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SA government should encourage sharing tech and ideas, not hoarding

From: Bernd Jendrissek
Subject: SA government should encourage sharing tech and ideas, not hoarding
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 11:03:36 +0000 (UTC)
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> A common problem experienced by capital seekers is that many funds
> will only consider a business that has intellectual property such as
> patents. "This is especially frustrating," says de Waal, "because a
> great business concept based on existing technology could be rejected
> in favour of a shakier proposition having proprietary intellectual
> property. In any event, a patent is only ever worth anything if you
> also have the means to defend it."

I thought the SA government liked free software (they seem to prefer to
talk about "open source" which IMHO is an ideological oversight), so the
patent "requirement" alone should concern it.

As far as I understand it, the government's social mandate is to improve
the wellfare of *all* the country's citizens, not just that of
individual companies.  This mandate would be better served by seeking to
maximize *consumer* surplus, not *producer* surplus.

Especially in a developing economy with only a small stockpile of its
own patents, it seems to me that having a strong patent culture can only
be disruptive to the innovation that's required to develop a country.

I don't have any links handy (volunteers, anyone?) but I heard the
Indian government specifically excluded software (algorithms?) from
patentability precisely so that India's burgeoning software industry can
go crazy and take over the world.

- -- 
You can't truly consider yourself a mad scientist until you have seriously
considered transmutation of base metals into gold.  (By neutron bombardment,
of course.) - me
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