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Forum Post: Patents? Seriously

Posted 2 years ago on Feb. 5, 2012, 5:39 p.m. EST by Libertarianliving (149)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I just heard somewhere that OWS people have something against patents on things? I won't jump to any conclusions without hearing it firsthand from a number of followers. Is this true? If so, what is the reasoning behind it?

6 Comments

6 Comments


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[-] 1 points by mserfas (652) from Ashland, PA 2 years ago

I don't think the Occupy protesters have made it much of an issue, but they should. There have been a series of controversies - patents on software algorithms, i.e. "ideas", patents on business models, patents on living organisms, patent extensions, and the shortage of patent examiners and issuance of obvious patents with the expectation that the courts will sort them out - where people might well find that a return to an older status quo would suit them. There's also been an effort to curb some abuses, such as stopping "submarine patents" by switching to a system where the time when a patent is filed, rather than invented, determines who has priority. (On the other hand, might such a system benefit certain companies and nations which are most skilled at industrial espionage?) And there are other questions that OWS should ask because no one else seems to.

For example, people with HIV progressing to AIDS who rely on Medicaid have been required to wait until they have a T cell count below 200 before their medicines will be covered. But current medical guidelines recommend treating at 350 if not higher (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_the_United_States ). Before then, our society makes a big show of providing doctors and pharmacies and hospitals to help the public, yet for these people, the primary purpose of these institutions is to watch them get sick and keep the recently invented medicines, under the lock and key of patent protection, from being accessible to them. The same applies even to patients with insurance, should they need a drug such as sunitinib, which under patent monopoly is so expensive that their policies might not touch it. We should seriously consider that maybe the best way to reward inventors of new pharmaceuticals is not to have insurers and medical billers count every pill, with sales largely influenced by advertising and fairly arbitrary decisions by the FDA. Maybe we instead should have a system whereby we set up public bounties at each step in the drug development pipeline, from in vitro activity to the final active drug, but not tax the sick to pay for these funds. Instead, allocate tax money from all people, sick and healthy alike. That way we don't need as much health insurance coverage balancing out the risk of being taxed for patent royalties because we need medicine. We don't need as much venture capital to start a new pharma company if the payment is immediate at each stage of development. We don't need lawyers suing each other over refined points of patent law. We could just have a large community of impartial experts making fact-driven, scientific decisions. I think that's a reform worth making.

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[-] 1 points by Quark (236) 2 years ago

Jonas Salk the inventor of the polio vaccine chose not to patent. He said, "would you patent the sun?" I think over patenting can ruin capitalism and make monopolies. Rich people can afford the lawyers for the patents while poor inventors can not. It seems the system of patents has become corrupt. Philosophically, why should some person think they can claim ownership to something at all when all is transitory, space, & light.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (5664) from St Louis, MO 2 years ago

While I will agree that the patent process is too expensive, bear in mind the Patent Office had no power or say in the development of an idea. All they do is register the details of an invention, process, etc. It's to protect the originator from being ripped off, nothing more. There's nothing 'bad' about the USPTO. There is nothing 'corruptible.' By the way, you don't need a lawyer to patent something.

[-] 1 points by Quark (236) 2 years ago

There are patent wars with lawyers going on all the time. The rich steal ideas from poor inventors all the time. In fact you can't even draw a circle without having to pay royalties to Disney. Okay I made that one up. It just living in a finite world and everything being owned and patented from ideas to software to algorithms leaves not a lot of wiggle room for the next generation. In other words future generations will be renters of everything already owned by the previous generations. The polio vaccine is a good example of how some things should not be patented.

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[-] 0 points by gnomunny (5664) from St Louis, MO 2 years ago

Not true. I've been on here since early October and the subject of patents has only come up once or twice. I think it's a given that the average American knows next to nothing about the patent process or the workings of the Patent and Trademark Office.

[-] 1 points by Quark (236) 2 years ago

I can barely play a song on the piano without stepping on some BS patented melody or notes. Are there any songs left for our children to play or has Sony bought all the notes & timings?

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