06.17.09

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Intellectual Monopoly Roundup: Comedy or Farce?

Posted in Patents at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Musical note

Summary: News about patents — where does it end?

A unique person with a unique common sense in the EP

It’s not just about the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. The proposed alternative to pharmaceutical patents starts from the fact that the big pharmaceutical companies officially admit they only spend 15% of their revenues on research, to suggest that the governments could take 20% of what they currently spend on drugs (which is a lot of money!) and allocate it to pharmaceutical research, with the results free to anyone. However, the Pirate Party is the only political party to have asserted that all kind of patents have to be abolished, not only the pharmaceutical patents and the software patents!

Interview with Pirate Party Leader: ‘These are Crucial Freedoms’

In the same way, the Pirate Party opposes patents — especially in software, but also in other areas.

“All patents, at their base, are innovation inhibitors,” he maintains. “Patents delayed the industrial revolution by thirty years. They delayed the advent of the North American avionics industry by another thirty years, until the first world war broke out, and the US government confiscated the patents. It delayed radio for five years.” Today, he suggests, advances in electric cars and eco-friendly infrastructure are similarly blocked by patents.

The Fight of His Life

Call him Dr. No. Locked in a bitter dispute over how he can use the fruits of his research, Bob Shafer is asking the same question the courts are now grappling with: Just what can be patented, anyway?

Get Your Hands Out of my Genes!

Our genes might be practically open to discovery, there’s very little physically I can do to prevent you from acquiring my genes and unraveling my genetic code. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be disturbing or unethical if you did this. The knowledge you could get about me, and use against me, is just too potentially disruptive to decide that we are not somehow each custodians, and maybe even more properly guardians, of our individual genetic data.

At the same time, the genome we share cannot be cordoned off. To the degree that our genetic information is mostly the same, we should all have access to it. No one should be able to claim that if we want to peek around, learn some more, and do some studies on this common genetic code, we somehow have to pay for this. Our “common genetic heritage” is, I argue, an actual commons like the sky, sunlight, or international waters. We should treat it as such.

US Green Patents vs. Global Climate Commons

Guess which wins?

Last night the House voted overwhelmingly to establish new U.S. policy that will oppose any global climate change treaty that weakens the IP rights of American “green technology.”

Staggering. Sickening. Suicidal. (Via Against Monopoly.)

Intellectual “Property” Versus Real Property

Intellectual “property” (IP) is a sleeper issue. It seems uncontroversial: Someone invents or writes something and therefore owns it. What could be plainer? But IP contains the power to destroy liberty.

IP isn’t merely about rock bands preventing kids from sharing MP3s over the Internet. (See “Weird Al” Yankovic’s musical commentary, “Don’t Download This Song,” here.) It’s about crusty incumbent firms trying to preserve market share by stifling competition, domestically and in the developing world.

It’s Not About Being First… It’s About Market Adoption

We’ve discussed the difference between “invention” (doing something new) and “innovation” (finding a new successful market) before, and it’s resulted in some long and occasionally contentious discussions. Fred Wilson put up a post recently where he looked at a series of product “success” stories, and tried to figure out what was the key to success. In each one, he noted that the product enabled people to do stuff in a different way — but one of the key findings, was that they all had something else in common: being drop dead simple, leading to much greater adoption

Judge tosses Nintendo Wii patent suit

Since the launch of the Wii, Nintendo has been the subject of no fewer than 15 patent-related lawsuits. While many of those suits are still winding their way through the courts, Nintendo on Thursday issued a statement touting victory over Guardian Media Technologies in one of the more recent patent suits.

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3 Comments

  1. Jose_X said,

    June 17, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Gravatar

    >> Since the launch of the Wii, Nintendo has been the subject of no fewer than 15 patent-related lawsuits.

    Patents can be very anticompetitive (through the use of proxies) if they get into the wrong hands. The lottery winner prefers a symbiotic relationship where the target company lives to prosper and they get a cut all the way. But, for a quick sure payoff, they may instead sell out to a proxy working on behalf of larger competitor(s), who then might try for an injunction or for very high royalties (or for some other high price.. or to bribe management to sell out…) since the entity(-ies) behind the proxy benefits more in various ways that reduce competition and can very unfairly punish the target (and consumers).

    All of this is enabled by patent laws that give too much market distorting power to too few.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Is there any proven incident where Microsoft funded or encouraged a company to harass another using patents (not just so-called ‘IP’ like the SCO case)?

  2. twitter said,

    June 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Gravatar

    The propaganda term “Intellectual Property” should be avoided and explained properly when quoted. Trade Mark, Patents and Copyright are all distinct, government created rights which serve very different purposes. The only thing they have in common are that they are government granted monopolies. The term, “IP” invites confusion of concepts and a degeneration of law. When you confuse the motives of Copyright Law with those of Patent Law, for example, you end up with abominations like business method patents. “IP” is a lie that should always be denied. When you talk about each form of government monopoly in clear terms, the truth becomes obvious.

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