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Re: The patent process

From: Chris Kwan
Subject: Re: The patent process
Date: 12 May 2004 23:23:33 -0700

Barry Margolin <> wrote in message 
> In article <>,
>  Christopher Browne <> wrote:
> > We might be better off, overall, if money was being spent on the
> > "mature" drugs, that cost less, and that are better understood, as
> > opposed to money getting thrust at the expensive new ones.
> But if the patent process didn't exist, we might not have many of the 
> drugs in the first place, so they'll never get to the point of being 
> mature.
> Patents are a two-edged sword.

I disagree here. Patent is virtually a western invention with less
than 300 yrs of history if I am correct. The easterners created many
inventions and shared many ideas openly by making available the text,
including pasta and making of paper and silk. Of course one would
argue that only limited people may have accessed to these text so in a
way is a barrier. But the fact still remains many inventions
particularly in medicine were tested and challeged by a series of
trial and error in the past. Many modern medicine particularly those
that look for active elements were sourced from ancient manuscripts
for example, resistance to malaria ?

There was this story about how some chinese doctors found some
medicinal herbs that can cure this during Moa days but because of
politics then they could not publish in the west. These doctors were
reading an old manuscript about a plant that grow in rivers and used
this to provide the active ingredient. US Army wanted this but again
because of politics could not obtain the drug but later found out that
in fact the same plant is also found in US etc. There was also the
story of first medical examiner book (for autopsy)from China more than
2000 years written by a famous examiner in his days. The knowledge
there provided the basis for many details of poison and how these can
be detected etc. Do they have patents then ? Nope, but they did have
an apprentice system and knowledge were handed down this way much like
Kung Fu. Did this help to promote new art ? Yeap. Did this increase
the cost of medicine by R & D ? Nope and doctors then were poor as you
know as the chinese medicine looks at prevention rather than cure. BTW
until today no western technology can unravel the art of acupunture
and how it works though and obviously no patents either. There were
many theories and if they can't be explained then its fail the western
standard I guess.


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