The root cause
Posted Jul 16, 2012 19:55 UTC (Mon) by giraffedata
In reply to: The root cause
Parent article: Akademy: Defensive publications
The question is whether these monopolies are a net benefit for overall society:
OK, then, that's a far deeper and more important question than I thought I was hearing. Something that's "superficially ridiculous" doesn't even bear investigating; you can be satisfied it's wrong just by looking at it.
I'm about as great a supporter of free market capitalism as there are, and even I wouldn't say monopolies are superficially ridiculous. I had to be taught by scholars to hate them.
Incidentally, by referring to patents qua patents as monopolies on ideas, you construct a strawman argument even if we exclude the trivial ones, because patents were never intended to be, and don't have to be, monopolies on ideas. I was in a patent law class that spent the whole first day stressing, "you can't patent an idea; you can only patent an invention." And the words ring in my ears, "An invention is a an idea reduced to practice." Edison, who kind of epitomizes invention, said it as, "invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration," where the perspiration is what the patent stops other people from exploiting for free.
I'm not a patent lawyer, but it sure seems to me modern patent examiners took a different class. I've never been able to reconcile what I learned in that class from what's actually happening. But anyway, the point is that it's conceivable a patent system could exist that doesn't grant monopolies on ideas, so you can't attack patents just by attacking the concept of monopolies on ideas.
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