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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/9247/hayek-on-patents-and-copyrights/

Hayek on Patents and Copyrights

January 16, 2009 by

From Individualism and Economic Order (ironically under copyright), Chicago, 1948, pp. 113-14.

Where the law of property is concerned, it is not difficult to see that the simple rules which are adequate to ordinary mobile “things” or “chattel” are not suitable for indefinite extension We need only turn to the problems which arise in connection with land, particularly with regard to urban land in modern large towns, in order to realize that a conception of property which is based on the assumption that the use of a particular item of property affects only the interests of its owner breaks down There can be no doubt that a good many, at least, of the problems with which the modern town planner is concerned are genuine problems with which governments or local authorities are bound to concern themselves. Unless we can provide some guidance in fields like this about what are legitimate or necessary government activities and what are its limits, we must not complain if our views are not taken seriously when we oppose other kinds of less justified “planning.”

The problem of the prevention of monopoly and the preservation of competition is raised much more acutely in certain other fields to which the concept of property has been extended only in recent times. I am thinking here of the extension of the concept of property to such rights and privileges as patents for inventions, copyright, trade-marks, and the like. It seems to me beyond doubt that in these fields a slavish application of the concept of property as it has been developed for material things has done a great deal to foster the growth of monopoly and that here drastic reforms may be required if competition is to be made to work. In the field of industrial patents in particular we shall have seriously to examine whether the award of a monopoly privilege is really the most appropriate and effective form of reward for the kind of risk-bearing which investment in scientific research involves.

Patents, in particular, are specially interesting from our point of view because they provide so clear an illustration of how it is necessary in all such instances not to apply a ready-made formula but to go back to the rationale of the market system and to decide for each class what the precise rights are to be which the government ought to protect. This is a task at least as much for economists as for lawyers. Perhaps it is not a waste of your time if I illustrate which have in mind by quoting a rather well-known decision in which an American judge argued that “as to the suggestion that competitors were excluded from the use of the patent we answer that such exclusion may be said to have been the very essence of the right conferred by the patent” and adds “as it is the privilege of any owner of property to use it or not to use it without any question of motive.” (Continental Bag Co. v. Eastetn Bag Co., 210 U.S. 405 (1909). It is this last statement which seems to me to be significant for the way in which a mechanical extension of the property concept by lawyers has done so much to create undesirable and harmful privilege.

Also, from The Fatal Conceit, 1988 (p. 35) :

The difference between these and other kinds of property rights is this: while ownership of material goods guides the user of scarce means to their most important uses, in the case of immaterial goods such as literary productions and technological inventions the ability to produce them is also limited, yet once they have come into existence, they can be indefinitely multiplied and can be made scarce only by law in order to create an inducement to produce such ideas. Yet it is not obvious that such forced scarcity is the most effective way to stimulate the human creative process. I doubt whether there exists a single great work of literature which we would not possess had the author been unable to obtain an exclusive copyright for it; it seems to me that the case for copyright must rest almost entirely on the circumstance that such exceedingly useful works as encyclopaedias, dictionaries, textbooks and other works of reference could not be produced if, once they existed, they could freely be reproduced.

Similarly, recurrent re-examinations of the problem have not demonstrated that the obtainability of patents of invention actually enhances the flow of new technical knowledge rather than leading to wasteful concentration of research on problems whose solution in the near future can be foreseen and where, in consequence of the law, anyone who hits upon a solution a moment before the next gains the right to its exclusive use for a prolonged period.

{ 67 comments }

DavidNcl January 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Property is made of atoms and intellectual property is made of bits. Transfers of atoms do not involve copying or replication so when property is transferred to another person by gift, sale, theft or some other means atoms are moved not copied. The original owner of that atoms no longer possesses, the atoms.

Transfers of Ideas, process, systems, patterns, programs are made of bits not atoms and do involve copying or replication and so when the transfer of bits take place the original own retains the bits.

The owner may have lost some social or economic advantage but no property has been lost simply because no atoms have been lost.

DavidNcl January 16, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Sorry about the typos. I wish I could edit that post.

andras January 16, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Dear Libertarian Social Planners,
Even Mises argues in Human Action that the Inventor can not be placed anywhere in his economic model. The Inventor is so a supra-economic phenomenon and as such society should cherish it if society values inventions. From an economic veiwpoint then, Inventors and their inventions can not be planned and harmful to be regimented.
Without the Inventor you are doomed to repeat the boring routines of your forefathers. However, even those boring routines had to be invented by earlier inventors as you have no other guidelines how to deal with reality, not even the instincts of animals. Refusing to grant rights to their own inventions is the surest way to freeze society on a theoretical, static state, a dream of all social planners. I hope, at this site, we can agree there is no such thing as static state. Without innovation society is doomed.
So just please leave us alone!
If we decide to patent and exchange disclosure for (state) protection this is our private decision. Ours alone! As inventions become value only by disclosure meddling with rights risks this way of value creation all together.

Mike January 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm

#

Dear Libertarian Social Planners,
Even Mises argues in Human Action that the Inventor can not be placed anywhere in his economic model. The Inventor is so a supra-economic phenomenon and as such society should cherish it if society values inventions. From an economic veiwpoint then, Inventors and their inventions can not be planned and harmful to be regimented.
Without the Inventor you are doomed to repeat the boring routines of your forefathers. However, even those boring routines had to be invented by earlier inventors as you have no other guidelines how to deal with reality, not even the instincts of animals. Refusing to grant rights to their own inventions is the surest way to freeze society on a theoretical, static state, a dream of all social planners. I hope, at this site, we can agree there is no such thing as static state. Without innovation society is doomed.
So just please leave us alone!
If we decide to patent and exchange disclosure for (state) protection this is our private decision. Ours alone! As inventions become value only by disclosure meddling with rights risks this way of value creation all together.

…by Mike

Mike January 16, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Also this:

“If we decide to patent and exchange disclosure for (state) protection this is our private decision. Ours alone! As inventions become value only by disclosure meddling with rights risks this way of value creation all together.”

Is like saying that hiring mercenaries to beat up your competition is your “private decision.” Because that’s essentially what you’re doing.

Peter Surda January 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm

> Without innovation society is doomed.
You seem to be suffering from a misconception that there is a correlation between intellectual property and innovation, and somehow, intellectual property helps you “cherish” the inventors. How, pray tell, did you come to that conclusion?

> So just please leave us alone!
Who is this “us”? Is it another fictional construct such as intellectual property? I’m a software engineer. Do I belong to this “us”? Because I certainly do not agree with you.

As for the business side, let me reiterate what I said elsewhere: the inability to make profit from intellectual work without intellectual property laws only demonstrates lack of imagination and cannot be used as an argument. IP laws create business models that generate monopoly rent and limit consumer choice.

Cheers,
Peter

Ken January 16, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Andras, you say:

“Refusing to grant rights to their own inventions is the surest way to freeze society on a theoretical, static state, a dream of all social planners.”

I can say only that the empirical evidence, as presented by Boldrin and Levine, and before them by Kinsella, suggests otherwise.

Karlos January 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Peter Surda – “As for the business side, let me reiterate what I said elsewhere: the inability to make profit from intellectual work without intellectual property laws only demonstrates lack of imagination and cannot be used as an argument.”

Really? Would you disclose, what software company are you working for and where are their profits – ergo your salary – coming from?

Artisan January 16, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Hayek puts copyright and patent on the same level… at first. Then he goes on saying ESPECIALLY patent is a problem of monopoly on the free market. Why would that be?

Rothbard stresses such difference too somewhere. Why is it, that our feeling – if nothing else – tells us patent and copyright is a different principle ?

I wish sometimes free market apologists would care more about the essential difference between these concepts as here addressed by Hayek.

Mike January 16, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Artisan,

Fundamentally, they’re not. But since copyrights apply generally to artistic endeavors, and patents apply generally to things like, oh say, life saving drugs, you can see why patents could be seen as more of a priority.

Peter Surda January 16, 2009 at 4:12 pm

@Karlos: I am employed (employer undisclosed because it has nothing to do with my opinions) and have my own company (click on URL). The first one makes money on SaaS (software as a service), the second one on support contracts. No IP law necessary.

Cheers,
Peter

Ergohead January 16, 2009 at 6:24 pm

What on earth could possibly be more of an individual property right than that which springs forth from an Individual’s brain?

The Patent Office has never, and hopefully will never, issue a patent to a corporation, out of respect of the basic truth that – a corporation has no brain with which to invent.

More and more, it appears to me that Libertarians are devolving to that mindless class of people who champion mercantilism as some sort of economic philosophy.

The only smaller-minded person I know of than any of that class is either a trader, or a bureaucrat.

The anti-patent rights folks seem to fall into at least one of two groups of character morbidity – The Jealous – and – The Envious.

The Jealous desire to have what another person has. (Trader)

The Envious do not desire that which another person has – rather they simply desire that the other person does not have it. (Bureaucrat)

When an individual becomes corporatized, feeling a oneness with the whole, as an easy means of feeling large, he or she then becomes a sociopathic member of a group of similars – and the larger their number, the less intelligence each possess. These types cannot invent because they are no longer individuals, rather, they are a corporation.

Is it commonism, or is it communism?

Ah, the community brain – what an oxymoron! Or is it proxymoron? Or, is it Corporamoron?

Seems to me that the intellectual elite have been ingesting far too much aspartame, MSG, growth hormone, estrogen, antibiotics, fluorine and xenoestrogens. Cut back.

The life of a utility patent is 20 years. Deal with it!

Kiba January 16, 2009 at 6:38 pm

To accuse the anti-IP crowd of being communist is the most laughable insult. To describe us as envinous and jealous is also another equally laughable insult.

You have anything else other than strawman positions and ad hominem attack?

Oh…I wonder why we need a bureacracy like the patent office? Why the heck it last 20 years? Shouldn’t it last forever?

Is there a property right office to which I can apply for rights to land, computers, and such?

David C January 16, 2009 at 6:41 pm

@Ergohead

“The anti-patent rights folks seem to fall into at least one of two groups of character morbidity – The Jealous – and – The Envious.”

You forgot some. Like the inventor – who for every patent he gets, is constantly beat down because he gets locked out of 10000 others. Like the high tech start up – they never get patents for “protection” or “incentive”, but as lawsuit insurance. I don’t know what kind high tech and innovative world you come from, but from the one that I’ve lived in – patents are a constant pain in the ass, and often an issue of bitter contention.

andras January 16, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Andras: “If we decide to patent and exchange disclosure for (state) protection this is our private decision. Ours alone! As inventions become value only by disclosure meddling with rights risks this way of value creation all together.”

Mike: “Is like saying that hiring mercenaries to beat up your competition is your “private decision.” Because that’s essentially what you’re doing.”

Andras: I cannot see how it relates! Hiring private securities (mercenaries) to protect my private property is indeed my private decision. When I do it to my tangibles you noisily agree. The point of my comment was that I refuse to accept that there is no such a concept as IP. Whoever copies my innovation is not my competition but my imitator at best.
Let’s clarify: do I have a right to my trade secrets? Or I am expected to disclose them for the good of the “society”?
If you want to have progress in drug discovery abolish the FDA, the harm from the Patent Office is negligible to them.

andras January 16, 2009 at 6:58 pm

andras: “So just please leave us alone!”

Peter Surda: “Who is this “us”? Is it another fictional construct such as intellectual property? I’m a software engineer. Do I belong to this “us”? Because I certainly do not agree with you.”

Andras: As it shows from your later posts you are not “us”, you are not an innovator but someone who provides application services, one of a dozen. You belong to the envies. Innovate if you can and you will learn the difference!

Peter Surda January 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm

> What on earth could possibly be more of an
> individual property right than that which springs
> forth from an Individual’s brain?
Except law does not actually define any of the “intellectual property” as “property”. The description is deceiving, you won’t find it in the law.

Just one example. A lot of copyright proponents argue that downloading someone’s copyrighted work without their approval is similar to stealing. Also, a lot of them think that it is illegal, and people are sued for that. In reality, it isn’t illegal, and never was, and noone is being sued for that.

I am quite sure all here would agree that what comes out of your head is yours. And, you are free to do with it what you want. However, the ability to enter contracts already allows you to do that. Why do you need additional special laws?

In summary, a lot of “IP” proponents think that “IP” is something which it isn’t. Neither by definition, nor by consequence.

Cheers,
Peter

Mike January 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm

“Andras: I cannot see how it relates! Hiring private securities (mercenaries) to protect my private property is indeed my private decision. When I do it to my tangibles you noisily agree. The point of my comment was that I refuse to accept that there is no such a concept as IP. Whoever copies my innovation is not my competition but my imitator at best.”

This is just nonsensical question begging, then.

Peter Surda January 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

> you are not an innovator but someone who provides
> application services, one of a dozen
Would you mind then telling me how do you define an innovator? I hope you don’t mean that an innovator by definition is not able to obtain money by providing someone with what they want. Otherwise, kindly refrain from accusations.

Cheers
Peter

David C January 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

“Andras: I cannot see how it relates! Hiring private securities (mercenaries) to protect my private property is indeed my private decision. When I do it to my tangibles you noisily agree. ”

I still agree, you can protect your copy however you want, and I can protect my copy however I want.

“Andras: The point of my comment was that I refuse to accept that there is no such a concept as IP. ”

I don’t care what you “accept”, I care what the facts are. The physics of the universe makes it pretty clear that there is a difference between a possession and a copy. Without that distinction how can property have any rational definition at all?

“Whoever copies my innovation is not my competition but my imitator at best.”

Whoever copies “your” innovation is not in possession of “your” innovation by the very definition of the word copy. Have you not herd the saying, “the best innovators are the best imitators”.

David C January 16, 2009 at 7:24 pm

“Andras: I cannot see how it relates! Hiring private securities (mercenaries) to protect my private property is indeed my private decision. When I do it to my tangibles you noisily agree. ”

I still agree, you can protect your copy however you want, and I can protect my copy however I want.

“Andras: The point of my comment was that I refuse to accept that there is no such a concept as IP. ”

I don’t care what you “accept”, I care what the facts are. The physics of the universe makes it pretty clear that there is a difference between a possession and a copy. Without that distinction how can property have any rational definition at all?

“Whoever copies my innovation is not my competition but my imitator at best.”

Whoever copies “your” innovation is not in possession of “your” innovation by the very definition of the word copy. Have you not herd the saying, “the best innovators are the best imitators”.

Peter Surda January 16, 2009 at 7:24 pm

> you are not an innovator but someone who provides
> application services, one of a dozen
Would you mind then telling me how do you define an innovator? I hope you don’t mean that an innovator by definition is not able to obtain money by providing someone with what they want. Otherwise, kindly refrain from accusations.

Cheers
Peter

Ergohead January 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm

David C: “You forgot some. Like the inventor – who for every patent he gets, is constantly beat down because he gets locked out of 10000 others. ”
Ergohead: Hmmm! Let’s see – if one innovation cannot proceed till many others fade into public domain, and that time period is 20 years each, then I guess that establishes, at a maximum, a 20 year speed limit.

That is, unless conflicting patenteurs or patent-holders decide to collaborate, or trade technologies, which could then legally increase their acceleration without breaking any speed laws.

Kiba: “Is there a property right office to which I can apply for rights to land, computers, and such?”
Ergohead: Yes, but I wouldn’t advise applying for any of the above, and such, to the patent office.

Peter Surda: “As for the business side, let me reiterate what I said elsewhere: the inability to make profit from intellectual work without intellectual property laws only demonstrates lack of imagination and cannot be used as an argument.”

Ergohead: You may be on to something.

If Natalie Dylan wanted to have patented her virginity for 20 years, she duv suffered a $3.7M loss. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/12/natalie-dylan-auctions-of_n_157329.html

Ergohead January 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm

David C: “You forgot some. Like the inventor – who for every patent he gets, is constantly beat down because he gets locked out of 10000 others. ”
Ergohead: Hmmm! Let’s see – if one innovation cannot proceed till many others fade into public domain, and that time period is 20 years each, then I guess that establishes, at a maximum, a 20 year speed limit.

That is, unless conflicting patenteurs or patent-holders decide to collaborate, or trade technologies, which could then legally increase their acceleration without breaking any speed laws.

Kiba: “Is there a property right office to which I can apply for rights to land, computers, and such?”
Ergohead: Yes, but I wouldn’t advise applying for any of the above, and such, to the patent office.

Peter Surda: “As for the business side, let me reiterate what I said elsewhere: the inability to make profit from intellectual work without intellectual property laws only demonstrates lack of imagination and cannot be used as an argument.”

Ergohead: You may be on to something.

If Natalie Dylan wanted to have patented her virginity for 20 years, she duv suffered a $3.7M loss. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/12/natalie-dylan-auctions-of_n_157329.html

andras January 16, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Looks like I have made a storm. A good primer to make you think! My observation about the anti-IP front that it always kindly ignores the drug patents when the advantages are listed as they can not handle them. Unfortunately it is not a reason to leave them alone, they are bundled in anyway.
I am from the pharmaceautical industry. I am making new life saving drugs for terminal diseases, never before cured. (Peter Surda, may I give you a definition by example of invention?) Certainly, I can sell my invention and by this I disclose it. Then the generics come and steal my formula before I can recoup my investments. I loose as I have to fund the entire drug discovery process vs. their merely production costs. And with me, all those dying from the diseases my NEXT invention would cure will loose, too. Surely It will teach me not to disclose it again even if I continue to discover since this is my passion. I keep it for myself, not for twenty years but forever. And you can wait for the next sucker to assist your un-met medical need. Even if you indoctrinate them with your anti-IP altruism, I can tell you, they will not be numerous. It always strikes me how people believes that inventors are stupid, the mad scientist is your popular concept of us.
Anti-IP would force us underground till we figure out how to turn our investment into immediate profit to comply with your sick definition.
One application of this can be to wait for a big enough market (a pandemic) for our anti-infective agent to be launched as fast recovery of funds becomes crucial. Do you really want that?

David C January 16, 2009 at 8:37 pm

@Ergohead

“That is, unless conflicting patenteurs or patent-holders decide to collaborate, or trade technologies, which could then legally increase their acceleration without breaking any speed laws.”

Hypocrite. That’s hardly of “which springs forth from an Individual’s brain” that you talked abut earlier, but more like an admission that patents inhibit collaboration in their natural state and must be worked around.

Anyhow, that’s exactly what companies do. They use patents to leverage their way into cross licensing agreements to keep from getting crap sued out of them. But individuals and small companies are often locked out.

In fact, to see how this process works, click here:
http://www.forbes.com/asap/2002/0624/044.html – hardly the pinnacle of no fraud and coercion.

Funny, didn’t you talk about bureaucrats in your earlier post? Cuz it seems that patents reward bureaucrats and punish innovators. The exact opposite of your earlier implied claim.

David C January 16, 2009 at 9:01 pm

@andras
“I am from the pharmaceautical industry. I am making new life saving drugs for terminal diseases,” … “Then the generics come and steal my formula before I can recoup my investments.”.

(btw what you say is discussed here at length
http://www.econ.umn.edu/~mboldrin/aim/aimchapter9.doc ) The conclusion is that just the opposite is true. More innovation and cures happen without patent monopolies.

What you also fail to mention is that patents act in a way that punishes collaboration between researchers. This drastically drives up R&D costs, especially in pharma. Now you come along and declare that we need patents to overcome the high cost of developing life saving drugs. It’s circular reasoning.

Another thing you fail to mention is the loss of life caused by “life saving” drugs that would have likely been discovered anyhow. You can’t look at the value caused by patent without looking at both sides.

For a look at the other side: consider Africa with AIDS drugs. When African nations tried to obtain AIDS generics made in India (who patents process, but not formulation) US Pharma companies sued them in the world court and put intense political pressure on them. It could be argued that millions died from that decision. (even though pharma eventually got the US govt to buy their patented medications to give to Africa) That creates an awfully high standard for the value created by patent if you ask me. Something I have yet to see.

Ergohead January 16, 2009 at 9:54 pm

David C

Are you saying that competition is not an effective force for advancing the arts and sciences?

The Patent Office (USPTO) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provide similar functions. The USPTO registers the owner and description of a novelty, and the DMN registers the owner and description of a motor vehicle

What the owners of property do with their property is of little concern to the USPTO or DMV.

Competition is what you seem to be angry with.

BIG BUSINESS, has quite a powerful advantage over smaller companies in most aspects of the marketplace.

Ergohead January 16, 2009 at 10:05 pm

David C: “hardly the pinnacle of no fraud and coercion.”

Go here if you want a hefty dose of fraud and coercion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS9-B7G3Ha8

This is an average day at BIG PHARMA.

andras January 16, 2009 at 10:16 pm

David C.
Again the usual false arguments, let’s go through them one by one:
-(According to this and that) “More innovation and cures happen without patent monopolies”.
This argument equals to true because I said so. In truth, you have no alternative system to make any calculation (after all, we are at Mises.com. You should know this).

-”What you also fail to mention is that patents act in a way that punishes collaboration between researchers. This drastically drives up R&D costs, especially in pharma. ”
-Hungry cows milking each other won’t make them fed. Collaboration is not for the sake of collaboration but for mutual benefits. Or are you suggesting cartells?
In pharma, patent costs are negligible (in original research).

-”Another thing you fail to mention is the loss of life caused by “life saving” drugs that would have likely been discovered anyhow. You can’t look at the value caused by patent without looking at both sides.”
-You could wait for that for centuries. This is the bulk of the cost as entire genoms are considered and tested as possible targets for drug research. You think innovation is automatic, it falls off the assembly line. You are wrong. It is a sequence of (thousands of)judicous and right decisions which lead to the final product. One wrong decision can mislead you and you won’t even realize it just give eventually all up due to prohibitive costs. Nobody tells you upfront that you will find a solution, not even that there is a solution. Plan that!!
If you have your way, anybody can ignore the costs but the inventor!

-”AIDS and generics”
-Wonderful package deal. Again, where would be the generics without the original research? Since when need is an argument? Isn’t that from the Communist Manifesto?
Besides, the “Let’s just flood Africa with cheap drugs” will not solve any epidemiology. It only creates a multiresistent virus very fast which means you loose all your drugs for everyone. Political pressure created a very bad deal for both sides. (But you can still feel good).

If you want cheaper drugs abolish the FDA. They kill much more people than they “save”.(without calculations, :)).

Peter Surda January 17, 2009 at 12:45 am

> may I give you a definition by example of invention?
I am sorry, the only thing I see in your example is a failed business model. Which demonstrates, as I said earlier, a lack of imagination rather then a compelling argument.

Take for example, the high costs you mention that are required for research. It can also be interpreted in a different way: the research has low productivity. Without exposure to market forces, we are unable to determine the justification of those costs.

Cheers,
Peter

Andras January 17, 2009 at 1:48 am

Peter Surda: “I am sorry, the only thing I see in your example is a failed business model. Which demonstrates, as I said earlier, a lack of imagination rather then a compelling argument. Take for example, the high costs you mention that are required for research. It can also be interpreted in a different way: the research has low productivity. Without exposure to market forces, we are unable to determine the justification of those costs.”
Peter, you are right. I have imagination for your system as well! It is easy. I just have to find one sick billionaire and screw the rest. After all, all invention started with the rich though this certainly will not trickle down to the poor until the investment has been fully recovered and some. So you rather give it all up just to have it your way. I think the present system still works better.
(And you still have the gall to talk about compassion for the poor.)

newson January 17, 2009 at 3:36 am

andras says:
“Then the generics come and steal my formula before I can recoup my investments. I loose as I have to fund the entire drug discovery process vs. their merely production costs. And with me, all those dying from the diseases my NEXT invention would cure will loose, too.”

first, the fact that you were unable to keep your “secret” secret speaks more to your lack of commercial savvy than any lack of natural justice.

second, assuming the generics took more of the profits which you somehow think belong to you (impossible calculation issues here), then your conclusion is still nonsensical. if the generics make lots from andrass#1, guess where you should be pitching andrass#2? the generics are just better commercializing than you, and you are better at pure research. so get together and enjoy the division of labour. nobody dies either, unless you want to sulk and retire from the drug game entirely.

Peter Surda January 17, 2009 at 9:21 am

@andras: There are literally an infinite number of ways to earn money and/or provide valuable services to community. Once again, only presenting two demonstrates lack of imagination.

> (And you still have the gall to talk about compassion for the poor.)
Please stop relating the current system with helping the poor. There is not sufficient evidence to support that claim.

Cheers,
Peter

Andras January 17, 2009 at 10:39 am

@Newson: “first, the fact that you were unable to keep your “secret” secret speaks more to your lack of commercial savvy than any lack of natural justice.”
-For your information, any respectable chemist can tell in five minutes the composition of the formula of a drug, even from your blood or urine. When I said: by using the drug you disclose it I meant it literally.
This is the issue of pharma IP, a total disclosure from the moment it is used, well before getting to the market. If you abolish it you abolish everything deriving from it. Fortunately, it is not the choice of the anti-IP people, yet.
When I called the anti-IP people “social planners” I referred to all who know nothing about the issue but still they feel the urge to plan. They want cheap (free) drugs, NOW. The very definition of envy! Ergohead is right.
And libertarians just loose their credibility.

@Peter Surda: “Please stop relating the current system with helping the poor. There is not sufficient evidence to support that claim.”
There won’t be sufficient evidence till you change the system. You can only deduce it. You surely will eliminate me and my type, the professional drug discoverers from the market (from your market, I will keep selling my wonderdrugs to the rich who can afford it and let me keep it a secret). With whom you will replace us? How long it will take? On what price? And how long do you expect the next generation of suckers to work for your benefit before they realize that they have been screwed, too?
The “poor” has a chance in the current system though with a delay of at least twenty years. Actually, it is only 4-5 years as the clinical trials take rather long but the patent start ticking anyway.
In your system, you will go back to the snakeoil era. The advantages: it will be all “natural” and everyone has access to it, :). Go figure the “poor”!

Andras January 17, 2009 at 11:08 am

@David C
“Have you not herd the saying, “the best innovators are the best imitators”"

The herd saying that will not make it true. Imitators are imitators, secondhanders. It is not the definition but the very antonym of inventors.

Ergohead January 17, 2009 at 11:18 am

Since the founding of this nation there has been an ongoing battle between Big Business and Big Government over who gets to be on top.

Andras appears to be advocating for Big Business.

David C., et al, appear to be advocating for Big Government.

Mussolini defined Fascism as – the perfect marriage between Big Business and Big Government.

Fascism reduces an Individual to a mere expedient disposability.

I don’t think Mussolini ever conceived of the homosexual marriage between Big Business and Big Government that dominates the planet today.

Ergohead is advocating for the Individual – considered by each of the other two, a necessary evil, but not much more.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/michigan/525997-uninformed-against-smoking-ban-post6883824.html#post6883824

Peter Surda January 17, 2009 at 11:51 am

> When I called the anti-IP people “social planners” I
> referred to all who know nothing about the issue but
> still they feel the urge to plan.
You continually demonstrate lack of understanding of business yet accuse others of being social planners?

> They want cheap (free) drugs, NOW.
This is a misunderstanding of an argument. You want to regulate the prices. I claim that the prices should be determined by the market, not by you or me.

> You surely will eliminate me and my type, the
> professional drug discoverers from the market …
Once again, unsubstantiated claim caused by lack of imagination, or, if you want me to put it differently, inability to do business. This looks much more like the true “social planner”, who claims that there is no other way and whines how he deserves privileges. I view it the same way as e.g. unemployment benefits or farmer’s subsidies.

Let me repeat: there are an infinite number of ways one can make money. Figuring it out is your responsibility. If you are not able to do it and go out of business, it does not mean you were wronged (assuming of course it was caused by free market interactions and not political meddling).

So please stop accusing others of not knowing anything about the issue. You may be a researcher, a good one indeed, but still do not seem to comprehend how markets work.

Cheers,
Peter

Ergohead January 17, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Andras: “They want cheap (free) drugs, NOW.”

Ergohead: I have a purist Libertarian friend who defined Greed for me as: the desire for, or acquisition of, the unearned.

I think he got it out of Atlas Shrugged. I’d like to have a Concordia for that book.

I think the Libertarian definition of Greed subsumes Jealously but not Envy.

Jealously: desire for what another has, without paying for it.

Envy: desire that what another person has, be separated from that person, without payment.

Andras – I assigned you to Big Business advocate, because as an employee of a Corporation, it is SOP that you assign your brain (all intellectual property springing forth) to the Company to qualify for employment there. I am assuming that you have been Corporatized – a power Big Business uses to take (trade) patent rights from Individuals.

Andras January 17, 2009 at 1:54 pm

@Ergohead,
Now I am busted, my secret is out! All my arguments were in vain! But wait, what about my not corporatized side? What if I own that corporation?
The time of a “renaissance man” is over, I prefer specialization and collaboration, thus corporation. Since we are successful, not by our legal but scientific achievements, we grow. Patents are our framework, we deal with it. Suggest something better and we deal with that, too. So far I have not seen any improvements in the IP-socialist proposal. Only negatives, refusal of the state and then total refusal of IP just to fit the bill.

Peter Cohen January 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm

The root of our problem appears to me to be semantic. We are debating the definition of property. On the one hand we have people insisting that if atoms are not involved, it is not property. It seems to me quite a leap out of nowhere to insist that property is a state that can be held only by matter.

I would assert that property derives not from some fundamental property of matter but rather by the product of labor, talent and capital. The product of one’s labor, talent and capital IS one’s property. Whether it is made of atoms or information stored as bits is immaterial.

Libertarians bemoan the keptocracy of democracy wherein the masses would steal the product of the productive simply because they can. I bemoan the keptocracy of digital pirates who would steal that which I produce, simply because they can.

And I am dismayed to find here, the majority of putative libertarians lining up to side with the keptocrats.

Ergohead January 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Hey, what a coincidence, I too own a Corporation!

As an Individual, I assigned 15 of my patents to it.

I myself however, have not been, or become, corporatized by my Corporation.

I may, if I feel like it, assign or license one of my patents to another Corporation.

NIH’s NIAID forced 10 of my patents into Public Domain by a series of bizarre contract breaches, which rendered me a forced altruist.

What is with that other guy on this thread advising you that there are other (better?) ways of making a living?

Does he consider you a criminal?

Renaissance man? I’ll take Henry Ford over Roger Smith any day.

Artisan January 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm

#
@Mike
“Fundamentally, [copyright and patent are ] not different. But since copyrights apply generally to artistic endeavors, and patents apply generally to things like, oh say, life saving drugs, you can see why patents could be seen as more of a priority.”

Ah, yes Mike. As general as it can be. So basically you are confirming “art works” have no function (so they won’t probably ever save someone’s life) while patent apply to functional patterns of idea (so their object might even be so useful that it saves a life).

But of course you don’t call that a fundamental difference…

Maybe someone else than you will then, among the free market believers.

Ergohead January 17, 2009 at 5:31 pm

@ Peter Cohen

There are a lot of pirates out there, and the cost of defending a patent in America is so high that only large companies can seem to afford it.

I spoke with an owner of an European company who said he hated the American patent system for that very reason.

I asked him how they did it in Europe, and he said it was like your Judge Wapner court. He said you just walk in, compare your invention with your opponent’s and the judge makes a decision. He said over there it was not a contest of who had the most money.

I don’t know if this is true or not, but I did fight off a German pirate after 5 of my European patents for only $7,000.00. I won an invalidation challenge.

kiba January 17, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Peter Cohen: It is also not just a mere principled stance. It is also a recongnition of reality.

From a business perspective, you’re going to create a lot of bad press if you chase digital “pirates”. Also it is a waste of money. How are you going to determine how much money you lost? It is all lost potential revenues.

You can, instead, take advantage of these pirates and use them to drive revenue to your source.

But you continues to bemoans and whine about some pirates stealing your work when you should be figuring out business models.

The free market is already responding to the tyranny of copyright and patents. Sooner or later, you will be left out into the cold. In other words, you will have no way to make a living. That’s only from a survival point of view.

Whether or not your ethical/moral stance is correct is another matter.

Andras January 18, 2009 at 1:47 am

Ergohead:”NIH’s NIAID forced 10 of my patents into Public Domain by a series of bizarre contract breaches, which rendered me a forced altruist.”
-If you had chosen to work for (big) government that is what you get. Why are you surprised?

Andras January 18, 2009 at 2:01 am

@Artisan,
If it make you feel better i can tell you that I would not want to live without Beethoven. Anybody who tells me that his ideas were not unique, his scribblings were worthless because they did not materialized is an idiot.

By the way, what on earth is not chemistry (atoms)? Even your ideas involve your brain and your digits do your silicon chip among other things.

Ergohead January 18, 2009 at 2:21 am

Nothing in America is purchased.

Everything is sold.

@ Peter Surda: “You want to regulate the prices. I claim that the prices should be determined by the market, not by you or me.” Who are you?

Why would anyone spend a ton of money developing a new technology, and then another ton of money marketing the technology, if they were not secured a significant advantage in the marketplace for obtaining a return on the investment, which has already involved significant risk?

Where should Altruists get the money they would need for their innovation pursuits to better the lives of others?

Should the Government subsidize (with loans?) technological research, and then just hope for a good outcome, (good enough to pay back the loan)?

Actually, the Government already does this – It is called Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.

I would hate to see the Government confiscate my new technology and then regulate the price of it.

I would rather let the market make the call on my patent-protected products.

Ergohead January 18, 2009 at 2:39 am

Andras: “-If you had chosen to work for (big) government that is what you get. Why are you surprised?”

Believe me – at the time – they were the only game in town.

I hope we won’t see more of that circumstance for others.

Ergohead January 18, 2009 at 2:47 am

I was hungry and it was their world – Paraphrasing Bob Dylan.

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