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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Patents and Secrecy

It is commonly thought that patents are good because people reveal secrets rather than keeping them. But they keep secrets about intermediate results so that they can be first to patent. Via Pedro Dal Bo a remarkable video about what happens when pharmaceutical discoveries aren't kept secret. It's a bit ironic that people think that for pharmaceuticals patents are the only answer.

Comments

Of course patents are not the "only" answer. That is just plain dumb. There are multiple business models for pharmaceuticals, with multiple motivations. There are non-profit labs whose motivation is tackling a specific disease. There are government labs whose motivation is continued public funding. There are university labs whose motivations are prestige, publication, and patents/profit. Then there are for-profit labs whose motivation is making money. Eliminate any of the motivations, and you reduce the contributions from that source.

Conversely, implementing patents where none have been eliminated before is hardly the catastrophe that some people tried to make it out to be. When patents on pharmaceuticals were implemented in Italy, some people predicted the Italian pharmaceutical industry was headed for doom. In fact, the Italian pharmaceutical industry is not only about as strong as it was when patents were implemented, it appears to be one of the most robust pharmaceutical industries in the world.

Patents are not evil or the devil, they are just a business model with its own motivations, rewards, and contributions to the advancement of knowledge.


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