Paul's Here

Patent Laws to be Revised

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Actually that wasn't my intention, I was trying to point out something very important which is that this floating deduction of "What I suggest would uphold moral principle. And since the moral is the practical, would work just fine" is of zero value. You need to actually prove or show me in reality that this idea of yours is practical. I live in reality, so I judge the merit of an idea by how practical it is; so if you can't prove to me that something is practical for man's life, I'm not going to believe it's moral. This isn't Pragmatism, it's living in the real world.

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.

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If patents can only be made moral by proving that it is the work of one man, than can anything be patented? Given what I've read of your position, I can't think of any invention or product that would be considered patentable under your conditions.

Vastly fewer would be patentable. But looking at the modern patent office and the practices of the man who first ran it (Thomas Jefferson), we can see that the intent was not to have a mountain of patents anyway.

Speaking of the Founders, here is something I found from Thomas Jefferson while looking for another quote of his (supportive of my point here but I couldn't find it):

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

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Actually that wasn't my intention, I was trying to point out something very important which is that this floating deduction of "What I suggest would uphold moral principle. And since the moral is the practical, would work just fine" is of zero value. You need to actually prove or show me in reality that this idea of yours is practical. I live in reality, so I judge the merit of an idea by how practical it is; so if you can't prove to me that something is practical for man's life, I'm not going to believe it's moral. This isn't Pragmatism, it's living in the real world.

That method is pragmatism.

My girlfriend and I just read and discussed the entry for Pragmatism in the Ayn Rand Lexicon, and I really don't think what I'm advocating here is Pragmatism: Simply advocating a focus on practicality is not Pragmatism. In my own words, Pragmatism is advocating practicality in the context of no absolutes, no principles, no concepts and no standards, so that all one can do is approach reality in a form of "ethical tunnel-vision" where one must act in a contextless range of the moment manner...

Unfortunately for Pragmatists, this just isn't practical!

When I say "practical for man's life" I mean it in the purest and simplest sense possible: if something isn't practical for my life, that is, if it doesn't advance or enhance my living in the way that is proper for a man, then I don't think that I can say it is morally good. Therefore I say that if you want to prove something is moral to me, show me in reality how it is practical for man's life.

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...

Actually, I'm personally not certain that in the right context "Involuntary taxation" couldn't be proper (provided the taxes only paid for Police, Military and Courts). I think what is important is to realize that individual rights aren't absolutes that exist in a vacuum, they are contextual. The United States of America isn't just 300 million people that happen to live in approximately the same geographical area--it is an official construction where all the individuals of this nation agree to be represented as a single political entity, and any individual's actions in the name of America necessarily represents all Americans (which is why I think there are no "innocent civilians" in war, if you are a citizen of a nation, you are to held responsible for that nation's actions). What I'm trying to get at here is that you can't simply write the patent issue off as wrong because you think it violates someone's individual rights, because the individual rights you are appealing to are dependent on the context.

You have no right to tell me what I will and will not think...
I know, but it would really make this debate simpler!

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Vastly fewer would be patentable. But looking at the modern patent office and the practices of the man who first ran it (Thomas Jefferson), we can see that the intent was not to have a mountain of patents anyway.

Can you name one idea that would be patentable? I'm not trying to make you argue on some pragmatic level, I'm just trying to understand what a patent would really mean under your system. It sounds like when you say that Objectivists should rethink our position on patents, you're really saying that we should throw the idea of a patent away.

Under your system there still might be something called a "patent," but it would no longer be a time-limited, government-protected monopoly on the reproduction rights of some idea or product by an individual. Instead, it would just be a list of people who claim to have thought of the idea or product independently. That list might happen to have one person on it, but that person would not have a guaranteed timeframe in which everybody else would have to deal with him to use his product. It would only take one person who can show evidence that he thought of the same idea himself and the original inventor loses all control.

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What I'm trying to get at here is that you can't simply write the patent issue off as wrong because you think it violates someone's individual rights, because the individual rights you are appealing to are dependent on the context.

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.

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Can you name one idea that would be patentable? I'm not trying to make you argue on some pragmatic level, I'm just trying to understand what a patent would really mean under your system. It sounds like when you say that Objectivists should rethink our position on patents, you're really saying that we should throw the idea of a patent away.

Broad ideas that more than one man might be able to conceive should unequivocally not be patentable. In fact that is the standard I propose to determine whether something should be patentable: if another man might have thought of the same idea, then it's off-limits for patenting; if no one else could have, if it's distinctive of an individual, then it's patentable. I'm advocating the same standard for copyrights, which is actually very close to how they are in fact implemented. I also advocate that patents/copyrights cover variations that could only have been derived from the original. E.g., modifying the wording of Atlas Shrugged while the basic storyline stays the same would be off-limits.

The difference between copyrights and patents in my scheme is the difference between thoughts (expressed as words) and designs (expressed as physical relations). This leads to one (but not the only) method of protecting your designs: just as recipes include an irrelevant ingredient that proves it came from a given source, designs can include elements that only someone who really understands can tell is irrelevant, which would be a reverse-engineering detector (under my system reverse-engineering could be strictly forbidden by producers, unlike current laws that prevent us from restricting it).

Getting back to your question: Can I name an idea? Well, no. Just as I can't name a book idea that would be copyrightable. It has to be a book first. Then you can copyright it. Likewise, your system must be designed first. Then if it is sufficiently complex (such that it is impossible that another person would come up with the same thing) you can patent it. Patenting of basic ideas--however hard you thought about them--would be off limits. I say this as someone who has thought very hard about some of my software ideas, so I vividly realize what I am giving up in order to hold to my principles. Of course, I also vividly realize that if someone happened to patent something I've thought hard about, then they can steal it from me.

Under your system there still might be something called a "patent," but it would no longer be a time-limited, government-protected monopoly on the reproduction rights of some idea or product by an individual. Instead, it would just be a list of people who claim to have thought of the idea or product independently. That list might happen to have one person on it, but that person would not have a guaranteed timeframe in which everybody else would have to deal with him to use his product. It would only take one person who can show evidence that he thought of the same idea himself and the original inventor loses all control.

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.

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What I'm trying to get at here is that you can't simply write the patent issue off as wrong because you think it violates someone's individual rights, because the individual rights you are appealing to are dependent on the context.

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.

Don't you remember that Dagny shot a guard? Don't you see that context is important? You simply cannot take a principle and apply it without taking context into account. The moral principle of not lying is derived from a certain context, and consequently must be used in that context. You are starting with a principle, and ignore the basis it was derived from, and meant to be applied to.

Here, let me be specific. Is it moral to lie? Can you answer yes or no? As I have said before, Objectivism is not a set of commandments independent of circumstances. Your position allows the theft of intellectual property, and that is hardly the position of defending rights.

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Don't you remember that Dagny shot a guard? Don't you see that context is important? You simply cannot take a principle and apply it without taking context into account. The moral principle of not lying is derived from a certain context, and consequently must be used in that context. You are starting with a principle, and ignore the basis it was derived from, and meant to be applied to.

I fully understand that issue. But patents are not an extreme circumstance. Galt being tortured to death is.

Here, let me be specific. Is it moral to lie? Can you answer yes or no? As I have said before, Objectivism is not a set of commandments independent of circumstances. Your position allows the theft of intellectual property, and that is hardly the position of defending rights.

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.

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Don't you remember that Dagny shot a guard? Don't you see that context is important? You simply cannot take a principle and apply it without taking context into account. The moral principle of not lying is derived from a certain context, and consequently must be used in that context. You are starting with a principle, and ignore the basis it was derived from, and meant to be applied to.

I fully understand that issue. But patents are not an extreme circumstance. Galt being tortured to death is.

Here, let me be specific. Is it moral to lie? Can you answer yes or no? As I have said before, Objectivism is not a set of commandments independent of circumstances. Your position allows the theft of intellectual property, and that is hardly the position of defending rights.

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.

Good, you accept that circumstances are important when applying a moral principle. Can you see now why your approach which starts with a principle, needs to go further, and that is to show that it applies to these particular circumstances?

You say I made no argument to further my position. Perhaps you need to read again where I stated that rules in a rational society (such as road rules), may appear to restrict your movement if one ignores the full picture (context). After all, if you were alone on an island, you could drive down the middle of the road, and speed for all it's worth.

What would be an impediment to your freedom of movement on the island, will aid your freedom of movement in society. In the same way, rules on patents would make no sense for someone living outside of society, but serve the interest of all when applied in a social context. You have ignored the practical results of your position, claiming that the moral principle was sufficient argument. It is not.

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Good, you accept that circumstances are important when applying a moral principle. Can you see now why your approach which starts with a principle, needs to go further, and that is to show that it applies to these particular circumstances?

I stand by everything I've said in this thread, including what I said regarding your posts.

You say I made no argument to further my position. Perhaps you need to read again where I stated that rules in a rational society (such as road rules), may appear to restrict your movement if one ignores the full picture (context). After all, if you were alone on an island, you could drive down the middle of the road, and speed for all it's worth.

When you speed you are creating a foreseeable risk to other people's lives. With patents you're not. So your analogy doesn't apply. See my previous posts.

What would be an impediment to your freedom of movement on the island, will aid your freedom of movement in society. In the same way, rules on patents would make no sense for someone living outside of society, but serve the interest of all when applied in a social context. You have ignored the practical results of your position, claiming that the moral principle was sufficient argument. It is not.

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.

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First, I'll start by saying that the standard arguments for patents are pragmatic. Whether eliminating patents would stifle innovation or make it flourish is irrelevant to whether it is right. Anyone who thinks that the question of whether it is practical to eliminate patents is relevant to the question of whether it is right to do it has causality backwards.

"The moral is the practical" means that whatever can be rationally determined to be moral will turn out to be practical. It does not mean that if something seems practical, that makes it moral. In the first we rationally derive conclusions by applying logic based on facts. In the second we use imagination to project what we think the consequences of something would be. The first is principled thinking, the second is pragmatism.

That said, the pragmatic argument for patents (the "innovation argument") is not Ayn Rand's basis for defending them. Her basis is that man has a right to the fruit of his work, and thinking is work - the most important kind of work. Patents protect a specific kind of thought: thought about physical products that further man's life. When an inventor has an idea, he creates something that did not exist before, knowledge of a specific means to change reality to man's benefit - how to make a specific, physical product.

What is invention? Invention is creating a product that did not previously exist. The idea of "independent invention" is an oxymoron - you can't invent something after someone else already has, whether you know about it or not. The idea already exists after the inventor creates it.

An important observation is the distinction between invention and discovery. The facts of reality can't be patented, no one can force another to remain ignorant or to live by falsehood. No one can own truth, patenting knowledge - even scientific knowledge - equates to patenting truth. This is absurd. Currently, though, it is accepted (just look at the companies patenting the DNA sequences of various natural species, as if they owned the facts of reality).

The distinction between a discovery (identifying a fact of reality) and invention (creating a product) is creation. A scientist does not create, he discovers facts that already exist. An inventor creates something new, something that did not exist. In science it makes sense to talk about "independent discovery", certainly two scientists that independently figure out the same fact of reality have done the same job and deserve the same recognition. Not so with invention. The first person to create a new product has created something that did not exist. The second, even if he never heard of the first, did not create something that did not exist.

The distinction between discovery and invention identifies an essential feature of a proper patent system - it must only alow products to be patented, not facts. A product is a physical existent that serves some human purpose - both are essential. A proper patent system would only accept patents on the use of physical things for stated purposes.

For instance, one should not be able to patent "penicillin", it is an existent, such a patent would be a patent on reality. One should be able to patent "the use of penicillin as an antibiotic", and also "the use of a culture of penicillium mold to produce penicillin". If someone else creates a way to use penicillin as lip gloss, and not because of its anti-bacterial action, he is free to patent that application. If someone creates another process to obtain penicillin, he is free to patent that.

Such patents, being limited to refering to concretes (physical existents) and not concepts (ideas), being limited to the application the inventor thought about and not all possible applications of the object, pose no barrier to further innovation and protect the right of the creator to do as he pleases with the results of his effort.

One favourite example of those who combat the idea of patents is the wheel. They say "if someone patented the wheel they would have a monopoly that would have stifled all inovation in transportation for hundreds of years!". Of course this is a pragmatic argument, but let's see how a proper patent system would handle such a claim.

First of all, "the wheel" is not a product, it is a concept. The first inventor (I like to call him "Og") could not patent "the wheel", he would have submitted a patent for "the use of a circular stone with a central hole mounted on a wooden axle (as depicted on stone tablet A1) to reduce friction in carrying loads across the ground". He has to patent the actual product he invented.

It is obvious that such a patent does not stifle innovation. The first man to create the idea of using a circular piece of wood in the same fashion could patent that, Og could not complain. The man who created the idea of making the wooden wheel out of several boards could patent that, the man who created the idea of making a wheel out of a wooden rim and spokes could patent that, the man who created the idea of binding the rim with an iron strip could patent that. This does not even touch on the fact that there are a myriad ways to manufacture the products, and each of these means can be improved uppon as well.

Many patents would continue to depend on previous patents to be useable (the metal rimmed wooden spoked wheel can't be built without a wooden spoked wheel, for instance), this just means that the inventor of the improvement has to negotiate some agreement with the inventor of the original product - and that is fine.

In conclusion, patents are proper. They are the recongition of the right of the creator of a product to use it as he sees fit. This is the principled argument. What can and cannot be patented flows from what a product is, and what the creator actually created. And we know a proper system of patents is practical.

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Perhaps you need to read again where I stated that rules in a rational society (such as road rules), may appear to restrict your movement if one ignores the full picture (context). After all, if you were alone on an island, you could drive down the middle of the road, and speed for all it's worth.

When you speed you are creating a foreseeable risk to other people's lives. With patents you're not. So your analogy doesn't apply. See my previous posts.

When there is no objective process for securing intellectual property rights, it creates a forseeable risk to other people's intellectual property. Without property rights, no other right are possible. Without rights human life is at risk too.

What would be an impediment to your freedom of movement on the island, will aid your freedom of movement in society. In the same way, rules on patents would make no sense for someone living outside of society, but serve the interest of all when applied in a social context. You have ignored the practical results of your position, claiming that the moral principle was sufficient argument. It is not.

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.

I don't read what Arnold wrote that way. All men have a legitimate, rational interest in having their rights respected. Therefore, an objective process for protecting intellectual property rights to inventions serves the legitimate, rational, selfish interests of all men.

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I agree with everything mrocktor wrote about patents and the principles that justify their existence. He presented them clearly and convincingly. I must, however, take issue with his prefacing remarks.

First, I'll start by saying that the standard arguments for patents are pragmatic. Whether eliminating patents would stifle innovation or make it flourish is irrelevant to whether it is right. Anyone who thinks that the question of whether it is practical to eliminate patents is relevant to the question of whether it is right to do it has causality backwards.

"The moral is the practical" means that whatever can be rationally determined to be moral will turn out to be practical. It does not mean that if something seems practical, that makes it moral. In the first we rationally derive conclusions by applying logic based on facts. In the second we use imagination to project what we think the consequences of something would be. The first is principled thinking, the second is pragmatism.

It is necessary to distinguish between practicality and Pragmatism.

A rational person should be concerned with the practical consequences of the actions he takes. What is practical is not deduced from what is moral, but quite the other way around. It is only by observing the practical effects of various human choices that we obtain the data we can integrate into moral principles.

The problem with Pragmatism is not that it is concerned with the practical. Pragmatism is wrong because it is unprincipled.

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mrocktor wrote:

...patents are proper. They are the recongition of the right of the creator of a product to use it as he sees fit. This is the principled argument. What can and cannot be patented flows from what a product is, and what the creator actually created. And we know a proper system of patents is practical.

The article linked to by Paul falsely presents the bill as ways the patent laws can be made better, rather than the outright denial of property rights that is looming to the ignorance of most Americans. There are false dichotomies presented in the article. The "most controversial provision" is not smaller damage awards. A large backlog is not the problem. It is not an issue of the big companies shutting out the small-time inventors - even the Professional Inventors Alliance gets it wrong.

Let's look at what some (the parts I do not discuss are just as corrosive but not as salient) of the legalese actually states.

A Limitations of Injunctive Relief = a license to steal. It is a blunt elimination of the inventor's right to say "No" (injunction) to the thief, "You can't copy my invention and sell it as your own." A patent cannot still be called a patent when you eliminate this inventor's right.

The First to File Provision will not decrease an already low level (contrary to the popular press) of patent litigation. The First to File provision eliminates the relevance of an inventor's notes and records that he is the true inventor, and so seeks to void his rights. This is combined with the Third Party Pre-Grant review, which gives license to thieves with the ability to do a keyword search to view fully and copy a patent-pending invention, prior to the issuance/allowance of a patent, and thereby avoiding literal infringement.

The article cites some reforms as means to producing "stronger patents". What they are actually intended to do is give yet more free rides to thieves. The Third Party Re-examination of Post-Grant Review means that a thief can postpone his request for a re-examination of the inventor's patent (which he's already viewed fully and copied prior to patent issuance) by the PTO until after a trial. This gives a thief not just one or two but three opportunities (before patent issuance, once in court, once more if the courts find the inventor's patent should be upheld) to void the inventor's patent by using the patent laws themselves.

The Post-Grant opposition provision ensures that as many thieves as possible can challenge an inventor up to the very date of the patent expiry. This means an inventor can potentially never, during the entire period of patent validity, unequivocally own a patent. An inventor in this position will not be able to secure any non-suicidal investors to start up a business. The better your invention, the more you’re punished, because the thieves are going to maul you.

The Best Mode requirement, which this bill will scrap, is fundamental from a government's perspective of issuing a patent at all. The point is for a government to exchange a limited exclusivity for full disclosure. This full disclosure gives anyone a chance to examine the patent so that the public can improve on it and advance the state of the art of the technology. Scraping this fundamental requirement, and replacing it with a sound-alike, the Best Mode Disclosure requirement, is again voiding the meaning and importance of a patent from yet another angle. With the deletion of the requirement to disclose an invention's best specific embodiment, the public is short changed. The inventor gets public exclusivity in exchange for not fully disclosing the invention. This deletion is intended to "compensate" the inventor for the other changes discussed above to "even out" the malignancy against the inventor. Since the inventor does not specify the invention, and therefore does not specify what will become prior art for future inventions, there will be nothing for patent examiners to examine in the future – all inventions will both be the same…and not the same. But hey, the fact that nobody will want to invent will all be remedied because we can just pretend that there are new inventions since there's no prior art. Anybody who had a patent previously issued can just claim innovations at a later date in later patents when in fact the claimed innovations were part of the original patent. In doing so, they can falsely extend their original patent's lifetime to claim false earnings.

There is other legalese in this bill which prevent an inventor from upholding a proper patent, but the above post is already lengthy. The above is not an exaggeration or misinterpretation of the bill drafters' intentions or principles. This will not be a proper patent system that is practical. The bill mirrors Japanese legislation, and that disaster is described in an International Herald Tribune article in 2004. I don't have the opportunity at present to dig up this article, but here is a relevant paper by Pat Choate debunking this bill which also cites the Tribune article.

The United States needs to explicitly avoid falling into the slow death of lowering itself to international standards for patent laws.

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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.

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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.

Reality is easy enough to address.

Could you examine the laws in the EU and Japan and compare them to patent laws of the United States, the ones that exist at present until the bill that is the subject of the article Paul's Here started off with is in place? These laws overseas attempted many years ago to accommodate the exact premises you are advocating, so please also examine the results of these laws in terms of creative and economic output and explain why we should fall in line with the rest of the world.

You state contradictorily that you do not support the bill before Congress, yet you also do not believe patents should exist. As I stated in detail in my post above, the US government is going to gradually give you exactly what you are asking for by way of this bill. Are you objecting to the misnomer, that is, the fact that the provisions of the bill are generally termed "patent laws" when in fact these laws will offer no patent protection?

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The article linked to by Paul falsely presents the bill as ways the patent laws can be made better, rather than the outright denial of property rights that is looming to the ignorance of most Americans.

I'd like to clarify that I'm not defending the bill in any way, I'm defending patents as such and describing what would be the proper way to protect them. Thanks for your commentary on the bill.

My compliments to mrocktor.

Thanks, I await your argument :(

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Reality is easy enough to address.

Newton "addressed" reality with his physics. I guess what he did was easy enough too?

You state contradictorily that you do not support the bill before Congress, yet you also do not believe patents should exist. As I stated in detail in my post above, the US government is going to gradually give you exactly what you are asking for by way of this bill. Are you objecting to the misnomer, that is, the fact that the provisions of the bill are generally termed "patent laws" when in fact these laws will offer no patent protection?

The real contradiction is your declaring that I contradict myself and then asking me what I meant.

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Reality is easy enough to address.
Newton "addressed" reality with his physics. I guess what he did was easy enough too?
You state contradictorily that you do not support the bill before Congress, yet you also do not believe patents should exist. As I stated in detail in my post above, the US government is going to gradually give you exactly what you are asking for by way of this bill. Are you objecting to the misnomer, that is, the fact that the provisions of the bill are generally termed "patent laws" when in fact these laws will offer no patent protection?

The real contradiction is your declaring that I contradict myself and then asking me what I meant.

sjw, my comment to your response to mrocktor was in reference to mrocktor's and several previous posts regarding the functions and place for patents in American society and for the individual. I did not wish to quote various portions of the entire thread when, as has been requested by at least myself and another posting member that you please address the salient topics and issues brought up in this thread because this is, as I'm sure you will agree, an important topic to understand in its entirety.

It is a fallacy to appeal to complexity if you are comparing your efforts to post on The Forum to Newton's works. I am stating your future posts in this thread should address reality as the various other posting members have taken the time to discuss, not just mrocktor's, to have any rational possibility of standing by your position. It would also be useful when you are doing so to choose apt comparisons, and refrain from spurious comments which neither advance nor refute your statements.

I pointed out the contradiction, then asked a rhetorical question. The rhetorical question was intended to point to further introspection so that you could address your inconsistent statements. Sometimes, contradictory and inconsistent statements are made due to uninformed opinion, or due to errors in sentence composition or word usage, or insufficient attention paid to one's verbal or written statements. Most of us make at least one of these mistakes as a matter of course.

To move this thread forward then, could you, for example, make your next post (when you are able) after taking the time to re-read and introspect, address whether you have taken Jefferson's words (perhaps 1815 or thereabouts?) out of context, and integrate your response with the other issues discussed and questions asked by myself, mrocktor and several other posting members? Jefferson's thoughts on ownership of inventions and dispersion of ideas in society were clearly stated in his communications with Madison, and your position is contrary to Jefferson's.

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It is a fallacy to appeal to complexity if you are comparing your efforts to post on The Forum to Newton's works.

I was merely pointing out that your statement was obviously nonsense.

I pointed out the contradiction, then asked a rhetorical question. The rhetorical question was intended to point to further introspection so that you could address your inconsistent statements.

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

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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?

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Perhaps you should review the source: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/g...dex.html#patent

What Is a Patent?

A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions. Under certain circumstances, patent term extensions or adjustments may be available.

The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States. What is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention. Once a patent is issued, the patentee must enforce the patent without aid of the USPTO.

There are three types of patents:

1) Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;

2) Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and

3) Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

The USPTO web site has much to read, including the proposed rule changes: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/dapp/...on/focuspp.html

I am curious, how many here have a patent?

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I am curious, how many here have a patent?

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.

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When you speed you are creating a foreseeable risk to other people's lives. With patents you're not. So your analogy doesn't apply. See my previous posts.

When there is no objective process for securing intellectual property rights, it creates a forseeable risk to other people's intellectual property. Without property rights, no other right are possible. Without rights human life is at risk too.

I agree with you on all points. Especially on the modern patent system: it is non-objective. That's the whole debate I've raised as I see it. Copyrights are objective. Patents are not, but could be made so by implementing them the way I'm saying.

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.

I don't read what Arnold wrote that way. All men have a legitimate, rational interest in having their rights respected. Therefore, an objective process for protecting intellectual property rights to inventions serves the legitimate, rational, selfish interests of all men.

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".

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A rational person should be concerned with the practical consequences of the actions he takes. What is practical is not deduced from what is moral, but quite the other way around. It is only by observing the practical effects of various human choices that we obtain the data we can integrate into moral principles.

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.

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