Patent All the Things

Patent All the Things.

^Yes. This.^
This is exactly the way I feel about intellectual property law. We don’t actually have a right to control the uses of ideas, even if we are the first person to say them out loud. Rather, copyright, patents, and the like are good for society at large because they encourage people to spend time developing their ideas and producing inventions, writings, or what-have-you. If there was not a way of profiting from one’s ideas, people would likely pursue them less fervently, and therefore we extend certain privileges to people who make new ideas available. However, extending these privileges in the ways that they have been over the last century (copyrights held by corporations are extendable nearly to eternity, and patents can be put on the most ridiculously basic or vague things) runs absolutely counter to the actual intent of these laws in the first place. Patent trolls and corporation holding copyrights actively work to prevent other people from creating innovative new inventions, from medical treatments to works of art, if any part of their idea is related to or based on “their” intellectual “property”. This harms not only those people with innovative ideas that they are legally prohibited from sharing, but society as whole, as we are deprived of those innovations.

It really shouldn’t be this way, and things will have to change eventually.

One comment

  1. Urgh, thanks for bringing this to my attention – I didn’t realise they were trying to enforce their patent of the BCRA1 and 2 genes to the extent that people have to pay $3000 for the test for it. I hope to goodness the court rules against Myriad Genetics.

    There are only so many ways you can discover/screen for genetic mutations, and if they’d invented a specific new method for that, rather than identifying a couple of specific mutations, they’d be famous. Like, we wouldn’t have been able to sequence the entire human genome without shogun sequencing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_sequencing).

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