17 August 2008

The Bankruptcy of Patents

One of the difficulties of fighting patents is that they are so abstract. This makes explaining their deficiencies doubly difficult. It's one of the reasons why I like to hammer home that they are monopolies: most people understand - and hate - monopolies, and can see why getting rid of them might be a good idea.

Analogies are useful, too, and the idea of using the concept of subprime patents by analogy with the crisis in the financial world wrought by subprime mortgages is brilliantly effective:

In many countries, many regulations (financial controls) were removed and so the market was finally flooded by what any common person would denominate "fake money". The same fake money as the one created with a fake notes machine, but just that much more complex and nicely sold.

But equally, and curiously roughly matching in dates, it has happened in the patent system during the last ten to fifteen years mainly. The regulations have been raised time ago. To get a patent has become almost for free. No innovation effort is almost needed. No innovative step almost. No disclosing of technical knowledge is needed. No invention "as such" is needed, using the patent jargon words. Artificial complexity of the system has reached levels where only the experts bureaucrats working on it understand it. The innovation of the bureaucracy reigns. Real inventors, formerly experienced and brightly engineers, have been replaced by patent technocrats and patent trolls. Those same patent technocrats who indeed decide, with little or no political implication, the patent policy of some of the biggest economical sectors of the world.

The result of this is a patent inflation. The most important patent offices of the world (mainly the namely "Trilateral") have granted surely some millions of subprime patents… that at the end mean fake assets and fake money. Many of these patents are fake because imprecise, too wide and/or non inventive, but many others are fake because are just out of the limits of the patentability. Their subject matter never should have constituted an "invention", but they were granted. "Obvious" is a word who lost it sense time ago.


Anonymous said...

I think that I might patent breathing.Inhale to inflate, exhale to deflate. This will make trillions. p

Roy Schestowitz said...

Yes, it's a good explanation. Stay tuned for FSF India to unleash its rebuttal. I've just gone through a draft.

Help the fight against swpats.

glyn moody said...

I look forward to it.