that revealing secrets to mere copycats will not allow them to succeed. And if those that get some of this information are in fact fertile fields, then it's reasonable to believe some of them as well would be having apple moments so that giving a monopoly would have led to a loss of competition at best. In fact, holding back peers means Newton cannot keep going as fast.

            Of course, Newton certainly did not need a patent to keep making his contributions. And Newton took a lot of advantage of work done before him in order to take further steps (stand on shoulders). I think it should be clear that Newton did not need patents and likely would have really hated patents mucking with his study of nature and mathematics. He could only stand higher if the giants would be liberal towards him. Otherwise, he'd have to start building lower, do much experimentation, and would not have time to reach the same heights.

            20 years flat?

            Do also note that Liebniz is credited with simultaneously inventing Calculus (using different notation but formalizing some of the same key observations). Now, that must have been one fast non-Newtonian apple to have fallen on two heads at once. Would we want to withhold Calculus for 20+ years after the first of these two were to have patented it? And how about all the many people forgotten or not known by laypeople but who continued making important contributions year in and year out and spread the use and applicability of, eg, calculus? Should they have been hand-cuffed? And note that Calculus or whatever you want to point at were likely to be considered much greater advances than almost anything that has ever gotten a patent.

            On the other hand, we can argue to allow patents only for non-important stuff, but this can lead to some silliness of many people finding this unimportant stuff important enough for them to want to build a business upon and them able to make the inventions largely independently of each other.

            Darned are us if it's brilliant, darned are us if it's not.

            The best solution is not to allow patents, at least unless it has been proven that the one that is able to advance sufficiently refuses to do so unless we give them a long monopoly. I'm not sure who would be the arbiter here and what to offer and when, but in the interest of promoting the progress and not abridging free expression, we need to change the current system to stop tying down people that don't want to be tied down.. and this is particularly true in areas where the cost to compete are relatively low.

            And perhaps we can do something else as well. Give to the patent holder a guarantee of a market slice for t years.. instead of 100% market for 20 years, we should never give more than say 30% and usually for much less than 20 years. This way, people can plan their investments accordingly, knowing there is a subsidy and also knowing that only by allowing competition might this market grow fast enough for that subsidy to end up sizable. Monopolies are bad, but 30% market share (or less, depending on various factors) can still lead to a functioning competitive market. Also, if others fill in for that 30%, the idea is that they give a fraction of profits from that part they went over (ie, you tax all of the industry based on their profits and how much they went into the 10, 20, 30% allotted to the patent holder). We also would need to consider that many patents might apply and the loot should be split. Also, we can allow the patent holder to police the area and make claims. The case now is no better in that the patent holder has to recognize and bring suit. So what we change is that we streamline the process and lower the penalties so that there is greater incentive for people to come forward. We can do something like trebble or more "damages" for the differences in actual profits for that invention vs what was declared prior to the suit. We would also have groups that would focus on servicing patents on others' behalf. One prob I see is that to properly pay the tax, you have to have a legit claim (so as to know the market share percentages among the various applicable patents and frequency weigh each one properly), but this perhaps can be solved by having groups pay estimate taxes and then provide a clean update say 1, 2, or 3 years later after the patent holders have been given time to file claims against companies/products.

            [I am suggesting this as a compromise, but there are tricky details to figure out I am sure (I don't currently have link to a person who was featured here within the past year I think and who wrote up a longish piece on just this feature of taxing the industry profits).]

            If a patent offers a few people greater incentives, how great is the disincentive offered to everyone else once a patent has been ordained and made known? Does anyone want to try and weigh the gains against the losses? Especially in light of the fact that great contributions have often been made by several near the same time, yet we daily offer many patent monopolies for things that are of much much lower quality than what leads to a Nobel Prize. Sure, we gain by waiting 20 years on each of these patents. Sure, it's a fair deal for society to have to wait 20 years once the very first submission to the patent office was made. Sure. Sure. Sure.

            ....
            We cannot develop fertile fields without a lot of help (via successful patterns) from society.

            There is a very good reason that Calculus was not invented in 5000 BC, or that around the time Calculus had been invented, lot's of other people were also making great contributions (eg, the European Enlightenment period).

             

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    R4ltman (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 8:07pm

    Am I finally no longer Alone in the Future

    I love the direction you all are going in, i've been alone in the future painting the invisible since 1996 and 2004 respectively. I make video collage, mis(appropriate)ly called mash up, since dj's began mixing videos, the press horseless carriagedly labeled it mash ups, eventhough it was hardly That non linear, it was/is essentially mixing. I like to make video collage, to try and create some kind of sloppy essay of visual linguistics that i like to cool, and here's the texty shot "Recontextualized Content Promotions" someone call the Word Spy, cause we are set for citing.

    I will read the article now.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2010 @ 9:13pm

    About Creativity...

    I'm pretty sure it just needs cats.

    http://ikeacat-alogue.co.uk/

     

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    herodotus (profile), Oct 1st, 2010 @ 9:57pm

    "Really, the more you look, the more you realize that good ideas almost always are a process."

    It depends on how you are looking at it. I agree that all knowledge comes out of some sort of conversation, whether real (live or online) or fictional (like e.g. 'talking' with Plato or Galileo or Montesquieu or Clay Shirky via reading and reflection).

    But I think that there is always a danger in downplaying individual genius. Some people are just plain gifted: they have abilities that other humans don't have. In some cases (e.g. sports) this individual 'giftedness' is encouraged, because there is a lot of money involved, but in many other cases it is more of a curse.

    Look at the life of the
    physician Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (1818-1865). Semmelweis's crime was two-fold. He discovered the cause of puerperal fever which, in the early decades of the nineteenth century, killed poor women who delivered their babies in teaching hospitals rather than in their homes by the tens of thousands. That was bad enough. What made it worse was that he also discovered -- before it was discovered that bacteria caused diseases -- that, by washing their hands in a disinfecting solution, physicians could prevent the disease. Unable to reconcile himself to the rejection of his simple remedy and the continuing wholesale medical killing of parturient women, Semmelweis's behavior became increasingly "abnormal." He was incarcerated in an insane asylum and soon thereafter died. (Quoted from this article by Thomas Szasz.)


    Here was a guy who really was just plain smarter than his contemporaries. A guy who just wanted to save lives; who had a cure for a horrible deadly disease that killed thousands of women; a cure that consisted of nothing more than doctors washing their fucking hands. A guy who gave his ideas to the world freely and with no protection whatsoever.

    And look what it got him.


    This is why, when I see statements like

    That's why it's so harmful that today's intellectual property systems are built on the false assumption that innovation really does happen through that "spark of genius."


    it makes me cringe.

    Because the only reward that someone like Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis will ever get is the posthumous one of being acknowledged as being right ahead of his time. And it seems kind of mean-spirited to deprive him of that, too, on the theory that someone else would probably have come up with it soon anyway because, after all, 'almost every key innovation in history has been shown to have come about to multiple people at once'.

     

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      Jose_X, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 6:27pm

      Re:

      What would have been different if he had a patent? Would he had gotten money to start clinics that he otherwise would not have gotten? Why didn't others just steal the idea?

      Are we talking patents or Nobel Prizes?

      Would this person have wanted a monopoly? Did he not seem to want the exact opposite: that everyone imitate his example?

      The mind is a field. You help make it fertile. You must use a whole lot around you. Sometimes your field develops a particular way where a particular seed can take root much faster than with others.

      This person did not create out of thin air. The "apple" may have been a friend dying under particular conditions. This person wanted to share and to have others gain from his experiences.

      Yes, in one area he was apparently quite early for his time. A number of people believed him (eg, his students), but the establishment largely did not (apparently). He got very frustrated understandably and that only made things worse in the end. A patent would have made no sense. People didn't want to copy, and he wanted everyone to copy.

      There are lessons to be learned here (it was also a time of great strife in Europe), but I don't see how this speaks against an article that is for sharing, against monopolizing, and which stated, "And it's nearly impossible to find any evidence to support the idea of a "flash of genius" for key innovations in history.".

      There are many people that have ideas that later turn out to be correct, but many times these people do not provide convincing arguments because they don't understand enough. This doctor helped move society towards the "germ," but he was not able to postulate that correctly. [His problem was that people were not sticking with a routine that appeared to produce results.] Many hypothesize, yet most hypotheses are incorrect. "flash of genius", or more like "seeing is believing", yet arrogance or what not kept others in power from seeing. The doctor could not explain sufficiently well.

      There were many problems with that society. And a running theme I got form the Wikipedia article was that freedom of expression is valuable. It would have been useful if he had been given more access to conduct more research, but he was denied, not because he didn't have a patent, but because he could not convince people. Was there a free market in the first place. Maybe there was too much control by too few already. I captured nothing positive about monopolies from that article.

       

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      Derek Kerton (profile), Oct 4th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

      Re:

      Testing Mike's theory "that someone else would probably have come up with it soon anyway":

      So...did anyone else come up with "washing your hands"? And how quickly thereafter.



      And separately, I think one of the very important points made here at Techdirt is that the idea (even the best), by itself, is of no value. Successful execution around the idea is where most of the value is created. Your case is no exception.

      In this case, it's not a startup with a radical new idea for social networks or limiting messages to 140 characters, it's just convincing other medical practitioners to try something that seems improbable to them. But hand-washing doesn't sound like a hard-sell. I wonder how he went about it? Did he do a scientific study with test and control groups, and document the findings?

      At what point did he begin to go insane? Was he fairly level-headed up to then, because seeming a little off-kilter is not the best way to market a novel idea.

      Semmelweis, for whatever reason, was unable to garner acceptance of his notions. Would a patent on the idea have changed that? Probably not.

      And lastly, what part of your story suggests that Semmelweis' good idea wasn't part of a process? Maybe he was at the butcher, and his butcher told him "I always wash my hands, customers like a clean shop, and a clean butcher." I'm just making shit up, but why on earth would we conversely assume that "hand washing" hit him like a flash of genius. My butcher story is equally probable.

       

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    Yogi, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 2:00am

    example

    Israel is a good example of the value of constant conversation and connectivity.No way does Israel create so much innovation without it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 4:25am

    Perfectly Simple Fix

    It is quite obvious that the cause of the problems in the patent system is the whole idea of patent infringement. Human beings make a whole lot more progress when they are working together in an open collaborative atmosphere. Look at open source software for an example. Patent infringement is poison to collaboration. Patent infringement makes people secretive and uncooperative. It is fundamentally cruel, unfair and nasty. Get rid of it. Dispose of the concept. How long do we have to talk about it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 8:42am

    Yes...let us begin crowd sourcing inventions. Of course, while the group is assembled at the white board a lone inventor (or perhaps in concert with a group of two or three of his/her closest friends) will be hard at work at another location actually coming up with a real workable solution while the other assembled group is still trying to agree on committee assignments.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 3rd, 2010 @ 8:16pm

      Re:

      Yes...let us begin crowd sourcing inventions.

      That's not what anyone said?

      Why must you so blatantly lie all the time? Occupational hazard?

      Of course, while the group is assembled at the white board a lone inventor (or perhaps in concert with a group of two or three of his/her closest friends) will be hard at work at another location actually coming up with a real workable solution while the other assembled group is still trying to agree on committee assignments.

      Ah, the strawman. Last gasp of the patent lawyer who can't understand innovation. Weak, buddy. Weak.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 11:09am

    wow techdirt is really on an anti-musician rights rampage, 3 out of 3 headlines. Why are you always on the side of the people taking, and not those making?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 12:01pm

      Re:

      Likely because the "takers" are doing the "makers" a favor, and the "makers" are simply not smart enough to adopt business models that take advantage of the "favor" being extended by the "takers".

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 5:15pm

      Re:

      And you don't consider the writers on TechDirt "makers"?

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 3rd, 2010 @ 8:14pm

      Re:

      wow techdirt is really on an anti-musician rights rampage, 3 out of 3 headlines. Why are you always on the side of the people taking, and not those making?

      Hmm? I don't see anti-musician articles on the site right now. The top 3 articles all explain ways in which musicians can actually do better for themselves. It's very much about helping those doing the making.

      Perhaps you've misread?

       

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    Ryan Diederich, Oct 2nd, 2010 @ 9:29pm

    Myself

    I am in college for Mechanical Engineering, and plan to become (and kind of already am) an inventor/ good idea maker.

    All I know is, I hate working with people, and most of my ideas come to me in flashes or sparks or whatever. I write them down and all that.

    The premis of Steven Johnson's stance on the subject is that EQUAL TIME should be spent on protecting AND collaboration. The point is that too much time is spent on protection and money grabbing and what not.

    Despite my hates for patent and copyright law, I somehow feel that I will be forced to copyright my inventions, because I am a single person, and that a larger body may see and steal my work.

     

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      Jose_X, Oct 3rd, 2010 @ 8:56pm

      Re: Myself

      Ideas come to me in flashes or sparks as well I guess (neurons "spark"), but I can pretty much trace the idea to things that make perfect sense based on my observations in society. Without society, I would not be in a position to make those "sparks".

      Well, feel free to copyright your invention (I think that is automatic today) and post a link here afterward.

       

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    B. Nicholson (profile), Oct 3rd, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Well, sorta

    One person can innovate as well or better than the entire human race. A lot of stuff generally (badly) ill considered as unapproachable scientifically is quite amenable to systematic testing and elucidation. Right now I can change sexual orientation, I can cure criminal behavior, I can cure drug addiction, I can cure runaway behavior in humans. Making artificial gills is easy, not impossible, so is a room temperature super-conductor. And that one person's contribution can be felt over wide areas, too. Inception was my idea, ditto Avatar, Titanic, The Matrix, Forrest Gump, Star Wars, E.T. and a host of others. You think idea theft is good? Perhaps if we gave out death sentences for filing false copyright & patent claims, we could control theft, but stealing intellectual property is so easy any complete airhead can do it.

    "At least we don't tax innovation and hunt down inventors as much as we used to." That is my solace?


    An effective, broad-spectrum  medical treatment for boarderline personality disorder, suicidal ideation, drug addiction, delinquency, and perversion has been discovered.  It is a human pheromone, the healthy adult male facial skin surface lipid 'kissing daddy' pheromone.  Unfortunately and presumably due to differing metabolic/neuronal pathways, alcoholism is little effected by pheromone treatment.  One dose of 150-250 mg provides permanent relief of even the most obdurate cases.  

    See:

    Nicholson, B. 1984;  Does kissing aid human bonding by semiochemical  addiction?   British Journal  of  Dermatology  111(5):623-627.

    Nicholson, B. 2009:  Of Love  Amazon Digital Services, http://tinyurl.com/y8vxlxp ASIN: B0030MIG24

    BBC-TV interview
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeD6JtqbSbY
    typical anecdote
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVJbRaCVj20

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2010 @ 10:34am

    "That's why it's so harmful that today's intellectual property systems are built on the false assumption that innovation really does happen through that "spark of genius.""

    Nice strawman.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2010 @ 1:30pm

      Re:

      Not to mention that it is wrong as a matter of law...

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 3rd, 2010 @ 8:17pm

      Re:

      Nice strawman.


      What's the strawman? It's entirely accurate.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2010 @ 10:05pm

        Re: Re:

        Where does the 'false assumption' come from, your head?

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 3rd, 2010 @ 11:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Where does the 'false assumption' come from, your head?


          Clearly not. I have detailed for well over a decade the problems with the patent system, and highlighted many books, papers, articles and such on the topic -- many of which make this same point.

          If you believe it's in error, I would suggest actually proving it rather than making snide non-sensical comments, falsely suggesting it is a strawman.

          Prove it or go away.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2010 @ 8:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Huh? I ask you to support your assertion that "intellectual property systems are built on the false assumption that innovation really does happen through that "spark of genius."" and the best that you can come up with is that you've highlighted problems with the patent system. Who is arguing that?

            I disagree that you have provided evidence that "intellectual property systems are built on the false assumption that innovation really does happen through that "spark of genius."" You are making that part up.

            Saying that the patent systems relies on a 'spark of genius' or that inventors claim to rely on a 'spark of genius' is a straw man and you know it.

            Why do you always ask people that disagree with to go away?

             

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              Derek Kerton (profile), Oct 4th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Let's say that an innovation requires a series of useful advances before it is marketable.

              Society contributes foundation A
              Education contribute toolset B
              A person writes and article that offers insight C
              A company launches a product that offers feature D, but lacks function E
              Your sister, who is a chef, tells you she mixes starch with soup for reason F
              You put these things together and reach a fairly clever amalgamation G
              You get some friendly advice, and hone G into a better G.

              Now, you go to the patent office.

              - To whom does the USPTO offer a monopoly on the series of events A-G that delivered G?

              The answer is the patent system ignores A-F and offers G the full force of US law, and an artificial monopoly to back their invention. The patent system does not reward those who only contribute the foundations. It does not reward execution, either. It does reward filing for patents.

              In the patent for G are locked up many of the aspects of A-F, making it difficult for anyone else to skip G and build an H. In fact, any H-makers will now have to pay the toll to G.

              How can Anon Coward doubt that our current system is built on the false assumption that innovation happens through the "spark of genius"? Our system is designed to encourage and reward this "spark", which evidence suggests is seldom the case. Our system does not reward the people involved in the process. It does not reward the inventor of the next step, H, who is actually dis-incentivized. It does not put more ideas into the public domain, but achieves the opposite.

              We spend a great deal of our time on this site arguing with pro-IP people who say that invention IS the "spark of genius" and the idea is where the value is created, and that's why we need a patents system to reward the inventor of the idea "or else we'd seldom see such ideas". NOW, you're going to argue that the patent system isn't based on the notion of a single, genius inventor who deserves all the credit and all the reward? Last I checked, that's how patents work in practice, especially when enforced and argued in court.

              Lastly, a first grade reader could see that there is a difference between:
              "go away" and "Prove it or go away."
              Do you truly lack the ability to distinguish?

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2010 @ 3:48pm

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

                Ya know what. I am going to go away. Tripe like this is exactly what bothers me about techdirt. You completely made all of that up. Am I really supposed to argue with you over your made up scenario?

                 

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                •  
                  icon
                  Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 4th, 2010 @ 4:23pm

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

                  Ya know what. I am going to go away. Tripe like this is exactly what bothers me about techdirt. You completely made all of that up. Am I really supposed to argue with you over your made up scenario?

                  Wait, what? Derek lays out a detailed scenario -- which is based on stuff we all see happen every day -- in response to your one sentence sneer based on NOTHING, and it's *his* response you call "tripe"?

                  Ha! What a riot!

                   

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                •  
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                  Derek Kerton (profile), Oct 6th, 2010 @ 1:40pm

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

                  So, under the request: "prove it or go away", you choose the latter. Nuff said.

                  Adios.

                   

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            •  
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              Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 4th, 2010 @ 4:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Huh? I ask you to support your assertion that "intellectual property systems are built on the false assumption that innovation really does happen through that "spark of genius."" and the best that you can come up with is that you've highlighted problems with the patent system. Who is arguing that?

              I have explained many times over why the patent system is based on such a view. It's because it puts up a roadblock and a toll booth on each invention as if that's the end of the process (i.e., the spark of genius) rather than recognizing that true innovation is a continuous process of trial and error to figure out what the market wants. The patent system gets in the way of real innovation via that system, and rewards only one player, whoever was "first to invent" in the US.

              That's not how innovation works, and, in fact, gets in the way of innovation.

              Why do you always ask people that disagree with to go away?


              Huh. I actually never do that to people who disagree with me. Seriously. Find an example of where I've done it. I'll wait.

              What I have done -- very rarely and only with especially foolish commenters -- is ask them to actually back up some ridiculous assertion they've made, or to stop making it and, yes, go away.

              You made a lame assertion which you can't back up. Hence my response.

              I will note you still have not shown why my assertion is false. And that's because you can't.

               

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  •  
    identicon
    angry dude, Oct 4th, 2010 @ 6:22am

    Masnik is a tool

    Mikey, please put your "studies" where they belong - up your ass

    You've never invented anything in your entire life

    So why do you think you are qualified to talk about this ?

    Maybe ask some real inventors ? (And I mean INVENTORS, not innovators or entrepreners)

     

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    •  
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      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 4th, 2010 @ 7:42am

      Re: Masnik is a tool

      Mikey, please put your "studies" where they belong - up your ass


      I see. So you'd rather live in ignorance than learn. Fascinating.

      You've never invented anything in your entire life


      I have, actually. And I've also built an entire business, and understood what it means to have to keep innovating.

      So why do you think you are qualified to talk about this ?


      Well, first because I have invented. But actually, that's really rather meaningless. To understand whether or not patents help or hinder the economy is done via an economic analysis.

      By your own logic, unless you have an econ degree, you should not be able to comment on the subject. But that would be silly wouldn't it?

      In fact, by your own logic, the last people who should comment on this stuff are patent holders, since obviously they're biased in favor of the system.

      Maybe ask some real inventors ? (And I mean INVENTORS, not innovators or entrepreners)


      I talk to real inventors all the time. Not sure why you think I don't.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        angry dude, Oct 4th, 2010 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re: Masnik is a tool

        "I talk to real inventors all the time. Not sure why you think I don't."

        Keep up good work speading lies, Mikey

        One day you'll come across some pissed off inventor who will kick you in the balls

         

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        •  
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          Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 4th, 2010 @ 4:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: Masnik is a tool

          One day you'll come across some pissed off inventor who will kick you in the balls


          I see. In angry dude's world, violence and ignorance beats knowledge.

          Very convincing. Perhaps some ignorant fool will do physical harm to me. And that will prove what, exactly? That ignorant fools do stupid things?

           

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2010 @ 9:17am

        Re: Re: Masnik is a tool

        "...first because I have invented..."

        Everybody to varying degrees has invented something since in its most basic sense an invention is nothing more than a solution to a problem. Such inventions, however, should not be confused with inventions as contemplated by our patent laws.

        Just out of curiosity, and since you have mentioned it before, what was your invention?

         

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        •  
          identicon
          angry dude, Oct 4th, 2010 @ 10:26am

          Re: Re: Re: Masnik is a tool

          Let me guess..

          magic toilet ball tickler ?

          patented already

           

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        •  
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          Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 4th, 2010 @ 4:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: Masnik is a tool

          Everybody to varying degrees has invented something since in its most basic sense an invention is nothing more than a solution to a problem. Such inventions, however, should not be confused with inventions as contemplated by our patent laws.

          Angry dude accused me of never having invented. I didn't realize that this had some sort of separate qualification that only patent holders were inventors. Poor Ben Franklin, who refused to get a patent for his inventions. Someone should have let him known he was no inventor at all, because angry dude and a patent lawyer said so.

          Just out of curiosity, and since you have mentioned it before, what was your invention?


          We've invented multiple software offerings, of which are business is based on.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 7:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Masnik is a tool

            You misunderstand the distinction I draw between two classes of inventions. The first of of the type people create virtually every day. They face a problem, they solve it, and all is well in their world. The second is the very same thing, except that it additional, potentially also meets the more stringent requirements associated with inventions that may be protectable under our patent laws.

            In no way is this meant to suggest that only inventions protected under our patent laws are "real" inventions. To the contrary. Quite some time ago I made the observation that the vast majority of otherwise patentable inventions are never patented.

             

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  •  
    identicon
    Human Plague, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

    Networks of Tinkerers

    This article reminds me of "Networks of Tinkerers: Examples and a Model of Open Source Technology Innovation"

    @see: http://econterms.net/pbmeyer/research/tinker/tinker4f.pdf

    It basically talks about the Wrights brothers. History has them as "the inventors of the airplane" but the reality is that they were part of a network that were working on planes, and they pulled out near the end to claim the glory. I quote:

    "They began to withdraw from processes of open sharing as they believed they were near to a successful powered glider flight. They filed for a patent and asserted their intellectual property rights in litigation. This led to permanent conflicts with Chanute, who was devoted to open source processes of invention."

    History, who knew it repeated?!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Adam, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 7:40am

    Great ideas

    Thats the thing about great ideas. The truly great ideas will not ever make the inventors any or much money because they are completely specialist in that one area. Anyone who has a good idea, does not necessarily get the credit for it, someone else will always steal it away from them

     

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


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