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Against Monopoly

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Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Stevens and Bilski

Matt Mitchell draws our attention to

Stevens "concurring" opinion in Bilski, especially part VI. It is a pretty good summary of why patents are bad, generally. He confines his argument to business method patents, but they are easily extended in most cases.

The relevant part starts on page 41, after he makes a fairly unspecific defense of patents generally. In many sentences in the rest of VI you can just delete "business" or "business method" and reach the same conclusion as Stevens.

For instance, on the disclosure case for business method patents, I have replaced the specific use of terms realating to business methods with the general word "innovations." It is remarkably still a fairly lucid case, using only a find/replace on Stevens' argument:

"Nor, in many cases, would patents on (innovations) promote progress by encouraging 'public disclosure.' Many (innovations) are practiced in public, and therefore a patent does not necessarily encourage the dissemination of anything not already known. And for the (innovations) practiced in private, the benefits of disclosure may be small: Many such (innovations) are distributive, not productive - that is, they do not generate any efficiency but only provide a means for competitors to one-up each other in a battle for pieces of the pie. And as the Court has explained, 'it is hard to see how the public would be benefited by disclosure' of certain (innovations), since the nondisclosure of these (innovations) 'encourages businesses to initiate new and individualized (innovations),' which 'in turn, leads to a greater variety of (innovations).'"

There are lots of other examples in the "concurring" opinion.

Decision is kind of bad news, though. Thought they would end a lot of goofy patents.


Comments

Links... www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-964.pdf or http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-964.pdf
We might not get rid of many more "goofy" patents. But, whatever one's opinion of the majority's decision, it's likely to prevent at least a few more frivolous patents to come into being. I think the only way to completely eliminate goofy patents would be to get rid of the patent law system altogether; and that's not likely to happen anytime soon.
I think the only way to completely eliminate goofy patents would be to get rid of the patent law system altogether

Agreed.

and that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

Please don't be a defeatist. We will never win if the majority keeps thinking like that. You have to believe that the enemy can be defeated, or you have already lost.


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