BT Sues Google for Patent Infringements (Wired)
Posted Jan 12, 2012 11:54 UTC (Thu) by pboddie
In reply to: BT Sues Google for Patent Infringements (Wired)
Parent article: BT Sues Google for Patent Infringements (Wired)
I see neither this being the idea nor that I have implied this. Furthermore an abuse of a patent will lead to conflict with competition law, a patent is not a license to run wild. Compulsory licensing is the threat that is part of the patent laws in many places.
Part of the purpose of patent publishing is that others should be given access to gain the knowledge and even use that to invent something better which could also be patentable too.
Even if we ignore the problem of patents not really giving access to the complete knowledge behind someone's work, the consequence of building patentable things on top of other patentable things is a mountain of paperwork. Someone then has to administer this paperwork, making sure that no claim goes unnoticed. How big must an enterprise's legal department be? Does a one-person start-up require at least one lawyer/paralegal? What about a ten-person company?
As for jobs and revenue there are about 10000 European patent attorneys having very roughly the same number of assistants and other staff, and the same order of magnitude number of Examiners, also with a fair number of support staff. I don't think this can be considered a large number of jobs considering there are about 400 millions in Europe. As for revenue the patent offices are supposed to be self funded whereas for patent law firms it varies a lot; some have been in the red and had redundancies.
The issue is the effect these peripheral jobs have on the actual work being done and how much money is diverted away from research and towards staffing a bureaucracy. And what about the employment impact on individual enterprises? Attorneys and examiners are just the tip of the iceberg.
In other words, the poor people should stick with fouling their environment making cheap products for the rich people and pay the rich people for their valuable knowledge.
Really? I think you are not giving people in poor countries sufficient credit for inventiveness.
That's a nice way of sidestepping the argument. Of course the developing world are "inventive": you have admitted yourself that an absence of patents in a particular place is a driver of innovation, and there are people who advocate doing research in places where you won't get sued straight out of the starting gate. Although those people argue that the opportunities lie in reading, say, US patents and then doing subsequent work in a "permissive venue", I've already stated that people in that venue will be motivated to do their own original work purely due to the challenges of making the stuff that the developed world increasingly refuses to make.
I don't know "wealthy heir" protectionism so I cannot comment on that.
The "wealthy heir" has his fortune from his ancestors' hard work but expects to remain rich throughout his life despite his reckless living. As I noted elsewhere, it's a classic Wodehouse character who suddenly needs to shore up his income when he realises that his situation is not sustainable. Patents and other instruments are the means by which our "wealthy heir" wishes to remain funded by everybody else; the challenge is persuading everybody else to fund that reckless lifestyle. Over time, we'll see the developing world use the same tactics: in China, the patent proliferation is just beginning, and we can expect to see the same short-sighted tactics used against the very organisations who advocated them in the first place.
I spent a few years in academia and saw it from the inside. Politics was ugly and infighting did occasionally take place. Still, I never experienced myself any major problems regarding sharing knowledge. Huge libraries of scientific journals suggest knowledge is shared. Publications make up one of the most important metrics in academia and is crucial for advancement.
If you can state particularly the last sentence without realising what the problem is, then you obviously don't understand the problem, particularly the relationship between the last sentence and the second sentence of that paragraph.
I don't know whether those in the patent bureaucracy really listen to or care about what practitioners think in the industries affected by their endeavours, but for a long time there has been substantial doubt about the utility of the journals. Saying that "knowledge is shared" is like saying "money changes hands": just as the latter says nothing about whether an economy efficiently distributes wealth or goods, the former says nothing about whether knowledge is shared effectively and on the scale it should be shared to advance human society at a sufficiently fast pace to meet that society's challenges.
to post comments)