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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 17:30:57 -0400
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.4 (PPC Mac OS X)

In article <x5sme6d6nd.fsf@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <> 

> "Barry Pearson" <> writes:
> > Barry Margolin wrote:
> > [snip]
> > > 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.
> > [snip]
> > 
> > I think the pharmaceutical industry is the classic case. They spend
> > gob-smacking amounts on trying to make the next life-saving drug.
> Get your numbers right.  They spend more money on advertising than
> research.

That doesn't diminish the amount they spend on R&D.  They spend lots on 
R&D, and they spend lots more on advertising.

And if they didn't have patents, they would probably have to spend even 
*more* on advertising -- not only would they have to convince consumers 
that they need the drug in the first place, they would also have to 
convince them to buy it specifically from *them* rather than the 
competitors who simply copied the drug and are therefore able to sell 
for less or do less advertising.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
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