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. icon
    mobiGeek (profile), 2 Sep 2009 @ 2:07pm

    Database of patent thefts?

    It comes to mind that it would be in RJR's best interest (and that of other pro-patent folk) to come up with a database of cases involving actual patent "thefts". They could then use that database as proof of the damage done by these thieves.

    I would think that anyone with the breadth of reach of the organisations RJR commands, he would easily be able to develop such a database. It is a simple online application to build and host. Open it to the public and a simple review process to vet out any spammers.

    The power of clarifying the air between patent-theft and simultaneous-invention would completely win public appeal for stronger patent regulation...that is, if such a database could actually show significant damages beyond the converse.

    I wonder why that has not been thought of before??

    (I wonder if anyone has a patent on such a database...)

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