The patent system.
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07-11-2013, 12:14 AM
RE: The patent system.
(06-11-2013 10:25 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  
Quote:The goal of the patent system is to encourage and reward innovation and inventions. It has nothing to do with increasing efficiency or encouraging trade . It is only when patents block innovation that the patent system fails.

That's not what I'm saying. I know the purpose of the patent system, I'm saying it's conflicting with the goals of the broader economy.
As Frank said earlier, him and I believe that Y > X where Y is the hindrance the patent system causes and X is the benefits of having the system.

I disagree the claim that the patent system decreases economic output more than it increases it. I thin you are arguing that the hit to efficiency of the economy caused by the patent system is the reason that the patent system decreases economic output. Without a patent system, only big companies would be able to immediately capitalize on a groundbreaking invention and recover their investment quickly enough to justify the risk of developing new technology.

Even then, if a big company's competitor can just immediately copy an invention, why bother with the very high costs of research and development? If I was the manager of a big company and there was no patent system, I would cease all R&D programs and instead focus entirely on efficiency. Developing anything new would no longer be a competitive advantage, and in fact companies that continued large R&D programs would be at a competitive disadvantage because their costs would be higher than my company with $0 in R&D. I could just copy anything they invent and spend a fraction of the costs reverse engineering someone else's invention.
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07-11-2013, 12:18 AM
RE: The patent system.
(07-11-2013 12:14 AM)BryanS Wrote:  Without a patent system, only big companies would be able to immediately capitalize on a groundbreaking invention and recover their investment quickly enough to justify the risk of developing new technology.

But *with* the current patent system big companies can still steal someone's work. They just gotta have enough money to fight a court battle. Meantime the inventor has no resources to prosecute. Am I missing something here ?

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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07-11-2013, 12:20 AM
RE: The patent system.
@morondog's post on the previous page, You probably posted when all the posts were skewed up.

Quote:1. It's *expensive*. Quite apart from lawyer's fees, the costs of simply registering the patents are high. Not bad for big corporations but not good for small businesses.
2. Once you register the patent, it's *you* who has to bring lawsuits and prove your case in court. You don't get any protection from the patent registration body. I don't see how this could be done differently really, but what it means is again, if you're a small business and you come up with a clever concept, patent it, and someone nicks it, then you've got a big expensive lawsuit on your hands, or you let it go and get no benefit from having the patent.

Indeed ol' wise one.

Quote:3. There is no global registry of patents. That means you have to pay for search fees and whatever else goes into it, and make applications in many different countries. Lawyers laugh all the way to the bank. Plus if you don't register the patent in some back-asswards random country, then hey, no worries. We'll just register it there and take your idea.

This is true and is the big issue all throughout law at the moment. Especially commercial law.
If you live in one country you can't be effected by the laws of a different one. This is a very basic law concept which of course has many issues in regards to a globalized economy today.
This doesn't just effect patents, it effects copyright, trademark everything.

The obvious solution is obvious though.

Quote:4. You can't release your product before you patent, otherwise it becomes public domain. Which means not patentable. So you can't test your idea's market potential before spending the money for the patent.
5. Even if you are granted a patent, it can still be rescinded if prior art is found. Reasonable, yeah, but now you've spent a whack of cash. Plus it gives anyone who violates the patent a great means of nailing you if you go after them. It's even possible for you to have ownership of a patent, sue someone, and be counter-sued for violating some patent that is adjudged to have existed previously.
6. Vague language and so forth make the whole process of prosecution *or* defence in patent cases extremely tricky and yeah, once again, it's lawyers who come out on top.

*strokes chin*

Indeed you are wise young grasshopper.

Quote:7. Patent law is bloody tricky, as is copyright law. It's more or less impossible to know where you stand without legal advice and even then you can't be 100% sure.

Copyright law's not really that bad. It's one of the easier areas of Commercial law. There's a lot more to say contract law than there is to copyright law.

Quote:From the other side... as a software developer it becomes a bit scary because sometimes pretty basic concepts have been patented and you're not sure which side of the law you're on... so you could write your code and some clown could come out of nowhere and demand some hefty license fees - what are you gonna do ? You can't afford a lawsuit...

Indeed.
And this is an issue I think is worth pointing out, that it's hard to know what exactly has been patented because some much has been.
This is why I find it particularly strange that coding can be patented. I see it more like literature. Nobody patents books.. But it would fall under copyright if you just stole someone's code.

Quote:To me it seems that the only people who gain any great benefit from the patent system as it exists currently are 1. lawyers 2. people who have enough money to pay for legal fees should the patents be violated. Mainly it seems to me like they're used as one more tool in the games big businesses play with each other (a thought due to a friend of mine, oddly enough we were having a similar discussion earlier).

And then you have the phenomenon of patent trolls - companies who buy patents from people who can't defend them and go shake down other businesses by accusing them of violating the patent... scumbags, the lot of 'em.

Yip. Thus why I say it was good in the 1800's, but it doesn't work in todays economy.

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07-11-2013, 12:27 AM
RE: The patent system.
(07-11-2013 12:18 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(07-11-2013 12:14 AM)BryanS Wrote:  Without a patent system, only big companies would be able to immediately capitalize on a groundbreaking invention and recover their investment quickly enough to justify the risk of developing new technology.

But *with* the current patent system big companies can still steal someone's work. They just gotta have enough money to fight a court battle. Meantime the inventor has no resources to prosecute. Am I missing something here ?

You are describing the general problem of the resources of large companies versus the small guy. The law, though, is on the side of the inventor. Yes, companies with a lot of resources can throw a lot of money at a problem, but that's not special about patents.
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07-11-2013, 12:37 AM
RE: The patent system.
(07-11-2013 12:27 AM)BryanS Wrote:  You are describing the general problem of the resources of large companies versus the small guy. The law, though, is on the side of the inventor. Yes, companies with a lot of resources can throw a lot of money at a problem, but that's not special about patents.

That's why I think that the system needs an overhaul. For example, if you pay some exorbitant fee, then the patent authority agrees to protect your patent *for* you, removing the problem of you not having resources to fight it. It seems fair to me, just unworkable, because yeah, it's not like patent authorities have vast reserves of cash.

Like I say, because of this issue, the *only* people that I can see deriving benefit from the current patent system are lawyers and *big* companies, and once they're big enough it hardly matters that someone violates their patent, it hardly affects their bottom line, and they have a lovely time suing the pants off the violator. The system *should* be protecting the little guy more IMO, 'cos they're the ones who lose most if things go pear shaped.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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07-11-2013, 12:41 AM
RE: The patent system.
(07-11-2013 12:14 AM)BryanS Wrote:  
(06-11-2013 10:25 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  That's not what I'm saying. I know the purpose of the patent system, I'm saying it's conflicting with the goals of the broader economy.
As Frank said earlier, him and I believe that Y > X where Y is the hindrance the patent system causes and X is the benefits of having the system.

I disagree the claim that the patent system decreases economic output more than it increases it. I thin you are arguing that the hit to efficiency of the economy caused by the patent system is the reason that the patent system decreases economic output. Without a patent system, only big companies would be able to immediately capitalize on a groundbreaking invention and recover their investment quickly enough to justify the risk of developing new technology.

Even then, if a big company's competitor can just immediately copy an invention, why bother with the very high costs of research and development? If I was the manager of a big company and there was no patent system, I would cease all R&D programs and instead focus entirely on efficiency. Developing anything new would no longer be a competitive advantage, and in fact companies that continued large R&D programs would be at a competitive disadvantage because their costs would be higher than my company with $0 in R&D. I could just copy anything they invent and spend a fraction of the costs reverse engineering someone else's invention.

I disagree that only big companies could develop new things. But at the same time, that is efficiency in action as big companies are in a better position to produce new concepts because they have the brand recognition, distribution etc..
This is not a bad thing.
This is kept in balance because the less efficient business are pushed out by the more efficient. The old and reluctant to change is pushed out by the new and exciting.
A good example of what I'm talking about is purhaps the computer market.
You have Microsoft and Apple. If Microsoft just stopped at Windows 7, it stopped producing any further operating system, than Apple is going to eventually surpass them. 20 years from now if all Microsoft offered was Window 7 as it stands today and Apple has Apple 25 or whatever the fuck (I don't know apple products very well, obviously), than Apple 25 is going to win out because it's the better product.

And this is why I disagree with you that it will just flat out halt companies doing any research and development. Because the company that produces the superior product (for price) will win out. And so research and development will help companies develop better products. And with copyright law it would stop straight up copying, ie: Apple selling Windows 7. So companies that wait for their competitors to bring out something new will lag behind.

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07-11-2013, 12:51 AM
RE: The patent system.
(07-11-2013 12:41 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  
(07-11-2013 12:14 AM)BryanS Wrote:  I disagree the claim that the patent system decreases economic output more than it increases it. I thin you are arguing that the hit to efficiency of the economy caused by the patent system is the reason that the patent system decreases economic output. Without a patent system, only big companies would be able to immediately capitalize on a groundbreaking invention and recover their investment quickly enough to justify the risk of developing new technology.

Even then, if a big company's competitor can just immediately copy an invention, why bother with the very high costs of research and development? If I was the manager of a big company and there was no patent system, I would cease all R&D programs and instead focus entirely on efficiency. Developing anything new would no longer be a competitive advantage, and in fact companies that continued large R&D programs would be at a competitive disadvantage because their costs would be higher than my company with $0 in R&D. I could just copy anything they invent and spend a fraction of the costs reverse engineering someone else's invention.

I disagree that only big companies could develop new things. But at the same time, that is efficiency in action as big companies are in a better position to produce new concepts because they have the brand recognition, distribution etc..
This is not a bad thing.
This is kept in balance because the less efficient business are pushed out by the more efficient. The old and reluctant to change is pushed out by the new and exciting.
A good example of what I'm talking about is purhaps the computer market.
You have Microsoft and Apple. If Microsoft just stopped at Windows 7, it stopped producing any further operating system, than Apple is going to eventually surpass them. 20 years from now if all Microsoft offered was Window 7 as it stands today and Apple has Apple 25 or whatever the fuck (I don't know apple products very well, obviously), than Apple 25 is going to win out because it's the better product.

And this is why I disagree with you that it will just flat out halt companies doing any research and development. Because the company that produces the superior product (for price) will win out. And so research and development will help companies develop better products. And with copyright law it would stop straight up copying, ie: Apple selling Windows 7. So companies that wait for their competitors to bring out something new will lag behind.

Without a patent system, why should Windows bother with anything other than what they have now. If Apple does move ahead, they just copy Apple and sell their own version of Mac OSX. It won't be called Mac OSX, but it would be exactly like it. Why bother spending all that money as a pharmaceutical company when you can just wait until someone else develops and tests a new drug, then copy it for 1/1,000,000,000 of the cost?
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07-11-2013, 12:52 PM
RE: The patent system.
Sorry, Bryan. I've got to disagree with you on this one:

(07-11-2013 12:27 AM)BryanS Wrote:  You are describing the general problem of the resources of large companies versus the small guy. The law, though, is on the side of the inventor. Yes, companies with a lot of resources can throw a lot of money at a problem, but that's not special about patents.

The law is on the side of the guy who holds all the cash--regardless of if he's the inventor or not. The law does not require someone who brings a patent infringement claim to trial, which patent gets ultimately shot down, to reimburse the falsely accused victim for his legal fees.

I've been a victim of patent litigation, and attacked by a very, very large troll that collects billions of dollars in patent settlement claims, and doesn't make one penny from actually selling any product. When they first threaten to sue, they won't even tell you what patent/claim they are accusing you of infringing. They just start by sending you threatening letters, until they force you to spend a bunch of money on lawyers to meet with them. They then explain that they have hundreds of attorneys on staff, and that they will sue in Marshall, TX which always rules for the plaintiff, and that if you try to fight it, it will cost $3-4 million to fight it in Texas, where you will lose, and then several million more to appeal to a higher court. And they point out that if you don't have, say, $10 million to see it through all the way to the end of the appeal, you will lose everything--everything you spent so far on lawyers, and you'll lose your business, they'll get a default judgement against you and take everything you have. Therefore, they leave you no way out but to (a) pay them, or (b) leave the US. I chose the latter when it happened to me, and that's why I'm now based out of Hong Kong. Even though I (a) wasn't even infringing on their stupid patent, and (b) their patents were so broad and vague that they should never have been issued in the first place. But the US law and patent system enables this. I _WAS_ the inventor, creating cool new products, and I was driven out of the country. And then US law makes it nearly impossible for an American to setup shop and do business outside the US. For example, because of FATCA, Americans can't even open bank accounts in foreign countries any more. Therefore, you're totally screwed and the laws actually try to force you to pay the trolls off... Or take extreme measures. Like marrying a foreigner, dissolving your old business, and starting everything up again from scratch in your spouse's name.

(07-11-2013 12:51 AM)BryanS Wrote:  Without a patent system, why should Windows bother with anything other than what they have now. If Apple does move ahead, they just copy Apple and sell their own version of Mac OSX. It won't be called Mac OSX, but it would be exactly like it. Why bother spending all that money as a pharmaceutical company when you can just wait until someone else develops and tests a new drug, then copy it for 1/1,000,000,000 of the cost?

Well, ask yourself this. There's no patent system to protect fashion. Does that mean fashion designers never bother with anything they have now? Or does it force them to evolve at a very fast pace?

Regarding your Microsoft/Apple issue. Let's say there's no patent system, and that you're right, and Windows just becomes a mac osx clone. What's Apple going to do? Just sit there and sell the same product Microsoft is, but for twice the price? Isn't this actually going to force Apple to, as quickly as possible, come up with yet another new innovation, mac osx 2.0? And as Microsoft keeps copying it, isn't this going to tarnish Microsoft's reputation with consumers as a cheap copy-cat, so that Microsoft too will be forced to not just clone mac osx, but actually to add their own new features on top of it? Thus encouraging the constant leap-frogging where each side takes the innovation of the other and builds upon it to make something even better.

It's because Microsoft can patent the Windows look and feel, and Apple the Mac OSX look and feel, that they both get trapped into their silos. Microsoft won't veer away from the Windows look and feel to copy Apple's improvements, less they get sued, and vice versa. So they're not leapfrogging over each other, rather they're both staying on their respective paths, continuing to push the product which they've patented.
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07-11-2013, 01:22 PM
RE: The patent system.
(06-11-2013 03:19 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  I'm not recommending the copyright system as an alternative...

So, you're recommending nothing as an alternative. Gotcha.

(06-11-2013 03:19 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  How can it be an alternative when it's already in use and doing away with the patent system wouldn't change what the copyright system is for?
I'm very familiar with copyright and trademark law, yes it has a few flaws BUT for the most part it is very good. What holes were there have been covered by various civil cases and what holes remain are very isolated cases that would be settled in a court if they ever arose and thus plugging that particular hole.

One might equally say, "patent law has a few flaws BUT for the most part it is very good. What holes were there can be covered by various civil cases and what holes remain are very isolated cases that would be settled in a court if they ever arose." So far that's just asserted by you, and not substantiated...

One might also recall that every nation has different legal provisions for patents, copyright, and trademarks.

And then we are back to the crux of your argument, that some types of intellectual property ought to be protected and some ought not to be.

Why? The "efficiency" argument is not doing it for me.

(06-11-2013 03:19 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  You gotta look at this from a big picture view.
Markets, economics, macro/micro/private/public markets etc.. can all be summed up in one word. Efficiency. If you learn one thing about economics learn that we strive for efficiency. It's why free trade/globalization works, because Japan can make cars cheaper and better than America and America can invade countries and steal their oil better than Japan.
A country has limited resources. Limited land, limited work force, limited capital, limited natural resources etc.. and countries are better at doing shit than other countries.
ie: Country A can make 2X for every unit of resource and 1Y.
Country B can make 1X and 2Y for every unit of resource.

Assuming that both countries need 500 X and 500Y each day to survive if they each had 1000 resources it would look like the following:
Country A = 1000X and 500Y
Country B = 500X and 1000Y
Total = 1500X and 1500Y.
But if they traded with eachother they could specialize which would look like:
Country A = 2000X 0Y (1500X 500Y after trade)
Country B = 0X 2000Y (500X 1500Y after trade)
Total = 2000X and 200Y.

Ye.. yes. Excellent Econ 101 example. But to raise an equally simple counterpoint - patents enforce specialisation. Notwithstanding that overspecialisation is crippling should there be the slightest disruption. And the abstraction to countries as the relevant actors is a bit odd...

(06-11-2013 03:19 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  The Patent system is like a country that doesn't trade. Patents block people who are in a position to more efficiently, better equipped, handle whatever it is that was patented. They're like a country that doesn't trade with foreign countries.
It's an inefficient system that is far out hindering innovation and progress than it is doing to encourage it.

Your strikingly massive hidden assumption here is that the originator of a novel method is best placed to exploit it.

I'm really not sure how you've gotten this idea. As pointed out to you, taking is far easier than inventing. Industrial espionage is quite the thing.

(06-11-2013 03:19 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  Take Chas for example, sure he personally may not have done whatever it is he did BUT someone would have. Someone in a better situation than him to do so.
And if nobody did do it than it can't have been that important that it needed doing in the first place.

If the goal is to make things as efficient as possible (which it is), than the patent system is working against that goal.

That's... not even close to sound reasoning.

"If nobody did it it can't have been important"? Seriously?

Hindsight gives us literally hundreds of examples where "nobody did it" regarding any number of inventions which would have been tremendously important and useful.

(07-11-2013 12:41 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  And this is why I disagree with you that it will just flat out halt companies doing any research and development. Because the company that produces the superior product (for price) will win out. And so research and development will help companies develop better products. And with copyright law it would stop straight up copying, ie: Apple selling Windows 7. So companies that wait for their competitors to bring out something new will lag behind.

This seems a very insufficient view. Again, you seem to be basing your opinion on the wildly unfounded assumption that, having invented something novel, companies (to say nothing of individuals who might create something!) will be able to keep their work secret, or if not, be best able to apply their work.

What is your basis for implicitly assuming that the inventor is then necessarily more capable of applying the invention? I really can't go along with that premise.

Given that R&D is more resource-intensive than stealing, this is rather a disincentive to innovate. This is BryanS said - that he, personally, wouldn't bother developing what could be stolen at least as easily and with no consequences whatsoever.

Declaring "it would be more efficient anyway" is not really that substantial.

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14-11-2013, 05:34 AM
RE: The patent system.
Electronic Frontier Foundation: "TPP Leak Confirms the Worst: US Negotiators Still Trying to Trade Away Internet Freedoms"
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/tp...t-freedoms

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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