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Everything posted by sjw

  1. Patent Laws to be Revised

    Notice: I will no longer be posting replies to this thread. I find it impossible to debate in a manner I deem authentic and conform to the FORUM posting guidelines at the same time. I have had several posts deleted by the moderator which I am unwilling to rewrite since I think my meaning would become distorted. That is unacceptable to me given the importance of the topic; it is preferable to me not to debate at all. You are welcome to PM me and I will probably answer you via email.
  2. Patent Laws to be Revised

    At this point I'm confused about why you bothered to post--you have not provided a single argument, just a bunch of incontroversial generalities and empty assertions strung together.
  3. Patent Laws to be Revised

    Such a system is immoral. It clearly contradicts one's fundamental right to think and act. You don't see the basic contradiction because you think of a market as something someone can "own"--but this ignores the fact that the market is individuals who have a right to think and choose independent of that arbitrary conceptual or geographic divisions. I have a right to think and act--to create. I have a right to offer my creations to others. They have a right to buy it. That right does not magically go away just because someone else exercised the same right earlier than me. This "metaphysical fact" that somebody happened to do something earlier has no logical bearing on the issue of whether I can morally create and sell my creations. The connection is completely arbitrary, unjustied and unjustifiable. Only pragmatic arguments can give it a veneer of plausibility.
  4. Patent Laws to be Revised

    You are missing something I referred to earlier. In China and the US it is impossible to protect yourself against reverse engineering. In fact, in the US you can't enforce a reverse engineering clause even if the customer agrees not to do it. Yet that is one of the key means to protect your IP in my system. So I do not sanction China's or the US's lack of respect for IP; in my system there would be far stronger protections of IP. What the US did in effect is say "make your invention public, as a reward we'll give you a monopoly" (meaning: we'll punish later inventors). What I would do is say "we'll create a legal system that allows you to prohibit customers from copying you".
  5. Patent Laws to be Revised

    The false premise behind this is an intrinsicist notion of ideas, as if they exist like a plat of land that only one person can have. That is the deepest reason why the notion is arbitrary. But even if we don't go to that level, notice that you have not in fact given any reason why it is not arbitrary to limit the rights of the man who thought of the same thing later. You merely point out that it is later, and expect your restatement of the indisputable fact to stand for an actual argument. Sorry, but your restatment of basic facts and subsequent sarcasm are not an argument. The fact that you resort to such illogical devices should highlight something to you.
  6. Patent Laws to be Revised

    I don't need to observe the practical effects of stealing to figure out that it's wrong. It would be empiricism to think that I did. One of the hallmarks of pragmatism is evident in debates on patents: a one-sided view of the "practical consequences". E.g., looking only at the "practical consequence" that an inventor would lose a government-enforced monopoly, without looking at the consequence that other inventors who are innocent of any wrongdoing are punished.
  7. Patent Laws to be Revised

    Again, I agree with you in principle. But it is absolutely non-objective to have the arbitrary standard that lets one man say "well I came up with the idea first" as a basis of stripping away the fruits of another man's efforts when this other man thought of the same thing independently. You can't be both for the inventor and for this kind of thing. Particularly if you recognize that prolific, integrative inventors are going to be completely stalled if they can't freely invent without having to worry about what the rest of mankind might have thought of in the last 20 years: with the non-objective system we have now, the greater the inventor, the more likely he'll accidentally "trespass" on another inventor's "property".
  8. Patent Laws to be Revised

    Something I invented with a co-worker was patented, but I asked them not to put my name on it because I thought it should not be patented--given a reasonable level of competence, I thought any engineer could have created it. They awarded the patent to my co-worker and a few others who did not actually take part in the invention. Since then I've invented many things that were far more patent-worthy than that but have not sought patents for them.
  9. Patent Laws to be Revised

    mrocktor: Before I address your points I'd like to ask some questions about the wheel patent. You say that Og should be able to patent the stone wheel, but not a wooden wheel. Suppose that someone else from a different tribe who didn't know Og invented the stone wheel too, but let's say it was a year after Og. Does Og have a claim (i.e., license fees in the form of, say, food) on him if they happen to meet? Or does right to such a claim require a government? How does your answer change if the other tribe is on the same continent or on a different one? You claim that "facts of realty" should not be patentable. Isn't it a fact of reality that logs roll downhill by virtue of their roundness? Isn't it also a fact of reality that the log could have a narrower section of wood on the inside part (i.e., an "axle") and roll even better over bumpy terrain? Isn't it also a fact of reality that the material in this case, wood, is a non-essential aspect, that any hard material would behave similarly? Isn't it true that knowledge of the behavior of round hard objects is an element of scientific knowledge, and that once you know this, the "creative" part, the actual building of the wheel, is more an issue of carpentry and/or masonry than of true creative insight?
  10. Patent Laws to be Revised

    My statements are consistent. You need to check your premises, and upon finding your mistakes, introspect on your attitude here.
  11. Patent Laws to be Revised

    The real contradiction is your declaring that I contradict myself and then asking me what I meant.
  12. Patent Laws to be Revised

    My compliments to mrocktor. He's just made the debate too difficult for me to deal with in the little time I've got at the moment (I'm finishing my basement). I'll come back when I have more time, probably in about a week. For now I'll just say that I still think I am right, but his argument is not easy enough to address with the time I have.
  13. Patent Laws to be Revised

    You should do some philosophical detection on your phrase "serve the interest of all". I will agree with you on one thing. That "serving the interest of all" is the idea behind the patent system we have today. There's a word for this: altruism. And ironically, the man on the sacrificial altar is the inventor.
  14. I have more respect for my own mind than I do for Ayn Rand's: I give strong weight to what she says because she said it. But I get the final call. When that bothers someone who thinks that everything she said was perfect, it disappoints me and I think it would disappoint her too.
  15. Patent Laws to be Revised

    You've in effect done nothing more than say the word "context". You've not specified anything about the particular context of the modern patent system that makes it moral. "Context" is not a "get out of jail free" card that lets you run roughshod over moral principle--and over innocent inventors who "tresspass" on existing patents. You've made no argument that furthers your postion.
  16. Patent Laws to be Revised

    If one person could prove he thought of the same thing, then it's off-limits, regardless of whether it's words or designs. That's the most basic point: you have a right to think and act on that thinking, unless you could foresee that you would violate someone's rights. If you couldn't foresee it then you didn't do anything wrong and should not be punished. But if you spent 10 years and found that you built something that someone else had claimed a patent on, then your 10 years would be in effect stolen by the government. That is viciously unjust. The time frame I would propose for designs would be the same as for copyrights, whatever that was.
  17. Patent Laws to be Revised

    First of all I am not following you. From what I understand, it's as if I said "you have no right to murder me" and you responded "rights are contextual" and then shot me, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't say that so I'm at a loss to understand you. Perhaps this interpretation will help you see where you might fill in the gaps. But my position is what it is: I have an absolute, inalienable right to think and to act on that thinking, so long as there are no forseeable violations of the rights of others involved in my actions. Patents as implemented today fly in the face of that standard, they are therefore immoral and should be condemned by Objectivists, in spite of the fact that Ayn Rand advocated them.
  18. Patent Laws to be Revised

    That method is pragmatism. Let's look at another example. Involuntary taxation is morally wrong, and you can prove it without having to prove how the various things the government does now will be funded. All you need to recognize is: the essential nature of taxation is force is initiated against innocents to extract their wealth. It is therefore morally evil. There is no logical burden on *me* to tell *you* how you can pay for the road you want in order for me to not have my money taken away by force. Likewise there is no logical burden on me to provide you with a strategy to protect your IP in order for me to be able to use what I thought up using my own brain. I can in fact provide you with strategies--but I would not do that on the premise "I'll refrain from stealing your food if you show me how to grow my own". This is why I don't answer your other questions. I would answer them *if* we got past the fundamental point: You have no right to tell me what I will and will not think, or what I will and will not create based on that thinking, or who I will sell it to and on what terms. You have absolutely no right, and I am not logically required to help you figure out how to protect your IP in exchange for your refraining from essentially stealing my efforts from me.
  19. Patent Laws to be Revised

    The burden is on you to name anything I didn't respond to. I'll either tell you why I didn't or where I did.
  20. Patent Laws to be Revised

    I can explain how I'd deal with broadcasting if you want, but again, they are incommensurate to patents. I presume the argument you are thinking of is along the lines that no two people can broadcast on the same frequency, and no two people can have the same patent, so we have to choose one or the other? In fact with patents we do not have to choose. Observe the pragmatic patent standard: the idea must be "non-obvious". This means that for all the "obvious" ideas, *both* get to use the idea. But both cannot use the same radio frequency. There's an inherent conflict that must be resolved regarding radio frequencies, but not ideas.
  21. Patent Laws to be Revised

    You posture as if standing for the inventor without knowing how patents harm him. Observe PhilO's experience. He's invented several ideas he later found were patented. If you actually look at the sea of software patents, and actually try to invent something in software, you will find that you cannot both protect yourself from accidental patent infringement and be creative. I could explain to you the many ways Rearden would profit even if he could not secure a government enforced monopoly, but I do not want to sanction pragmatism. The moral is the practical. The question here is whether it is moral for one inventor to restrict another's thinking and acting as patents do. As an epistemological issue, the first concern here has to be with the innocent man who also spent 10 years creating something, but missed the patent office by a day, or didn't have enough money to defend himself in court. The first concern should not be with the copycat (who in my system would be a prosecutable thief--nothing in what I'm saying says it's legal to reverse-engineer Rearden Metal). By what right do you erase the innocent man's 10 years of work? This is a rhetorical question because I already know the answer.
  22. Patent Laws to be Revised

    Those are not comparable. Choosing a legal age of majority is required given the continuum from child to adult; there is no such reality-based issue with regard to patents. Patents that include inventions that in principle multiple people could have produced are totally invalid, there is no continuum. The only valid form of protection would be designs that are by their nature unique to a given man.
  23. Patent Laws to be Revised

    I'm sure you think that, but you have so far not logically established anything.
  24. Patent Laws to be Revised

    I don't know what you intend to convey by this.