The root cause
Posted Jul 18, 2012 3:25 UTC (Wed) by giraffedata
In reply to: The root cause
Parent article: Akademy: Defensive publications
If someone else has the same inspiration independently and also does all the perspiration, they're still legally prohibited from profiting from it.
I believe that is only for reasons of practicality. The principle of patents does not require that independent invention be considered a patent infringement (quite the opposite), but we know it would be extremely difficult to tell whether someone's invention was independent if the work happened after the patent holder's work was published.
I don't see that as an essential part of patents; if the law merely presumed a post-patent practice of the invention was a copy and allowed the second inventor to prove it was independent, that would still be a patent system. My point is that this quirk of patents isn't enough to oppose the entire concept.
Incidentaly, assuming a patent system does not grant patents for obvious inventions, there isn't really much incentive for re-inventing. If Pfizer knows that Merck can and will spend $100M to duplicate Pfizer's $100M invention, Pfizer will offer to license it to Merck for $50M and both companies win.
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