> Well, the question I stated is in fact the question that came up in this thread, that we would like to answer, so I don't know what conversation you're trying to have here.
I'm trying to get patent opponents to take a much more aggressive stance, which IMHO includes attempting to get the idea across that it is not on us to disprove patents. Of course if someone does that, that's also great, but in terms of philosophy and constitutional law I think it is a very important point.
> Virtually everyone I see says the superficially ridiculous monoplies on trivial ideas that are happening in the current patent system are wrong.
Sorry we've got a misunderstanding here - I wasn't referring just to trivial ideas. I was referring to all patents. I also wasn't calling trivial patents superficially ridiculous, I was referring to the whole system of government-granted monopolies.
> It's not superficially ridiculous to say that some innovation is motivated only by the possibility of recouping investment through the use of a patent. So I don't see any reason to place the burden of proof of whether that's true on the "yes" side. And it's possible no studies exist because it's too obvious.
Of course some innovation is motivated solely by the hope of extracting profit from a government-granted monopoly. As you say, that's just obvious. The question is whether these monopolies are a net benefit for overall society:
a) Whether they do cause a net increase in innovation.
b) If so, whether the benefits of that increase outweigh the damage caused by the monopolies (e.g. effectively prohibiting free software in the mobile sector, or unavailability of drugs in poor countries, or sucking competent engineers out of actually innovating and making them patent officers - after all, only someone competent in the field can accurately judge the level of innovation).
c) If not, whether something can be done to reduce the damage, so that the benefits outweigh the damage.
Since monopolies generally are terrible for a capitalist society (after all, how can market forces work when there is no market?) the burden of proof that ideas are an exception clearly lies on the people who want the monopolies. To my knowledge (admittedly, I haven't looked hard at all) no study exists to support the claim that the patent system is beneficial. However, there have been studies that claim to have shown that the patent system causes net damage.