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Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    24 May '09 06:31
    Patents can delay innovation as well as stimulate it. Any thoughts? Examples? Opinions?
  2. 24 May '09 07:52
    Originally posted by FMF
    Patents can delay innovation as well as stimulate it. Any thoughts? Examples? Opinions?
    Interesting and indirectly topical for me. What industry to you work in please?
  3. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    24 May '09 07:53
    Originally posted by divegeester
    Interesting and indirectly topical for me. What industry to you work in please?
    Capacity building.
  4. 24 May '09 08:58 / 1 edit
    Recently my firm has had an issue with a competitor claiming patent infringement on a key product of ours. As far as I can tell the claim is very broad and too general to be considered "fair" which is the counter claim I think. If upheld it will underline your OP by demonstrating that some patents are just too encompassing to allow any type of creativity and innovation. It's a fine line but needs to be clearer.

    Sorry to be vague - but can't divulge details obviously.
  5. 24 May '09 09:13
    Patents are an artifact of capitalism, they are a necessary evil.
  6. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    24 May '09 09:21 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Patents are an artifact of capitalism, they are a necessary evil.
    And yet during one of the quintessential eras of capitalism, the industrial revolution in Great Britain, the British were cavalier about patents and this is now seen as one of the reasons for the success of British capitalism at that time. One wonders why the recipe that worked for the British isn't also now available for the developing world?

    On the contrary, I've done a bit of work with NGOs trying to protect farmers here from western companies coming in and claiming intellectual property rights to herbs and plants (for spices and medicinal purposes) that have grown here and been used by the Javanese people for 2,000 years or more.
  7. 24 May '09 09:29
    Originally posted by FMF
    And yet during one of the quintessential eras of capitalism, the industrial revolution in Great Britain, the British were cavalier about patents and this is now seen as one of the reasons for the success of British capitalism at that time. Why isn't the recipe that worked for the British also now available for the developing world?
    Capitalism thrives on good governance. Developing nations just need stable and (relatively) non-corrupt governments and reliable legal systems. China's economy only started growing rapidly after the government decided to recognize ownership rights and at least be a somewhat reliable partner.
  8. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    24 May '09 09:55 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Capitalism thrives on good governance. Developing nations just need stable and (relatively) non-corrupt governments and reliable legal systems. China's economy only started growing rapidly after the government decided to recognize ownership rights and at least be a somewhat reliable partner.
    But with the West snapping up patents on everything - right down to specific types of ancient, traditional Indian rice, thanks to a little bit of lab work in a private sector Californian laboratory somewhere - isn't the "capitalist" relationship between developing nations and the purportedly "stable, non-corrupt governments with reliable legal systems" of the West going to be one of eternal domination/subservience?

    Shouldn't the length of patents at least be far far shorter so that the benefits of innovation can be shared more quickly and can perhaps lead to further innovation?

    Why is it "legal" for Western companies to claim ownership of things that have been communal property in the developing world for centuries?

    What's the "good governance" angle here?

    You say "Capitalism thrives on good governance", but is that true? Who exactly does it "thrive" for?

    Doesn't capitalism in fact thrive on a lack of competition, creating corporations so big they can afford to be inefficient, phalanxes of lawyers talking massive law suits whenever things stand in their way, and mathematically justified poverty for millions upon millions of people?

    Where is the good governance in the sweatshop countries that capitalism thrives on? I see bad governance and corruption all over the place - and I see "capitalism" thriving in those very places.

    I will insert a smiley here >>> so as to dilute my hectoring tone and for general mollification purposes.
  9. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    24 May '09 09:56
    Originally posted by FMF
    Patents can delay innovation as well as stimulate it. Any thoughts? Examples? Opinions?
    How could they stimulate innovation?
  10. 24 May '09 10:01 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by FMF
    But with the West snapping up patents on everything - right down to specific types of ancient, traditional Indian rice, thanks to a little bit of lab work in a private sector Californian laboratory somewhere - isn't the "capitalist" relationship between developing nations and the purportedly "stable, non-corrupt governments with reliable legal systems" of the We >> so as to dilute my hectoring tone and for general molification purposes.
    You should interpret "good governance" more broadly in this sense. "Good governance" also means there is a set of strict, but fair rules to abide by. A poorly regulated free market will lead to exploitation and waste, but steering capitalism in the right direction will lead to efficient production of certain types of goods. That means, for example, setting up rules that aim at promoting competition, such at the EU currently has. It means a fair and efficient legal system, respecting human rights and rights of employees, it means rules against pollution etc. and against general short-term policies with negative long-term effects.

    It also means a certain minimum of redistribution of wealth.
  11. 24 May '09 10:04
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    How could they stimulate innovation?
    Patents create incentive for innovation by companies because they will have a higher chance of making profits with their investments.

    Of course it would be better if innovation was funded by common means, so that other companies could immediately use the technology. But to do this would require banning patents, which would decrease the amount of R&D spending by companies, thus reducing the total amount of research. That's why I called patents a necessary evil.
  12. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    24 May '09 10:33
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Patents create incentive for innovation by companies because they will have a higher chance of making profits with their investments.
    Why do they have to be so long in duration?
  13. 24 May '09 10:35
    Originally posted by FMF
    Why do they have to be so long in duration?
    They don't. Making them longer will give more incentive for private parties to innovate; making them shorter will give more benefits to society in general from innovations. There is an optimum somewhere, but I can't tell you where it is.
  14. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    24 May '09 10:45
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Making them longer will give more incentive for private parties to innovate.
    Couldn't it just as likely result in them innovating less often? You know, 25-50 year cash cows securely in place - lawyers on retainers - cheques coming in? Wouldn't shorter patent durations thus perhaps increase the number and frequency of innovations?
  15. 24 May '09 10:49
    Originally posted by FMF
    Couldn't it just as likely result in them innovating less often? You know, 25-50 year cash cows securely in place - lawyers on retainers - cheques coming in? Wouldn't shorter patent durations thus perhaps increase the number and frequency of innovations?
    Yes - since there is a trickle-down effect from innovations, which is slowed down by patents. Maybe the optimum would be somewhere around 5 to 10 years, since most corporations don't look beyond that horizon anyway.