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Re: The patent process [Was Re: Sharing the Family PC is Patent-Pending]

From: Barry Pearson
Subject: Re: The patent process [Was Re: Sharing the Family PC is Patent-Pending]
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 18:00:23 +0100

Barry Margolin wrote:
> The "magic" mostly occurs in industries where there's a significant
> investment required during the invention process.  If the inventor
> doesn't have a reasonable hope of being able to recoup that
> investment, he may give up on the development, and the same decision
> is likely to be made by all the competing inventors.  The end result
> would be that no one invents it, and society is poorer as a result.

I think the pharmaceutical industry is the classic case. They spend
gob-smacking amounts on trying to make the next life-saving drug. The vast
majority of attempts fail in trials. The cost of satisfying government
agencies is huge. And, by the time they have got through the process, there
are only a few years left on the patent, in which to try to get their money
back! Then it becomes "generic", and everyone can make & sell it.

Change a few details about patent law, and they would make more money if they
just stuck what they had in a bank, fired all their researchers, and just
claimed the interest! (And let people die).

But I know, from decades in IT R&D, that similar investments can occur there
too. And it applies to software as well as hardware. (Anyone who hasn't lived
through it may not have a clue).

Barry Pearson

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