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« Selfish Sharing of Information | Main | More Interviews Posted »

August 09, 2006

Comments

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Nato Welch

Bravo!

By the way, there's some Patent Reform legislation before the US congress right now.

It has a few good things in it. Not only does it statutorily expand the prior art defense from business methods to any patent (software and, prospective mm designs included), but it would also establish a review board that would allow small players better access for challenging invalid patents without the expense of litigation.

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/06/0236201

Brian Wang

A lengthier discussion of patent filing costs is at this link

If you are a small entity then you get discounted fees from the patent office in the US and Canada. You can reduce costs by doing more admin work yourself. Theoretically it could be possible to keep the cost down to $1000 for a US non-provisional patent. There are a lot of books to guide you through the process. Doing your own patent searches teaches you what is already patented in your area of interest. It helps you to focus on what you are doing that is innovative.

The new legislation will reduce windfalls from patents where you do not also execute a profitable business. It will still be good to protect your rights to the innovation where you also make a lot of money.

Tom Craver

I pretty much agree - patents never really were a good idea. In fact, I think civilization may well have been better off if we didn't have copyrights either.

Of course, about now any authors and musicians out there are screaming that I'm a communist/pirate who wants to steal their living...

But I believe alternative mechanisms to let them profit from their work would have evolved, if government hadn't decided to grant monopolies.

Of course, it might also require the government to stay out of private contractual agreements - e.g. allowing publishers to "collude" to set prices and make joint royalty arrangements with authors. But without government enforced monopolies, such collusion becomes harmless.

Don't worry, authors/musicians - there's pretty much zero chance that government will ever believe it isn't necessary to meddle. Goes against the grain of the politicians' egos.
---------------
BTW, Chris - picking a few nits:

"Rent seeking" isn't an integral part of capitalism - it's enabled by government interference with capitalism. Yeah, it happens to be a big part of how our diluted form of capitalism is practiced - but that's more of an unfortunate reality, than an essential part of capitalism.

Free markets are not capitalism - but in "pure" capitalism, markets would be free of government interference. (Whether pure capitalism is an ideal to strive toward, is a separate discussion.)

mova

Why not just deny any patent for MM? New molecular structures could be patentable, but if it is done, it will create huge gaps and prevent further development. I think future MM software should be copyrighted, but not patented.

ps: Has anyone ever made possible categorization/classification of MM software?

KAZ

You're mistaken about the disparity you seem to identify between capitalism and free markets. What you are actually seeing is the mis-use of the word "capitalism".

The best of both sides, for example Marx and Friedman, all agree that if you don't have a free market, you don't have real capitalism.

The problem is that people call a marketplace distorted by government interference "capitalism". Therefore, for example, collectivists could blame National Socialism in Germany on "capitalism", when it was actually a form of market socialism.

Nato Welch

I'd just like to add that the "government interference" is synonymous with "democratic regulation".

Any time a libertarian rails against "government" as unacceptable, it pays to realize that democratic governments are usually the only effective influence that common people people have over the operation of an "otherwise" free market. Opposition to government then implies opposition to democracy.

I should clarify that yes, there are plenty of undemocratic forms of government - and we must all be vigilant to insure that government becomes increasingly democratic. Libertarianism does not, however, characterize itself as opposition to non-democratic "government interference". In so doing, it restricts the exercize of democratic as well as non-democratic government forms.

In the end, Libertarianism ends up opposing a particular //organizational structure// - one that favors one vote per person, rather than one vote per dollar. This strikes me as contrary to the libertarian value of encouraging "free markets". It says that people should be allowed to organize as they wish - unless they plan to organize democratically!

--Nato

michael vassar

The claim that "If you don't have a free market you don't have real capitalism" = the claim that capitalism has never existed on a large scale, which conflicts with common usage and seems equivalent too the claims of communist apollogists claiming that Soviet "Communism" wasn't "real communism". In practice, it seems that attempts to organize on a mass scale in the name of "capitalism" inevitably lead to plutocracy and massive "public choice" style regulation while attempts to organize in the name of "communism" inevitably lead to blood-baths.

michael vassar

The claim that "If you don't have a free market you don't have real capitalism" = the claim that capitalism has never existed on a large scale, which conflicts with common usage and seems equivalent too the claims of communist apollogists claiming that Soviet "Communism" wasn't "real communism". In practice, it seems that attempts to organize on a mass scale in the name of "capitalism" inevitably lead to plutocracy and massive "public choice" style regulation while attempts to organize in the name of "communism" inevitably lead to blood-baths.

michael vassar

The claim that "If you don't have a free market you don't have real capitalism" = the claim that capitalism has never existed on a large scale, which conflicts with common usage and seems equivalent too the claims of communist apollogists claiming that Soviet "Communism" wasn't "real communism". In practice, it seems that attempts to organize on a mass scale in the name of "capitalism" inevitably lead to plutocracy and massive "public choice" style regulation while attempts to organize in the name of "communism" inevitably lead to blood-baths.

Tom Craver

Nato:
'"government interference" is synonymous with "democratic regulation"'

Well, no. I think you meant that democratic regulation is one form of government interference?

"people should be allowed to organize as they wish - unless they plan to organize democratically"

No - people should be free to organize as they wish - people certainly have to be free to make mistakes, including turning their lives over to the "will of the majority". But it'd be far better if they didn't make such a mistake in the first place, or at least had some reasonable way to escape such a mistake.

The US system was originally pretty decently organized - democracy to focus the government on doing right by the people, a republic to chain down democracy and avoid mob rule, federalist so a multitude of states offered people some choice in what laws they had to live under, with a few basic universal rights to protect people from the occasional execesses of democractic state or city governments. That has gone downhill ever since the Civil War.

Do I have a better system in mind? Not at the moment - I'd be reasonably happy if we just went back to what we started with, tweaked only to eliminate the fatal compromise (on slavery) that eventually killed it.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Tom: There appears to be some disagreement about what "rent-seeking" means. The Economist says it can include a cartel of companies raising prices.
http://www.economist.com/research/Economics/alphabetic.cfm?LETTER=R#rent-seeking

But then they also say that Tullock invented the term, which he says he didn't. Tullock also seems to treat rent-seeking as government-mediated.
http://www.thelockeinstitute.org/journals/luminary_v1_n2_p2.html

Kaz: Even if I were to grant that a free market is necessary for capitalism, that doesn't mean they are the same. Is it even known whether in a totally free market, capitalism would be the most successful strategy long-term?

Chris

Kermit Williams

I have one patent are no good make different forms called agreement plans and they should be cheaper $50 bucks to $100 AND THATS ALL ! and laywers should be cheaper on the agreements forms unless the inventor wins in court its hard to invent new prodocts because its thiefs and bad compaines that lie patents are no good for investors because you can patent that same idea over .

Kermit williams

patents are no good and cost too much ! agreement forms called planners should be used and cost cheapers a patent can cost more than buying a house it dont make since.

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