UK Inventor To Lord Mandelson: Make Patent Infringement A Criminal Offense

from the yeah,-that'll-help dept

A whole bunch of folks have been sending in the story of how UK inventor Trevor Baylis has written a letter to UK Business Secretary (and sudden fan of kicking people off the internet), urging him to change patent law to make it a criminal offense, using the same old tactic: comparing an "invention" to real property, and noting that stealing a car will get you jail time -- so why doesn't "nicking" a patent? Well, Mr. Baylis, it doesn't get you jail time for a whole host of very good reasons: when someone steals your car, you no longer have your car. If someone happens to come up with the same invention as you do, both of you still have it. Plus, note in that last sentence that patent infringement rarely involves actual "stealing" or "nicking" of ideas, but usually is about multiple people coming up with the same general idea at the same time. Doesn't it seem slightly problematic to think that you might go to jail if someone else just happened to come up with the same invention you did, but got to the patent office a day earlier? Hopefully, Mandelson will explain this sort of thing to Mr. Baylis, but given his confusion over copyright... that seems unlikely.

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  1. identicon
    ZAK, 2 Sep 2009 @ 7:36pm

    Making patent infringement a crime.

    It does not matter, who proposed it and why. What matters is: is he right or wrong and is the proposal good or bad. Anyone who attacks the person and not arguing with his proposal is dishonest and discredit himself. The identical invention argument is wrong and distracting. Yes, there are large corporations who infringe on some patent rights especially on rights own by small individual entities, who cannot afford adequate legal defense. Such infringement undermines trust in the legal system and the public looses out. A country can loose its edge in technology at first and its capability to defend herself at second. Super-crime is not far fetched after all. The intellectual property is the same as any other property. If it is stolen, it lost its value to the owner. It is not true that now both the victim and the thief has it. New laws have proponents and opponents based on sense of justice or perception of being future beneficiaries or not. Comments shall be judged accordingly. There is nothing wrong with promoting one's business interest as long it dos no harm and make sense on its own, regardless who proposed and why.

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