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« Gigabucks Poorly Planned | Main | Promises and Perils »

May 30, 2006


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Phillip Huggan

There are enough expired patents to ameliorate much poverty provided a single MNT owner happens to be charitable or microfinance entrepreneurial. But for instance if I want to produce via MNTed diamondoid robotics, a water filter described by an expired patent, do I need to patent the diamondoid robotic design before someone else does?
When I look to the patent offices for guidance, the FAQ answer is usually: don't worry, a partnership will be worked out somehow. Can someone with MNT be sued for not producing enough water filters if they have the diamondoid robotics design and are only trickling out product output? The FAQ says yes, but what actually happens in practise? Whoever has the best corporate lawyers wins?
Would any patent office honour a patent for a diamondoid product if the inventor has not yet demonstrated a basic dimer deposition? What level of diamond engineering proficiency would need to be demonstrated before diamond product patents would hold up in court? I want to see some expired patents be mass-produced with MNT, but are there any legal loopholes the bastard lawyers will throw at an attempt to use MNT to dump basic consumer goods and consumables? Maybe I've previously been too Marxist in my demand for patent owners to form a new network for basic essentials to be distributed if already functioning patent expirations provide the kay. Then it would be far easier to focus upon ensuring as many MNT research teams as possible have at least one commie as a shareholder.
Anyone with patent expertise plz chime in.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

I'm not an expert, but I did try to launch a patent-reform project a few years ago. I think you're right about corporate lawyers, and the rest of your post is way too optimistic. All it takes is one new wrinkle to get a patent. "I patent the novel idea of building water filters out of diamondoid, because I built the first one." What, you say it was obvious? Well, then why didn't you do it first???



This is the same problem with all the Internet business patents. All you have to do is append "on the Internet" to an existing business practice to get a patent. I also worry about copyright, copyright historically only applied to the "finer things in life";like art and literature. When software was invented we saw copyright extended to functional utilitarian things. Now some useful inventions are protected by 20yr software patents and 90yr+ software copyrights. A nanofactory is ultimately driven by software. That software defines the products the factory produces, therefore when we have nanofactories will likely see 90yr+ copyright extended to tangible goods. This is unacceptable.

Phillip Huggan

If I file a patent for a diamondoid robotic water filter MNT factory, and Bayer or DeBeers read my patent and file 1000 of their own patents a week later that cover every possible operating configuration my factory is viable under, how much $ do I need to win a pissing contest with them in court? $Hundreds of millions$ or even more? So the best non affiliate-with-a-military option would be to initially preserve my industrial capital as a trade secret and hope I can sell enough water filters to win a corporate battle before someone else files their own patent?

Chris Phoenix, CRN

NanoEnthusiast, copyright on software code itself doesn't bother me; copyright doesn't prevent someone from writing all-new code with the exact same function. (It helps if they can prove they've never seen the existing code.) Look-and-feel copyrights could be more problematic; but for MM-built analogs of existing products, just copying existing products that have been built by multiple manufacturers without copyright challenge might keep you reasonably safe.

Phillip, define "best." Makes you the most money? I don't know, but probably something outside the box. Preserves your ability to invent? Give away lots of unrestricted nanofactories and create an infrastructure to bypass the whole IP system--except that that would probably activate an existential risk and/or massive oppression.


Phillip Huggan

I would define "best" as a diamondoid nanofac ownership regime that seeks to diffuse products rather than accumulate profit. In the example above: keeps me as owner of the water filter diamondoid industrial capital rather than De Beers or Bayer (two particularly vicious multinationals).

Our economies treat people as agents of productivity. This is far from fair or optimal, but at least it is reasonable given the Cold War. Now it costs maybe $100 to save a person-year of an dying African. Post-MNT the cost may be less than one cent. People assume because large capital accumulations are legal, it is a just system. But market forces tap the ability to tap compounding interest returns, not the ability to raise life-expectancies or IQ points. MNT will be the greatest compounding interest rate of return in history.

The point is: hoarding capital and introducing destructive free-rider effects are seen right now as *good* even though they are themselves parasitic free-rider behaviours. People born in a wealthy Western society, assume they will be the ones who "win" post-MNT. But post-MNT if the owners strive for hoarding and exporting capital costs to public tax-payers or 3rd world lives, we will all be in the position of present citizens of Africa. "Best" as defined in my previous post would be nanofac ownership by someone who has demonstrated character traits opposite to what is presently deemed "successful".
Of course the importance of the initial post-MNT military arms dynamic triumphs these humanitarian concerns.

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