Study finds patent systems may discourage innovation

Jul 27, 2009 by Sherry Main
Bill Tomlinson. associate informatics professor, used a computer game to test how U.S. patent law affects innovation, and he found it may be stifling progress. Image: Daniel A. Anderson / University Communications

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new study challenges the traditional view that patents foster innovation, suggesting instead that they may hinder technological progress, economic activity and societal wealth. These results could have important policy implications, because many countries count on patent systems to spur new technology and promote economic growth.

To examine the effect of patents on , Bill Tomlinson of UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and Andrew Torrance of the University of Kansas School of Law developed an online game simulating the U.S. system.

PatentSim features an abstract model of the innovation process, a database of potential innovations and a network through which users can interact with one another to license, assign, buy, infringe and enforce patents. The software allows players to simulate the innovation process under a traditional patent system; a “commons” system, in which no patent protection is available; or a system with both patents and open-source protection.

“In PatentSim, we found that the patent system did not work to spur innovation,” said Tomlinson, associate professor of informatics. “In fact, participants were more likely to innovate when there was no intellectual property protection at all, or when they could open-source their innovations and share them with other people.”

The researchers measured the efficacy of the three systems based on innovation, the number of inventions; productivity, a measure of economic activity; and societal wealth, the ability to generate money.

Players were first-year law students who had never had intellectual property coursework. Tomlinson and Torrance plan further studies with subjects of different backgrounds, including M.B.A. students at Harvard University.

“Current patent laws are based on century-old assumptions that patents spur technological progress, and few have questioned this,” said Torrance, associate professor of law. “If it turns out that our laws are based upon misinformation and bad assumptions, society may be failing to promote beneficial new technologies that could improve quality of life.”

The study was published recently in The Columbia Science and Technology Law Review. The full paper, Patents and the Regress of Useful Arts, is among the top-10 most uploaded law and economics publications recently on the Social Science Research Network Web site, the leading database of scholarly social sciences publications. It may be downloaded for free.

Provided by University of California, Irvine

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NeilFarbstein
1 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2009
Nobody says that the players of that game are real inventors who can create real important inventions. They are ordinary people playing Internet games. Its wrong to compare advocated of open source software with creative people who want money to support their efforts. Who is supposed to pocket all the money that is now being paid to inventors who patent their ideas? The giant corporations that will use open source inventions? Foreign governments? This idea seems to be benefiting the big corporations and other greedy exploiters of hard working inventors.
NeilFarbstein
3 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2009
If inventors are not paid for their efforts what will the new landscape look like? Will big corporations and greedy exploiters take the royalties out of inventor's pockets for their own gain? Why should hard working creative people be paid peanuts for advancing technology and improving people's lives?

That computer game makes all players equals at innovating and selling inventions. That's bull.
There's no way of assigning value to the creative potential of each inventor and that makes the whole game worthless for evaluating the usefulness of the patent system.
EWSwan
1 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2009
I have personally experienced the stifling effects of the current patent system. It is good to have protection for truly original, creative work. But most of the patents being granted today are for obvious developments that any professional working in the field could have created. In other words, the patentes are not being granted for creativity. They are being granted to whomever files the tiniest new twist on anything. The result is that anything you do at your job that helps improve revenues might be considered a licensing violation subject to fees. Remember that we still have the system that allowed Jeff Bezos to patent the process of one-click shopping. US Patent 5960411, September 1999. Or how about the case of patenting any software that automates the process of analysing arguments? US Patent 6098062, August 2000. Utter foolishness.
N_O_M
3 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2009
They are ordinary people playing Internet games.
Don't be modest Neil, you're hardly ordinary.
ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2009
the key missing in their simulation (of several) is something that comes up very little in patent arguments yet is the key purpose of patents.

if a person is creating a simulation and they are missing this key quality, their simulation is completely erroneous.

the simulation above treats invention as singular events and hooks to it some trading model.

now whats missing?

whats missing is that the patent office grants the limited monopoly in EXCHANGE FOR PUBLISHING THE ART AND METHODS PUBLICLY.

without a patent system to do this, why would any one expose their technology and secrets to be built upon? you would either work with the guild swearing to its secrets and paying fees for that knowlege, or you wont know much of anything much about anything.

their models usually completely ignore this (hey they are trying to prove a unfalsefyable doctrine (marxism), so what can you expect to such)

if one models a large population and trand and such and one then injects invention and inventions are connected and built upon each other.

the movement from the ibm selectrix with a ball head is miles away from a manual royal typewriter with qwerty keys. but today you type into memory, and a program echos what you type and how you set it up. this is done graphically in a symbolic language that can be decoded into an image that can be sent to a printer that does not use a ball, ribbon, etc.

if they ran their simulations over and they allow inventors to not publish their formuleas and methods in exchange for a granting of ownership which then allows them the ability to lay claims, sell, lease, etc.

to imagine society without the first to invent ystem we have is to imagine a society that never got this far. the 'art' would have remained secrets, the tools to unlock those secrets would never be made since they rely on a long chain of other inventions that entered the market for use.

the failure of the patent office today is that we have stretched language so much that like humpty dumpty it can mean anything, and that is why such things as one click is not considered obvious. our people are miseducated and dont function well in things outside the answers they memorized or the tools that already exist to be used. lack of vision means that any crappy nothing is seen as innovative (lack of ability helps lack of vision), since one cant argue its lack of merit (by way of not being able to argue its merit either).

its a shame we are going to change it since the changes will lead to large corporate control of IP, and the ability of anyone to move from a lower station to a higher one will be removed. no more madame cj walkers, and fords, or any number of people that obviously did deserve their patents. one does not judge apples by the rotton ones why do so with patents?

the problem today is that the process is out of reach of many, its cost prohibitive, it has tricky ins and outs that force the costs up as you require legal assistance. international makes it that much harder.

world patents first to invent would make more sense than turning to first to patent, leaving few options for the common man who is often a retired electronic engineer, chemist, or have teamed up to do things with technology available.

right now i am working on proof of concept with an entity willing to go the way with that. but if we could not even think of that technology being ours for being first, we would not bother as the way is so risky to start with. most things end up nowhere.






1Very_Old_Guy
5 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2009
I'm new here. I lurk occasionally, and until now I felt unqualified to comment on anything. I have had at least 15 US Patents issued in my name. I worked for a company that wanted to patent anything they could. Most of my patents were assigned to that Corporation and I received one dollar (sure). During the 40, or so, years that I was involved in acquiring patents, I did learn a bit about the "system". I have advised many people who were determined to get a patent (many thinking that this would make them rich). None had the slightest clue as to what it was all about.

There was probably a time when the US Patent Office made an honest attempt to qualify a patent application. That day is long past. A patent issued today has little (if any) value until it is "tested". A patent is "tested" by way of the Federal Court system. To "test" a patent, someone must infringe, the inventor must sue.....AND WIN. Now the patent has value. I have sued (in Federal Court) and won.

About 20 years ago I asked my patent attorney how much it would cost to defend a patent "today". After plowing through a lot of BS, he said $100K was the starting number.

Today, a patent can be worth a lot.....or not. If it is well written and coverage is broad, it could be very valuable. If it's poorly written (many that I've seen) and coverage is narrow, it's worth little or nothing.

The world of patents is a world of lawyers. The inventor can provide enough information to get a patent that WILL provide protection, but not include the key information that will provide an open door for "the next guy".

The present system of issuing patents for new inventions is not broken. It requires a lot of money to "protect" a patent today. Without appropriate funding, it would be a waste of time and money to get a patent that cannot be defended in Federal Court. It has been that way for a very long time. It does work.....but it's not anything like what a lot of folks thing it is.

Carry On
vidar_lund
not rated yet Jul 28, 2009
%u201CCurrent patent laws are based on century-old assumptions that patents spur technological progress, and few have questioned this,%u201D said Torrance.

Wrong, the law is based on the right to protect intellectual property. I don't see how this so-called study reflects the real world in which companies are investing billions of dollars in R&D.
Soylent
not rated yet Jul 28, 2009
If inventors are not paid for their efforts what will the new landscape look like?


Faulty assumptions.

There's a large cost to re-implementing an invention even if you have some knowledge how it works(roughly propotional to the inventions complexity). Having access to the original inventor and official specs and detailed descriptions is already very valuable without establishing a monopoly.

Now then, for the cost of patents:

The chief use of patents is not to protect an invention but to protect yourself from someone patenting a similar invention and claiming infringement; a huge volume of largely frivolous patents of this type exists.

As an example of the harm of such frivolous patents one can mention the stencil shadowing technique independently invented by John Carmack for doom 3. As it happened, Creative had invented a similar routine and patented it, and they forced iD to implement features for their sound cards in their game.

Quite a few inventions are made without directed effort during routine work. The existance of patents would not help this kind of invention come into existance.

Many inventions were simultaneously being developed by many different people or companies. It is more or less chance that determines who arrived there first and managed to get a patent. After a patent had been established nobody else has an incentive to improve on the original invention for the life of the patent except for the original inventor, this stiffles further invention.

The steam engine is a good example of this. James Watt happened to invent the separate condenser first. During the next 20 years he successfully prevented numerous improved steam engines from comming to market by refusing to grant them a license to use the separate condensor principle or battling them in court. Immediately after his patent expired a vast deluge of improved steam engines flooded onto the market that had been held back by this artificial monopoly.
Soylent
not rated yet Jul 28, 2009
Wrong, the law is based on the right to protect intellectual property.


No, Torrence is correct. The right to protect intellectual property and the concept of intellectual property itself were invented to maximize the number of inventions made and the quality of those inventions.

Soylent
1 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2009
"without a patent system to do this, why would any one expose their technology and secrets to be built upon?"

Because it is of no value sitting on a dusty shelf.

Rather than collecting royalties the inventor would, if the idea was any good, go to work as a consultant or similar for a company who wants to develop or integrate the invention into their products.

You don't necessarily need to expose your ideas to other companies. In many if not most cases those other companies were working on similar ideas and you just got one step ahead of them and established a patent, preventing them from finishing their development with a legal monopoly. If not, the company or inventor that made the initial discovery can either approach them and enter a contract to help them develop the idea or leave them to painstakingly reverse engineer the design, which in general would take much longer.
poppymao
not rated yet Jul 28, 2009
I can see this from both sides, but I have to admit I am not a fan of the current patent system. I somewhat lost faith in it a while ago after seeing that it was possible for a large company to 'steal' someone elses idea by managing to patent it first. They have the lawyers to back up their claims, I certainly don't. I came to the conclusion that, should I ever invent something groundbreaking, I would make any invention of mine completely open source so that anyone could use it. I would rather make no money from it than have a large corporation steal my ideas.

Maybe one day they will overhaul the patent system, use some common sense in it and my faith will be renewed.
ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2009
terrence is wrong.. those who say he is write are wrong, and those who say its about.

I explained that for society the key point is first that the technology does not remain secret.

imagine that texas instruments had created the transistor, and instead of patenting it, it decided to sit on that and all derrivitive work that they came up with.

the whole of the computer industry and chip industry would barely exist. (technically they wouldnt have gotten that far since before that came 'valves' (tubes))

even a cursory look into patent law would tell you that in trade the inventor gets to insure a return for the work, since after the work is done, things are often easy to copy. but before that, they seem to be out of reach.

in return for that boon, the state also grants ownership. like a piece of land in open territory owned by no one, the first to settle and make their claim on the plane of inventions, get to stake out that area and for finding it, get to mine the gold from it, or sell it, or license it.

i went on a cursory search for the purpose of patents and voila:

The historical purpose of the patent system was to encourage the development of new inventions, and in particular to encourage the disclosure of those new inventions. Inventors are often hesitant to reveal the details of their invention, for fear that someone else might copy it. This leads to keeping inventions secret, which impedes innovation.

if technology remains secret, then innovation can only proceed in direct associating with the inventor and or place that makes said item. the arcana of process and manufacture is hidden. rather than a world of 6 billion who a percentage are interested then have access to all this art to use.

A government-granted temporary monopoly on the commercial use of their invention provides a remedy for this fear, and so acts as an incentive to disclose the details of the invention. After the monopoly period (usually 20 years) expires, everyone else is free to practice the invention. And because of the disclosure made by the inventor, it is very easy to practice the invention.

The temporary monopoly also gives the inventor a chance to recoup the investments he made during the development of his invention. He could for instance use the patent to monopolize the market, excluding possible competitors by enforcing his patent. He could then set a high price and make a nice profit. He could also request money from others in return for a license to practice the invention. The licensing income then provides extra income.Licensing a patent can be very lucrative business.

Also, when the patent is published with all the details of the invention, other people learned of the existence of this invention. They might then be inspired to think up enhancements or alternatives to the patented invention. This is particularly true when the inventor refuses to license his invention, or when the licensing fee is too high. Third parties could then develop alternative technologies to work around the patent. Presumably they would then patent these alternatives. And then society benefits by having two inventions rather than one.



so many people arguing waht they are and none of you can take the time to read why patents were invented... (and no, as far as i know there is no patent for patents).

now to handle some of the statements of the Marxists here.

ready guys. china and russia and all the marxist states HAD to copy from the west and still do today. they both had no patent offices and their people have no access to the prior art. if it were not for this technology theft, they would not have much. around the world because the expiration of prior art in 20 years makes public, the world, not just the US can use that prior art.

of course every marxist that wants to improve this system is not a person that actyually creates stuff.they believe that tehy can design better by committee, and they think that a collective can invent, which it cant.

the spark like an orgasm happens in one mind only. yest many can get the spark, and they can even manage a spark at the same time, but they cant share them. you can describe your epiphany or your orgasm, but only you can experience it.

so many marxist experts who are quite willing to make up the information as they go along so that they are cargo cult erudite. faking being intelligent...

they have not read nor understand the concepts of the trajedy of the commons, and they cant think along the lines of real world operative principals. they cant, marx denies them, so they are not very effective, and everything they tend to improve, tends to come out worse than before their improvements.

to read what people say here is to see that they cant imagine what happens next effectively. (the others do know and have an idea, but they are not being effective in addressing the self confident ignorant).

"without a patent system to do this, why would any one expose their technology and secrets to be built upon?"

Because it is of no value sitting on a dusty shelf.

Rather than collecting royalties the inventor would, if the idea was any good, go to work as a consultant or similar for a company who wants to develop or integrate the invention into their products.


take that before going on to the next paragraph written...

because they make it futile to recover your work, and to get remunieration, your going to take a few decades of work, and toil, and deciding not to go tothe football game, play catch with your kid, go travelling, etc... and your going to sacrifice those hours of your life, and when done, just drop it on the open market?

i have been working on two things in the pipeline. one is very complicated massively parallel circuits and its taken me 20 years to realize and work the thing down to the best solution for handling peta peta quantities of data.

i missed seeing my son grow up as much as i could (i was hoping to cash in and then perhaps i could afford to travel more and see him - but they kept changing the rules in favor of big corporations because sociualism has to pass through fascism before it can get to communism, which is what is being described above).

but in such a state, the information that you are talking about doesnt exist. you are not weeding out or effectively modeling the sitution because your taking for granted what you already have and believe (falsely) that this would continue if it was different. this is a major reason why marxist destroy things. take taxing the wealthy, they imagine that the wealthy are going to hold stilla nd do this. heck, i might shut shop and not work for 4 years lving on my principal, and instead of paying 2 million in taxes, pay less than zero).

You don't necessarily need to expose your ideas to other companies.

so explain how to get capital and funding if you dont expose yourself to others?

oh... you think that a million or two in capital is just going to appear on your lap and let your technology be funded arbitrarily?

have you ever tholught that with an open system there are so many crackpot and crap ideas flooded in for cheap that you couldnt find good technology that works and that isnt just a good set of nice documentation?

In many if not most cases those other companies were working on similar ideas and you just got one step ahead of them and established a patent, preventing them from finishing their development with a legal monopoly.

untrue... larger corporations the workers are not free to work. they have to predict and work along lines of thought that they get approved by otehr peope who cant do that level of work which is why they hire them.

for instance i work for a large research concern that lets inventors keep their work and they back them. but its VERY difficult to get them to act because as a large socialist type organization they will only risk on no risk. that is, a sure thing only. (listen to the president talking about risk. he has no idea of it, since if you remove it, you also remvoe all progress).

If not, the company or inventor that made the initial discovery can either approach them and enter a contract to help them develop the idea or leave them to painstakingly reverse engineer the design, which in general would take much longer.

this is all assumptive and contradicts the paragraphs opening assertion that you dont need to expose your ideas!!!! if a paragraph cant be consistent and the person thinking cant tell nor can others, what kind of non solution do we think they are proposing?

the company or inventor that made the initial discovery can either approach them and enter a contract // You don't necessarily need to expose your ideas to other companies.

and how does the company know that the person aproaching them is the original inventor?

how does that company know that the person aproaching them (out of a few hundred a week) actually owns the idea and can negotiate for it?

who granted them the right of property? your system says that they dont have that right, so no one established the idea. and so there is no way to enter into that negotiation since there is no way to show that you have something withotu showing it. and without htis protection the second you show it, they dont have to pay you.

how much will it cost for companies to set up departments to watch people audition their style in telling you about an idea without telling you about it.

often the idea is not hard to reverse engineer. its only hard for the ignorant to imagine it, because they are nto actually thinking on principals, they are thinking from imaginatino.

reverse engineering can do in hours what took years to figure out.

take the light bulb... took edison how many years and how many samples? but crack open the final product and you now know he settled on tungsten...

20,000 experiments later he gets tungsten. he had to do the work, buy all these different materials, perhaps pay someone else to help. and make a living to pay bilsl and everything else.

if you want to know a classice patent vs non patent story, look at the shaking flashlight. within a month the chinse had knock offs that were battery fakes, and they had knock offs that worked.

the company was crushed before they could become ubiquitous.

then there was the chinese factory that mimicked a whole subsection of a firm that made pc's. that is they made the fake parts, they had offices with fake letter head, salesmen, everything... except the real company didnt have offices where they were located and the real company started getting returns that they never manufactured.

The criminal probe, code-named Operation Cisco Raider, was prompted by concerns that counterfeit network components could give hackers access to government databases

these companies have all the material to make fake parts. that means they have lots of expertise.they have clean rooms, sputtering machines, vaccumes, and tons of other really complicated high tech stuff.

so why steal ideas if they are not so important?

because with a fab that counterfeits they cant come up with the ideas!!!!!

same thing with big companies. they are out of touch the larger they are... the fewer lovers of that technology.

sony was sony cause of the man who created it, now its fading cause the beuracrats dont have vision...

like the people here who want to improve the patents, they lack vision to even see how horrible their improvements are.














1Very_Old_Guy
not rated yet Jul 28, 2009

Maybe one day they will overhaul the patent system, use some common sense in it and my faith will be renewed.


It's easy to be "against" the system, declaring it to be unjust. If you were going to replace what we have with something better....what would it be. Are we to imagine all inventors to be supported by someone with very deep pockets? My inventions all involved physical devices (mechanical type stuff) that required considerable investment of facility and man hours to bring to fruition. Whether it is my employer investing or my own time and money at risk, it REQUIRES a return on that investment. Without a return, eventually, there will be no food on the table.

Whatever "Patent System" we have, you can be sure it will be designed and controlled by lawyers. Lawyers will always create things that will REQUIRE the services of more lawyers. In the long run, whoever has the most money to support the most lawyers wins. There are few exceptions. Sad to say it has become "The American Way".
Soylent
not rated yet Jul 28, 2009
If you were going to replace what we have with something better....what would it be.


Replace it with nothing.
Soylent
5 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2009
terrence is wrong.. those who say he is write are wrong, and those who say its about.


It is a historical fact that patents and intellectual property rights were introduced with the stated intent of maximizing the number of and quality of inventions.

I explained that for society the key point is first that the technology does not remain secret.


And I explained why this point is wrong.

imagine that texas instruments had created the transistor, and instead of patenting it, it decided to sit on that and all derrivitive work that they came up with.


No, that's what happens when you grant intellectual monopolies. You need look no further than James Watt's steam engine to see how corrosive the patent system is to the development of new inventions.

In a system without an intellectual monopoly there is a limited window of opportunity before competitors catch up. You are forced to bring your product to market quickly and continually improve upon your product and production process to stay ahead of your competitors on price and performance.

Lone inventors are rarely able to get a patent in the current system because it is far too costly. Assuming it was possible for lone inventors to get a patent they could just rest on their laurels and lazily shop for companies to license the innovation from them.

Without an intellectual monopoly they have to hunt down a company who is interested in their innovation as soon as they possibly can; someone else could stumble onto an equivalent invention any minute and commercialize it before them, they risk getting nothing.

The software industry is perhaps the best example of why patents should not exist. The amazing explosion of software early in the personal computer history would not have happened at all had there been enforced patents because all software is a composition of many different algorithms and data structures. Had these been patented it would not have been possible to write any usable program without negotiating a hundred different licenses.
Velanarris
not rated yet Jul 28, 2009
The issue with the current patent system is two fold:

1) cost
2) arbitrary acceptance

I've gone through the patent process 4 times now and have a few pieces of paper to my name that have garnered me a good bit of wealth. Problem is my initial layout per patent was somewhere in the area of $10,000 pre-prototype for claims searches, developmental permissions, writs of ownership, legal fees, etc, and this is all before you're required to diagram or produce a functional prototype.

I submitted a patent three years ago citing 30 claims. Initially the reviewer granted me one claim, which is not out of the ordinary. That made my patent particulary weak and exploitable. The more claims one can satisfy and uphold, the stronger the patent is, and the more protected from infringement you are. Now this went back and forth for a full year before I received my substantiated response awarding me an additional 25 claims on re-review. The reason for this is the sheer bulk of claims that must be reviewed by someone who can be considered an expert on the subject matter in addition to having reasonable legal knowledge on intellectual property.

Now this isn't too big an issue for me as someone who is an expert in basic computational diagnostics isn't exactly hard to find, but find me someone with a reasonable understanding of obscure physics applications in addition to being fluent in the intense legalese needed to create and evaluate a claim. They exist, but there are not many, in addition to this, while that patent sits pending, anyone who cares to can infringe upon it banking on the patent falling through, much like the explosion of multi-tools after Leatherman failed their outstanding "patent pending" process that took OVER 50 YEARS to complete.

Over 50 years for a combination screwdriver and plier tool, does that show you what's really wrong with the system? Couple this with the fact that your patent is upheld from date of filing, not from date of ratification, meaning lengthy disputes will result in lost wage regardless in the above case. We're talking a multi-billion dollar legal industry that was built simply to prevent unfettered growth of a "reverse engineer and copy" business model that still thrives in countries that don't uphold patent regulations.

So does the patent system spur or hinder innovation and social/economic growth? It is an abysmal hinderance. The more you restrict ownership of an idea or plan, the more resources for innovation you prevent from reaching the innovators themselves.
mo411
not rated yet Jul 28, 2009
The article is devoid of one simple fact, in the current US Patent system if you invent something nothing is preventing you from releasing your idea into public domain. In essence it always seems to me those looking to adopt others technological achievements that are apposed to the patent system and as such they rig their models to deceive the gullible into a conclusion that is utterly false.

A true model would include trade secrets, public domain and defensive protection.

Ask your self a simple question about Warren Buffet, a promoter of higher taxes for the rich, for he declares he is not taxed enough. Well Mr. Buffet and others of similar ideological flaw neglect to mention they could simply contribute more to the government. Warren could easily write out a check for a few billion here and there if he feels he should have been taxed that much more. It is this ideological flaw that has people believing the innovative among us must contribute their talents with zero opportunity to profit from their handwork in a copy left scheme.

From each their ability to each their needs begets you far more needed then able.
ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2009
Soylent:



Art: I explained that for society the key point is first
that the technology does not remain secret.

Soylent: And I explained why this point is wrong.

And you were wrong%u2026 I said to look it up%u2026
look at the arguments of the men that created it.

Saying something wrong twice does not make it right.
And where are your refernces?

http://en.wikiped...i/Patent
Rationale

In accordance with the original definition of the term "patent," patents facilitate and encourage disclosure of innovations into the public domain for the common good. If inventors did not have the legal protection of patents, in many cases, they would prefer or tend to keep their inventions secret. Awarding patents generally makes the details of new technology publicly available, for exploitation by anyone after the patent expires, or for further improvement by other inventors. Furthermore, when a patent's term has expired, the public record ensures that the patentee's idea is not lost to humanity


In accordance with the original definition%u2026

Your paragraphs after do not explain the ratinal of the patent office.
Your paragraphs explain (poorly) SOME of the outcomes from the system.
Ask a professor these are not the same thing.

My source:
Howard T. Markey (chief judge of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and later of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit)

Why don%u2019t you argue with him as to why we have patents?

You can even find out with little effort that the first patents were much like ours today%u2026 so they were not some new invention that just popped up.

The first ones guaranteeing the inventor rewards for his work date back to 500bc.

But lets work on what you said%u2026
Soylent: No, that's what happens when you grant intellectual monopolies. You need look no further than James Watt's steam engine to see how corrosive the patent system is to the development of new inventions.

Wrong. First of all, they are not granting %u201Cintellectual monopolies%u201D. So first of all you have to get your terms right. An intellectual monopoly, if it existed would forbid everyone from even thinking about an idea. That is 180 degrees the wrong way from the four founding reasons.

Eruditious ignorance does not cut it soylent.

Of course you leave out the meaning of your point.
Which of thousands of points on watts steam engine are you referring to?

Much capital was spent in pursuing the ground-breaking patent. An extension of the patent was successfully obtained (James Watt's Fire Engines Patent Act, 1775 (15 Geo 3 c. 61), which in those days required an Act of Parliament. Strapped for resources, Watt was forced to take up employment as a surveyor for eight years. Roebuck went bankrupt, and Matthew Boulton, who owned the Soho Foundry works near Birmingham, acquired his patent rights. Watt and Boulton formed a hugely successful partnership (Boulton & Watt), which lasted for the next twenty-five years.


Your going back to 1775 and the british patent system which required an act of parliament to argue that the modern American system is no good. (care to see how all that turned out). he eventually kept improving the designs and the patent in 1784 made his engine 5 times more efficient than the newcomen engine%u2026 In 1794 the partners established Boulton and Watt to exclusively manufacture steam engines, and this became a large enterprise. By 1824 it had produced 1164 steam engines having a total nominal horsepower of about 26,000.[2] Boulton proved to be an excellent businessman, and both men eventually made fortunes.
And your point is?
In a system without an intellectual monopoly there is a limited window of opportunity before competitors catch up. You are forced to bring your product to market quickly and continually improve upon your product and production process to stay ahead of your competitors on price and performance.

You are completely ignorant%u2026 lets say today you come up with an idea%u2026
And you want to have it backed%u2026 you go to an investor and say%u2026
We have this great idea, it is much better than any competitor, and so on.

You ask for backing%u2026 you need money to open a factory, build the building, make the machines, file for state permits, create distribution, hire sales, marketing, pay electric bills, liability insurance and so on.
They say%u2026 what is to stop someone with all that from jumping your claim and outcompeting you because they were in business before you?
Your answer.. well, I received a patent.. and so they smile and start to deal.
Your answer well, there are no patents any more%u2026 and so they say..
You cant protect your idea, so you cant protect our investment. There is no way for us to go after someone who copies you and undoes your 12 years of work.
So, you walk out..
Three weeks later you see your idea.. why? cause the men you presented it to now are making it with their previously built concerns.
You go to your solicitor and you want to sue. And the solicitor says, by what grounds? Youhave no patent, you have no way to prevent them. by what basis of law can I request in injunction to prevent them from doing so?
You have no answer%u2026 do you? in china, the state has those resources all geared up. and they don%u2019t invent, they steal from us%u2026 why is that soylent? Because we spend a few million on research and such, and they spend a lot less copying it.
Lone inventors are rarely able to get a patent in the current system because it is far too costly. Assuming it was possible for lone inventors to get a patent they could just rest on their laurels and lazily shop for companies to license the innovation from them.
And why is it too costly? Are you assuming that%u2019s the way it is? why not lower the costs for lone inventors? Oh. that%u2019s no good, because large companies don%u2019t want to pay royalties to the inventors. Next month a movie as to the pulse windshield wiper will come out. and you obviously don%u2019t know about the dirty games RCA played to get television%u2026 the inventor commited suicide.
And you definitely don%u2019t know that they changed the patent office rules and violated its documents of creation. That is the socialists tapped the money there for their socialist games. That made them raise fees and other things%u2026 which then made it favorable to the large corporations.
Like state medicine, they will fix the victims from suing, as being cheaper than making better doctors and engineers.
Without an intellectual monopoly they have to hunt down a company who is interested in their innovation as soon as they possibly can; someone else could stumble onto an equivalent invention any minute and commercialize it before them, they risk getting nothing.

Actually your wrong. they would have to hunt down the capital, then build a business and factory in secret. They would have to determine that none of the people they hire work for another company who has the capacity.
The point is that without patents how do you propose to show the idea and keep ownership.
Without patents how do you establish you own it so you can deal over it?
The software industry is perhaps the best example of why patents should not exist. The amazing explosion of software early in the personal computer history would not have happened at all had there been enforced patents because all software is a composition of many different algorithms and data structures. Had these been patented it would not have been possible to write any usable program without negotiating a hundred different licenses.

I am a software engineer at a research hospital.
Care to tell me about such?

The problem was not software patents, the problem was the gutting of the money created an office that couldn%u2019t do its job. and if it cant do its job on mechanical th ings and chemicals it sure wont do a good job on software.

Besided software was and is considered more like copywrite%u2026 unless it contains principals themselves whioch can be patented like a formulae.

Bank robbers are not a reason to get rid of banks.

Which seems to be the whoel of the argument

Besides the big flourishing empty promises of what will be, what are the principals by which you are determining that this is better.

Your steam engine thing was completely farcicle%u2026 but I guess it fits cargo cult image over substance. You sound real smart and seem smart saying it till you come up with someone who is smart%u2026 then you look like a moron.. which is why lefties like to stay amoung their own. commiseration of morons makes for blissful ignorance in a collective.

Patents in the modern sense originated in 1474, when the Republic of Venice enacted a decree by which new and inventive devices, once they had been put into practice, had to be communicated to the Republic in order to obtain the right to prevent others from using them

England followed with the Statute of Monopolies in 1623 under King James I, which declared that patents could only be granted for "projects of new invention." During the reign of Queen Anne (1702%u20131714), the lawyers of the English Court developed the requirement that a written description of the invention must be submitted.[25] The patent system in many other countries, including Australia, is based on British law and can be traced back to the Statute of Monopolies.[citation needed]
In the United States, during the so-called colonial period and Articles of Confederation years (1778%u20131789), several states adopted patent systems of their own. The first Congress adopted a Patent Act, in 1790, and the first patent was issued under this Act on July 31, 1790 (to Samuel Hopkins of Vermont for a potash production technique).




I know the reasons for the first american patents, which were different%u2026 because I have read the works and opinions of the founding fathers..

On April 10, 1790, President George Washington signed the bill that laid the foundation of the modern American patent system. This date marks the first time in American history that the law gave inventors rights to their creations.
The 1790 law gave the Patent Board members the power to grant a patent. Their authority was absolute and could not be appealed. The first board members included Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, who was considered the first administrator of the American patent system and the first patent examiner; Henry Knox, Secretary of War; and Edmund Randolph, Attorney General. The Department of State had the responsibility for administering the patent laws, and fees for a patent were between $4 and $5, with the board deciding on the duration of each patent, not to exceed 14 years.
The Act of April 10, 1790 also defined the subject matter of a U.S. patent as "any useful art, manufacture, engine, machine, or device, or any improvement thereon not before known or used." Applicants were to provide a patent specification and drawing and, if possible, a model. After examining the application, the board members would issue a patent if they deemed "the invention or discovery sufficiently useful and important."


You can see that from 1790 to 1990, this patent office made the united states the most prosperous nation that have existed since the big bang%u2026

And who made it 6 years longer?
(how about Disney with mickey mouse which should be public domain now).

Fascism, or corporatism, is what changed it into the failure for men, and the success for state and corporations that it is now.

More socialism means more of the poison that has ruined it.

Costs of patents somehow went up 20,000 times%u2026

Till they are only affordable by large companies, with legal staff.

Take away patents, and no small company will have anything to sell.
And most large companies buy their technology by swallowing up small ones

If they didn%u2019t have patents, they would not have to pay to get RIM to make blackberries.
They would just do it, and screw the designer.

They can afford to sit around and see if something catches, then go in huge%u2026
Grab the lions market, and kill off the small guy

Kind of like a tree can block out the sun that prevents other trees from growing too.
Velanarris
not rated yet Jul 29, 2009
It is this ideological flaw that has people believing the innovative among us must contribute their talents with zero opportunity to profit from their handwork in a copy left scheme.

I would say it's a greater ideological flaw to assume that people who can should, as there's no incentive to donate to the government. Especially not in this day and age.
marjon
3 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2009
Protecting private property rights IS the best way to promote economic growth.
ArtflDgr
3 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2009
and given the bibles comment about rendering unto ceaser, i would say donating to the government wasnt populat then eitehr. :)
Damon_Hastings
5 / 5 (1) Aug 01, 2009
I too have personally experienced the stifling effect of the current patent system. I have no problem with patents in most fields; but the field I work in (software development) is quite simply being strangled by them. This is because, in software, there's only so many ways to do certain things. For example: making a cursor blink on a screen. Xerox has already patented one method for doing this (XOR). There's only a few left. If those were all patented, you'd have to violate a patent to make a cursor blink! Now, of course, the patent may or may not stand up in court, but it usually costs too much money to find out -- and the law punishes you for trying (it multiplies the potential damage award because now you've demonstrated that you knew about the violation and yet willfully ignored it.)

Patents might make more sense in a field where there's an infinite array of ways to do anything, such as in "physical" inventions. But at my former employer (a major software company), we found it impossible to develop even a small piece of software without unintentionally violating dozens of patents. We had to spend ridiculous amounts of money hiring lawyers to look through our software code for patent violations (and lawyers aren't good at reading code, so we engineers had to help.) And there are literally *millions* of patents to consider, so it takes an army of lawyers. It's like there's a thick minefield throughout our industry, and you step on a mine after every tenth step! It really slowed us down and made us paranoid about inventing anything new.

This is why most major software companies are pushing for patent reform. The main reason these companies even get patents any more is for defensive purposes -- to protect themselves against the "patent trolls" (companies which exist for the sole purpose of consuming dead companies' patents, digesting them, and excreting litigation.) And the whole vicious cycle is really stifling innovation across the board. It makes software development slower, more expensive, and much riskier. And it causes companies to keep their software closed-source (i.e. secret) because, if the trolls ever got hold of it, they'd comb through it line by line and sue the bejeezus out of us for every mundane detail with faint echoes from any obscure patent. It's estimated that most software code has a patent violation for every several hundred lines!
Velanarris
not rated yet Aug 01, 2009
Damon, there are no patents on software, only copyrights.
austux
not rated yet Aug 01, 2009
the law is based on the right to protect intellectual property


Intellectual property is not the invention. Intellectual property is an artifical tag used to excuse corporate greed.

Open Source (FOSS: Free/Open Source Software) is an interesting approach to copyrighting: it protects the _idea_ rather than any prospective inventor, so that the idea can flourish, grow & have offspring.

Does it work?

This web browser (Firefox) is FOSS, running on a display (XFree) which is FOSS, over an operating system which is FOSS (Linux) wrapped in utilities which are FOSS (Mandriva).

It is dead-set reliable, suffers no viruses at all, does not nag about upgrades or extras, does not restrict what you can use it for.

The FOSS principles are spreading more directly to patents & the like these days.
austux
not rated yet Aug 01, 2009
Damon, there are no patents on software, only copyrights.


There are patents on the _processes_ implemented in software.
ForFreeMinds
1 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2009
Asking 1st year law students to play inventors and then extrapolate to inventors is a big leap. I look forward to seeing the results of engineers and scientists playing the game.
Goujana
1 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2009
As an Inventor I can catagorically state that in my opinion as an Inventor, that the patent system, both the USPTO and WIPO are severly flawed and act as nothing more than simple whorehouses that will take money from anyone for anything! The biggest myth is that Inventors seem to think they have protection with a patent. Yeah right, only if you have a 100k plus to ligate an infringement. The money I and thousands of fellow Inventors have been forced to waste on patents leaves most of us little or nothing left to move forward. Hence I believe that this antiquated system has stifled industry development and kept both Canada and the U.S. in the dark ages. I don't need a video game to prove this!! I have had 17 inventions developed at a major University and have recorded over 600 original concepts, yet thanks mainly in part to the extortionists calling themselves, the patent office, I remain broke and invisible! Until a major change sweeps through this 3 Ring circus tent, I remain JLC "The Invisible and Undaunted Inventor" Look for me on Twitter - Solar_Inventor Cheers!
Goujana
1 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2009
And how does your e-mag solve this? By listing an ad for Davison? Probably the biggest Invention scam artist on the planet!!! Give your heads a shake and lets get down to really helping Inventors by not letting the crimnals like Davison have their way with us. I've put this challenege to many e-mags like PopSci and others. No takers yet. Cowards them all! Does your rag have the cohonies to really help Inventors or simply just sit on the fence and write about the injustice??
Velanarris
not rated yet Aug 02, 2009
Damon, there are no patents on software, only copyrights.


There are patents on the _processes_ implemented in software.


Not if the process can be replicated through a code change.
Yes
not rated yet Aug 02, 2009
I would make any invention of mine completely open source so that anyone could use it


I hear here for the first time about that open source is a real protection?
If you would claim open source protection and after that somebody would simply go to the patent office and patent it anyways. Then who would win?

The one with the open source or the one with the legal patent?

How would you defend your open sourced infringement?
devanate
not rated yet Aug 03, 2009
Well duh. Like I needed a study to know that. Have you ever tried to patent something? The process is daunting and time consuming at best and pretty much financially unattainable for the average person. I have a number of great ideas that would be very valuable but have been unable to do anything about it for lack of funds. Of course it's stifling innovation.
Damon_Hastings
not rated yet Aug 03, 2009
Damon, there are no patents on software, only copyrights.

There are patents on the _processes_ implemented in software.

Exactly. See http://en.wikiped...e_patent
Velanarris
not rated yet Aug 03, 2009
I would make any invention of mine completely open source so that anyone could use it

If you would claim open source protection and after that somebody would simply go to the patent office and patent it anyways. Then who would win?

The one with the open source or the one with the legal patent?

I hear here for the first time about that open source is a real protection?
How would you defend your open sourced infringement?



Copyright law.

As soon as you deploy your code in an open source format you've dated it. Once dated any subsequent attempt at a patent or other copyright causes an IP violation in which the originator would prevail.




1Very_Old_Guy
not rated yet Aug 03, 2009
I would make any invention of mine completely open source so that anyone could use it


If you would claim open source protection and after that somebody would simply go to the patent office and patent it anyways. Then who would win?



The one with the open source or the one with the legal patent?



I hear here for the first time about that open source is a real protection?

How would you defend your open sourced infringement?






Copyright law.



As soon as you deploy your code in an open source format you've dated it. Once dated any subsequent attempt at a patent or other copyright causes an IP violation in which the originator would prevail.











Anyone trying to patent or copyright anything that is already in the public domain would be wasting a lot of time and money. The quickest way to void a patent is to show that somebody else did it before.

Wikipedia says that a patent is good for not more than 20 years and a copyright is good for 70 years. Is there some kind of logic that explains why one should be 3.5 times longer than the other?
Velanarris
not rated yet Aug 03, 2009
Is there some kind of logic that explains why one should be 3.5 times longer than the other?
It's part of the anti-trust laws. Patents used to be 50 years but it was found that by restricting ownership of an idea, the company owning the idea as well as the people purchasing the product were subject to undue stress. Stress to produce on the companies' part and monetary stress on the consumers' part. How effective or accurate the study was, I cannot say.
ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (1) Aug 31, 2009
Art: I explained that for society the key point is first
that the technology does not remain secret.

Soylent: And I explained why this point is wrong.

and i quoted the words of the people who designed the patent office and its methods way back.

its point was to break guilds and those areas where you had to become a mason or some member who then apprenticed for years beforelearning how to make glass, lay brick, etc...

ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (1) Sep 01, 2009
from the definition soylent..

A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state (national government) to an inventor or his assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for a public disclosure of an invention.

A patent is, in effect, a limited property right that the government offers to inventors in exchange for their agreement to share the details of their inventions with the public. Like any other property right, it may be sold, licensed, mortgaged, assigned or transferred, given away, or simply abandoned.


now there USED to be monopolistic patents, which were what kings granted. its in the history. they were called letters patent and one of the earliest british ones was given to a man John of Utynam to make stained glass for Eton.

so its funny that so much of the marxists arguing this do so with the arguments of letters patent, and press a false history and purpose, to which there is TONS of literature .