[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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

From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: The patent process [Was Re: Sharing the Family PC is Patent-Pending]
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 16:55:06 -0400
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.4 (PPC Mac OS X)

In article <>,
 Stefan Monnier <> wrote:

> > 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.
> Most likely he'll just invest on something else.
> Last I looked, there was no shortage of things to invent and of people eager
> to invent.

But no matter what he invents, without patent protection he's open to 
someone else simply copying it and under-cutting him (since the 
competitor doesn't have to recoup his development costs).  So it becomes 
difficult to make money inventing things -- it's much more profitable 

> > The end result would be that no one invents it, and society is poorer as
> > a result.
> Creativity is pretty deeply ingrained in human nature.  I'm really not
> convinced it needs strong monetary incentives.  I think it's more important
> to make sure nothing prevents it.  E.g. patent-heavy domains tend to stifle
> inventivity because you keep bumping into patented-territory and the risk of
> being sued is just too large.

Yes, creativity is natural.  But how many people are so obsessed with 
creating that they're willing to go broke doing it?  Is someone going to 
develop a cancer drug as a hobby?

Someone else mentioned drugs that don't have a high demand, or are for 
third-world countries that can't afford to pay high prices.  In cases 
like these, not only does the government grant patents, they go further 
and provide tax incentives.

> > But there's often a "race" to be the first one to succeed and patent the
> > result, because of the advantage that provides.  If the patent system
> > didn't exist, they might not bother entering the race in the first
> > place, since success wouldn't provide the hoped-for reward.
> Gosh, you're right.  They might even collaborate instead!Egad!

And then *all* of them go broke, since someone who wasn't even in the 
race could copy what they came up with.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]