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« Molecular Manufacturing, in its Broadest Sense | Main | Fundamental Disruptive Change »

March 12, 2006


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Nato Welch

Thanks for the link!

I suppose I've bowed to the rhetoric that copyfighters and "commonistas" are pinko commies or anarchists for so long that I hadn't considered the libertarian perspective on relaxing patents (IP is a state-granted monopoly).

As a policy, I much preferred curtailing IP rights to a guaranteed income; that preference alone might be considered less left.

Also related to IP policy in an accelerating future:
Why IP retards Innovation.

I may have to revise the title, because it applies mainly to patents, which is just a subset of IP.

I think the main criteria for whether a ptent policy should be implemented is the costs of innovation. Higher barriers to entry (traditional aircraft) = fewer innovators, and fewer patents obstructing technical progress. Lower barriers to entry (software, nanofactory products) = a glut of innovators, more patents clogging technical progress.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Nato: "I think the main criteria for whether a ptent policy should be implemented is the costs of innovation. Higher barriers to entry (traditional aircraft) = fewer innovators, and fewer patents obstructing technical progress."

Heh. I haven't verified this story, but I have been told (in an airplane museum) that in the early days of aviation, patent fights between the Wright brothers and some other inventors delayed the whole field by many years. Finally, when WWI created a national security need for airplanes, the government stepped in and settled the problem--I don't know how.

Here's a question I've been wondering about for a while. If patents are property, then can the government buy key patents at a government-set price under eminent domain laws?

The government can, and does, make the occasional patent secret for national security reasons, but that's a different question. The point of eminent domain purchase would be to make a useful invention available.

I am not recommending this as policy; it seems like a bad "fix" for a bad system. But I'm still curious about it.



I think there has to be a new patent-evaluation mechanism that would involve the aspects of both (1) the degree of findings and (2) its impact to the society. This way we can weigh how important an invention is and determine the steps on whether it should be denied patentability, subjected to eminent domain or referred to public domain. The latest posts in my blog discussed the theory called TRIZ "Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch" or “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TIPS.)” The interesting part of this theory is that it can explain the degree of importance from innovations. I argued that all nanotech design innovations which reaches level 5 of TRIZ should be freed from patent (certainly, with govt giving moneys to the inventors). If psychologist, inventors and lawyers can work together, I am sure there should be a way in reforming the current patent mechanism.

Brian Wang

The open invention network is helping create an open database of prior art. Others are working to help the patent office to have better information so that they do not grant bad patents.


Brian Wang

correction: Open innovation network: holds patents for open use

Article on the effort to improve the operations of the US patent office.

Prior art databases

Article about cooperation with patent office and the launch of open innovation

Brian Wang

Some other patent improvement projects



Hi Brian
I'll check that ASAP.


almost forgot. this is the draft access to knowledge treaty, forwarded by brazil to the WIPO under development agenda. This will limit IP protection and ensure knowledge utilization for humanitarian purposes.



Tuur Demeester

excellent article that very thoroughly refutes all arguments pro intellectual property can be found here:


kind regards, and thank you for the months of nano-news I've been able to enjoy through your blog. Keep up the good work!

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