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Against Monopoly

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Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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You see the glass "half empty", whereas I see it "half full". At least Bilski has laid to rest the "anything under the sun 'test'".
MLS:

Bilski also laid to rest the mistaken belief that ideas are patentable - emphatically.

We already knew mere ideas were not patentable. Idon't seee much has changed re the sun test.
Stephan:

Yes, "we" already knew mere ideas were not patentable, but there were certain ignorant persons who claimed they were. Unfortunately, the Bilski patent, which was essentially for an idea, helped convince people that ideas were being patented rather than inventions. While a very few patents were like Bilski's, at least we can point to the Supreme Court decision and remind people to beware.

Alonniemouse writes:

Yes, "we" already knew mere ideas were not patentable, but there were certain ignorant persons who claimed they were. Unfortunately, the Bilski patent, which was essentially for an idea, helped convince people that ideas were being patented rather than inventions.

No, actually it should be more like this:

Yes, "we" already knew mere ideas were not patentable, but there were certain ignorant persons who claimed they were. Fortunately, the Bilski patent, which was essentially for an idea, helped alert people that ideas were being patented rather than inventions.

Down with the patent system!

Kinsella's post, while astute, is laced with the somewhat odd suggestion that we'd be better off with just a fuzzy-edged common law decided by unelected appointees than with hard-and-fast, bright-line legislation written by elected representatives of the people.

Besides the well-known issues raised by allowing unelected people too much control over what rules we all live by, there is also something to be said for having a bright line you can point to and prove you're on the "this isn't illegal" side of when carrying out activities -- particularly when those activities might be controversial, such as any form of innovation or any kind of protest or demonstration against powerful business or governmental interests. You can be sure that if you don't step over certain lines, they cannot legally stop/fine/arrest/sue/whatever you, and if they try you will prevail in court. Without that guarantee, a climate of legal uncertainty would prevail that would stifle innovation and chill speech and various forms of peaceful political action, among other things undermining the guarantees made in the First Amendment.

This would be a bad thing.

An aspect that is being overlooked with Bilski is that those who believe in "intellectual property" are still pushing the envelope of aggrandizing their rights. The Bilski decision may have quashed one invalid attempt at obtaining a patent, but it also "exposed" others who have now commented on how patent law needs to evolve out of the stone age and recognize that the internet age needs new protections for so-called "intellectual property".

As for Nobody's comment that: "there is also something to be said for having a bright line you can point to and prove you're on the "this isn't illegal" side" I wish it were true, but there really is NO such thing as a bright line or even a static line to serve as an absolute reference point.

Nobody: yes we'd be better off with common law than statute law. I explained in the articles linked under "legal certainty" above. And legislation is NOT more certain than common-law. But anyway I am anarchy-libertarian so don't favor "unappointed" state judges either. Only private law.
Perhaps legislation isn't much more certain, but it should be -- at least, there should be a large "zone of safety" of actions that are indisputably licit to provide dependability, avoid chilling effects, and promote innovation.

Private law is even worse than having only common law: changeable at the whims of the well-to-do and without any higher court of appeals.

Private law is what we sort of have now in DRM and also in the rules in places like the mall. Imagine whole owned cities with rules as arbitrary, or specifically designed to serve the wealthy owners. "No photographing this bunch of rich dudes doing anything they'd be embarrassed to have made public" would probably be one of the most common "laws" in such "communities", just to name one obvious violation of civil rights and freedom of speech that could be expected were private law the rule rather than Constitutional representative democracy.

Nobody Nowhere,

Your defense of "democracy," statute law, and the criminal entity known as the State is touching, but completely wrong-headed, as is your misunderstanding of the theory and history of private law. As Lysander Spooner pointed out, statute law is an absurdity, a usurpation, and a crime, because it's written by a secret gang of criminals and usurpers, who gain their living by stealing (which is what taxation amounts to). Private law has to pass the test of the market, which doesn't mean a few rich white guys, as you seem to think. If anything, that charicature is much closer to what the criminal entitty known as the State is.

I seriously doubt that there would be a private law proscribing people from "photographing this bunch of rich dudes doing anything they'd be embarrased to have made public." This might come as a shock but there are laws in some jurisdictions preventing people from photographing cops making arrests, and here in the People's Republic of New York, an anarchist friend of mine had his camera stolen by the State's pigs not too long ago when he took a picture of them taking someone into custody. Practically every issue of Reason magazine has a brickbats column mentioning a story about a State pig's misconduct. The July issue has a small story about a couple IRS pondscummers showing up at a car wash about the Infernal Ripoff Squad being "owed" four (count 'em) cents from 2006. With penalties, the Infernal Ripoff Squad wants $202.25. This is your vaunted dumbocracy-crookeaucracy at work. Just enforcing the law (which wouldn't exist in a free society).

You can have your dumbocracy. I'll take liberty.

Btw, Matt Ridley's new book The Rational Optimist (excerpted in Reason) has a laundry list of inventions that weren't patented, as well as some critical comments on patents.
An anonymouse attacked:

Nobody Nowhere,

Your defense of "democracy," statute law, and the criminal entity known as the State is touching, but [insult deleted], as is your [insult deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

As Lysander Spooner pointed out, statute law is an absurdity, a usurpation, and a crime, because it's written by a secret gang of criminals and usurpers

Don't be ridiculous. Ideally, it's written by your elected representatives, who are not at all secret but well known to the people. In practice, it's too-often ghost-written by lobbyists, but lobbyists are at least also registered and on the public record, and elected officials still must sign off on whatever they wrote.

who gain their living by stealing (which is what taxation amounts to).

In your opinion. In mine, you're proposing throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Private law has to pass the test of the market, which doesn't mean a few rich white guys, as you seem to think.

Of course it does. Get rid of public law, and what's left is anarchy. In an anarchy, the wealthy will immediately hire their own private armies to protect their own interests. These private armies will become your "public law". They will keep order, probably fairly brutally, to protect their wealthy employers from thieves, vandals, and other pests. Of course with no professional upholders of a constitutional law to check them, they may also engage in other activities, such as disappearing anyone who the wealthy find to be an irritant -- say, someone raising uncomfortable questions about some product's safety or some environmental pollution somewhere.

And of course they will cartelize and brutally suppress upstart competitors.

You see this sort of thing now in failed states like Somalia.

If anything, that charicature is much closer to what the criminal entitty known as the State is.

There is sometimes a bias, such as stronger policing in white upper-class neighborhoods in cities, but a) that's the particular municipal government and b) it's a lot better for the poorer classes than it probably would be if the only law protection you could get was however much you could afford to pay directly out-of-pocket for.

I seriously doubt that there would be a private law proscribing people from "photographing this bunch of rich dudes doing anything they'd be embarrased to have made public."

Why the hell not? In an anarchy, whoever has the gold makes the rules. Your say, your influence, is in direct proportion to the size of your pocketbook, because you don't have a vote or any OTHER form of influence.

What, you say the poor can pool their resources (what resources?) and act like the plutocracy equivalent of a voting bloc? That presupposes that anyone would let them organize without instituting some kind of brutal crackdown first.

Not to mention there's the information asymmetry issue. In the defacto plutocracy you'd be creating, access to information would also tend to increase with wealth; the downtrodden masses would be kept in the dark to a much greater extent than presently, where welfare, unemployment insurance, disability, public libraries, etc. (all of which disappear without taxation to fund them) mean that everyone nominally has at least some access to books and the Internet.

In your plutocracy, everyone below some income level would have zero access to information because putting food on their table and a roof over their head will have taken priority.

And this information asymmetry will then distort the "free market" you champion. Efficient markets rely on well-informed participants. Subject the masses to the mushroom theory and you get a market for lemons instead.

In every single market. Including, of course, any that exists for "private law".

Ever had a dispute with a phone company? You sue, they point to a contract clause in the fine print requiring private arbitration. Then the arbitration company specified in the contract of course sides with the phone company.

That's the ONLY form of dispute resolution you'd have under your "private law", other than if you're rich enough to own your own army you can send them to kick someone's ass.

This might come as a shock but there are laws in some jurisdictions preventing people from photographing cops making arrests

A clear violation of the First Amendment.

I don't claim the current system is perfect, but in the current system you can bring a case to court and argue that such a law violates free speech and get it tossed on those grounds. In your plutocracy, the only way to change a law you don't like is to pay a bazillion dollars to have it changed or to leave whatever area is under the thumb of that particular private-law-enforcement umbrella.

... the State's pigs ... a State pig ... IRS pondscummers ... Infernal Ripoff Squad ... Infernal Ripoff Squad ... dumbocracy-crookeaucracy

I see that it will probably be impossible to have a reasoned discussion with you, since you seem incapable of being objective about matters and not resorting to questionable appeals to emotion.

Just enforcing the law (which wouldn't exist in a free society).

So much for "private law" then. You are really championing "no law". Of course "no law" is thermodynamically unstable: someone who has it to throw will start throwing his weight around.

You can have your [implied insult deleted].

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

I'll take liberty.

If you love being ungoverned so much, why don't you go live for a year in Somalia? You can post here again afterward and I'll quiz you to see if you still hold the same attitude as now.

If, that is, you've survived.

Meanwhile, I suspect you're just some rich guy who's annoyed at being taxed and wishes he could get rid of all that annoying government that regulates his factories, limits his pollution, requires all kinds of safety measures, and spends much of that tax revenue on infrastructure that benefits everybody and on programs specifically for the poor, when you'd much rather keep the money yourself, make more profits from dirtier, more dangerous, cheaper to run factories, and spend some fraction of this excess on your own private protectors to keep you and your factory safe from miscreants -- as for everybody else, screw 'em.

The fact is, the free market, to actually function properly, requires the players have a level playing field. In a full anarchy, the playing field itself is owned and whoever owns it can tilt it and pick winners and losers. No more free market.

So the playing field (basic infrastructure, education, civil and criminal law including contract enforcement, and ideally welfare and health care) has to be a public good if it is to be level.

NN<

You're a blooming idiot.

It looks like my cowardly attacker has "rebutted" my detailed, carefully reasoned, thoroughly explicated arguments in favor of at least a minimal state with:

NN<

You're a [insult deleted].

No, you're the idiot. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Let's see. Detailed? No. Carefully reasoned? No. Reasoned at all? No. Thoroughly explicated? No. Arguments? Not really; if there even is one here, it's a boring old argumentum ad hominem not worth the electrons it was sent with.

Therefore, on the basis of my esteemed debate opponent's demonstrated total inability to come up with anything even remotely resembling a logical argument against my position or in support of his own, I declare victory.

End of thread.

Troll alert.
Alonniemouse writes:

[insult deleted] alert.

No, you're the troll. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Lonnie is a patent troll, but not in the usual sense of that phrase!

Nobody:

I am not posting on this thread...stop calling other people my name.

Incidentally, have you ever noticed just how much you write like None of Your Beeswax? Your mannerisms are very similar.

Lonnie pops up again to say:

Nobody:

[calls me a liar] [pointless blather deleted]

No, you're the liar. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Give it up, Lonnie. We both know how this always ends: with me victorious and you frustrated. The only choice you have is how long this gets dragged out, and how frustrated you are in the end when the inevitable happens anyway.

Nobody slithers in to spew more baseless venom:

[Blatant lie deleted.][Delusions deleted.][False interpretation deleted.]

[Threat deleted.][Nonsense deleted.]. [Threat deleted][pointless banter deleted][false claim deleted].

Wow. Nothing left of poor No's comment once you take out the stuff without substance.

You claim I wrote the post on 07/04/2010 at 7:53 PM. I did not write that post. I also did not write the previous anonymous post (and the one before and keep going).

So, if you are claiming I wrote those posts, then you are indeed a liar. So there, I called you a liar. Happy now?

You lost the moment you called someone else me and claiming I wrote those posts.

Lonnie had some kind of psychotic break:

Nobody [false accusation deleted]:

[vicious insults deleted; calls me a liar]

No, you're the liar and the lunatic. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Wow. Nothing left of poor No's comment once you take out the [insult deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

You claim [calls me a liar].

No, you're the liar. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

You [false accusation deleted] the moment you [calls me a liar].

No, you're the liar. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Give it up, Lonnie. We both know how this always ends: with me victorious and you frustrated. The only choice you have is how long this gets dragged out, and how frustrated you are in the end when the inevitable happens anyway.

Nobrainy's bipolar disorder acts up. Of course, hard to tell when it is not.

[Protestation of true statement deleted.]

[calls me a liar]

Because you are one.

[Heinous lie deleted][grievous insult deleted]. [Erroneous statement deleted][paranoid delusion deleted[[erroneous categorization of my statements deleted].

Wow. Nothing left of poor No's comment once you take out the stuff without substance.

[Another lie deleted][Erroneous statement deleted][erroneous categorization of my statements deleted].

You pretty much had nothing to say, eh Nobrainy?

You claim I wrote the post on 07/04/2010 at 7:53 PM. I did not write that post. I also did not write the previous anonymous post (and the one before and keep going).

So, if you are claiming I wrote those posts, then you are indeed a liar. So there, I called you a liar. Happy now?

[Libelous statement deleted][Erroneous statement deleted][erroneous categorization of my statements deleted].

[Another lie deleted][Erroneous statement deleted][erroneous categorization of my statements deleted].

[Mindless babble deleted].

Nobrainy, come back when you have something to say. Indeed, come back when you are ready to admit you are a compulsive, libelous liar; this would be a first step in solving your issues.

Lonnie writes:

[insults deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[false accusation deleted; basically calls me a liar]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[calls me a liar]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[calls me a liar][more insults deleted, including vicious ones]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Wow. Nothing left of [implied insult deleted] No's comment once you take out the [false accusation deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[calls me a liar]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

You pretty much had nothing to say, eh [insult deleted]?

That is incorrect. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[calls me a liar]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[false accusation of illegal activity deleted][insults deleted]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[calls me a liar][vicious insults deleted]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[insult deleted]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[insult deleted], come back when you have something to say.

The only thing I have to say to you is none of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Indeed, come back when you are ready to admit you are a [vicious insults deleted][false accusation of illegal activity deleted]

I will never "admit" anything of the sort, since it's not true. Indeed, none of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

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