[Coco] Re: Patents and Copyrights...

John R. Hogerhuis jhoger at pobox.com
Thu Jul 14 22:59:00 EDT 2005

On Fri, 2005-07-15 at 01:53 +0000, farna at att.net wrote:
> Isn't it strange that you can invent the greatest thing since sliced bread but only profit from it for 17 years, but if you write/draw/publish something not only you but your heirs get to profit from it (or keep it buried away) for way to long??? 
> (and I didn't forget to cut all the extra out this time!!)

We discussed an aspect of the issue in my business law class. Coca Cola
for example never patented their Coke formula: they decided at the
beginning to protect it as a trade secret. Probably a smart move for
them... their patent would have expired long ago.

My idea is to handle grants of technology monopoly much like we handle
imports/export policy: customs has schedules of tariffs based on the
realities of int'l trade: if someone levels a duty against our goods, we
level one against theirs. If someone illegally dumps product into our
market, we throw a tariff on it to level the playing field.

DIfferent technologies should be protected based on the public policy
goals... so if a particular line of technology is especially important
and invention is very expensive, they might give innovations in that
area a longer patent life. Or where public policy dictates short patent
times (i.e. innovation would happen at the same rate with or without the
patent, as it does in IT) you could have zero - 3 year patent lifetimes.

The point of copyright and patent is not to hand out property, but to
encourage invention. When it isn't doing that, or is actually stifling
invention (as with software patents) things need to change.

-- John.

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