Purpose of Patents
Patents were originally intended to encourage people to invent things.
They have been abused by Monsanto to let them patent plants known for thousands of years.
Medical companies patent chemicals and structures in human bodies they had absolutely nothing to do with
creating, in particular genes. They just carved out a section to claim of the human genome that others previously
mapped. They invented genes no more than the European nobles invented or discovered plantations in Louisiana when
they drew the boundaries for their claims on a map in a Versailles drawing room.
Patents have been abused by endless computer companies to block use of ideas as obvious as using a pencil to
draw lines would be in the non-computer world. In my own case, Peter Norton/Symantec tried to patent an idea I sent
them (and all other back up companies) to recover from damaged backup media. It was not even their idea.
I talked with a guy who worked at the Swiss patent office. He said he had 4 days to
decide each patent (the torrent of patents means less time to examine each one). He first had to read the
application, 5.08 cm (2 in)
thick and look for prior art. The patent applier uses legalistic language to try to disguise trivial ideas as
Patents have become a crooked monopolistic game. Big companies cross licence their patent libraries to squeeze
the smaller players out of the game.
One measure that would help would be to put a prospective patent out on the web for review for a month. The
public, competitors or those who would be stuck paying royalties, could then present their evidence why the patent
should or should not be granted. The patent officer could us that as a heads up he was being bamboozled. The
problem with the patent system is the only evidence on whether it should be granted comes from a highly partial
party who has every motivation to lie. Further, there is no penalty for lying or dissembling. The patent process
should be more adversarial, like a legal system.
~ Roedy (born: 1948-02-04 age: 66)