Patent Law: The revolution is coming!

Copyright law is an issue I think about from time to time,living in an era where you can make (near) perfect copies of any original work it is no surprise that this issue has become a popular one. The current way that things are going is pointing toward a stand off. The major players in the copyright versus the common folks with broadband internet.

Let's back up a bit into classic economics. When I create a new product the typical pattern is that I have to produce copies of it. So I created a toothbrush that automatically applies toothpaste. Initially my costs are extremely high and my production is driven by a huge bank loan and sleepless nights. I sell many copies before I make any of them to prospective buyers. This is so that I don't make too many that I cannot sell. I build my factory, lay out the machinery, and start producing toothbrushes.

Because of the initial cost the very first order is really expensive. But there are people willing to pay for this cutting edge product and I make enough sales to pay back my loan and then some. Then I am faced with a choice.

At this point my production costs become significantly lower. I can make a larger profit by selling the same goods at the same price as before. Because I am the only producer of this product i control supply of it. The best way for me to go is to smoothly increase production volume and smoothly decrease prices. I use a good part of my profits to increase my output and then engage in profit taking. I am doing this for a very good reason. Any day colfresh, a prominent tooth brush making company, can decide to grab my idea and make millions of these tooth brushes at a much lower cost because they have larger production volume. I do not want this to happen because it will sink my business. But what if I could get a law passed that will only allow me to create this product?

Say hello to patents. A patent will protect me while my business is growing. It will offer protection to the bank who I have lent money from and to potential investors. I can stop a competitor from creating the same product for a limited amount of time so that I can get the idea launched. That is what patent law is for.

If I don't act on it, or otherwise sell the patent to a company that will, it will expire and everyone will get my idea for free. The reason for this is that even though ideas are cool, they are pretty fucking worthless. But lobby groups for patent law don't see things that way. They have found a hole in the patent system and they are extremely ready to exploit it at every opportunity.

They push out ideas into patents constantly and then refuse to act on those ideas, instead waiting for others to have the same idea, act on it, and then they sue claiming that the idea was stolen from them. Even if it was, acting on an idea is worth much more than the idea itself.

The act of turning an idea into a product or service is entrepeneurshp or business and consists of getting money, planning, hiring people, marketing the product etc... patent trolling consists of creating a patent, suing and then reaping the profits without any of the intermediate steps.

To make matters worse there are so many ideas you will realise that any idea you have has already been patented by someone else, and you are simply lucky if you don't get sued. Sometimes they will lie in wait until your product has become extremely successful before they sue, because it's more profitable to sue you when you are successful.

Not only do these companies not take part in the actual work of developing an idea into something with actual value, they also avoid all the risk. They let others take a risk with an idea they are aware of and if they see it succeeding they simply sue to get a slice of a pie that they  knew the recipe to, but did not bake. It is a pure insult to hard working people that patents are used to make free money.

Litigation is costly, and I have a feeling that many settle out of court because they simply want to avoid the mess of a law system that favours the couch potato. I have seen ideas that I had had before being implemented. Of course I did not have patents on them, but the fact that someone else had the same idea proves something.

The human race lives in a global village that, by becoming bigger is feeling a whole lot more cramped. Your neighbours now consist of everyone. Our thoughts converge and connect the same dots to come up with new ideas. How can it be fair that somebody who had an idea and acted on it, should pay someone who had the same idea, but only registered it as HIS idea? He is the god of that idea, even though other's thoughts converge to make the same conclusions that result in the creation of that idea.

The most indefensible concept behind patent law is patent law pertaining to the medical world. Every little medical discovery, however small, is patented. When new researchers come along they have to make sure not to step on patents in the minefield of patents that already exist.

Essentially the medical companies sitting on these patents and not developing products based on them are choosing not to potentially save lives so that they can make more money. There is no price on human health, unless you are one of these assholes.

"You mentioned revolution in your title... did you forget?"  Nope. The revolution started when people started to give back software to communities for free. I am typing this in Firefox on the Kubuntu operating system, both free software applications. Both free and open source. If these philosophies make it into medicine we might have hope in the future.