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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » When Patents go horribly wrong (Page 2)

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Author Topic: When Patents go horribly wrong
ken_in_sc
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Originally, patents were monopolies granted by royalty to their friends and courtiers. Someone might get a patent to print and sell sheet music for example, and it would be illegal for anyone else to do it. Such a patent existed at one time in England. Product labels which say, “By Appointment of Her Majesty,” on them are a holdover from this practice.

The US patent system was revolutionary for its time because the patents were to be based on objective benefits and not political influence.

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KidTokyo
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PSRT,

Basic error there. Property is not defined as what has monetary value. But anything with monetary value is a subset of property.

Perhaps it will help if you review Locke's Labor Theory of Property.

Aris,

quote:

If I eat a fruit (exercise control over it), then I'm inevitably depriving you of your capacity to eat it (limiting your control over it).

That's a natural limitation.

If I listen to a song however, I'm not depriving you of *your* capacity to listen to it too.

There's no natural limitation there.

When limitations are natural, it makes sense for governments to regulate said limitations, so as to reduce conflict between the citizens. When limitations aren't natural, to create them out of thin air is done to disadvantage most people, in order to boost the *relative* position of others.

You missed part of what I wrote. The control becomes necessary when other people are involved. Property is a social convention to achieve control.

Control of what?

Not of "stuff," but of labor -- i.e., the right to use what you have labored for. Which could be physical, or mental, or both (as pretty much all labor is a mixture of the two).

Your analogy here overlooks that both the fruit and the song arrive into your control by the labor of others -- which you must pay for. If anything, the song is moredependent upon the labor of others, as it does not grow on trees.

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PSRT
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quote:
Basic error there. Property is not defined as what has monetary value. But anything with monetary value is a subset of property.
Kidtoyko, basic error there. I'm wondering what your definition of property is such that anything with monetary value is a subset of property.

In other words, you restated what I had already understood you to be saying, and was asking you to clarify.

Locke's theory on property does not answer the question, as quite a few things that have monetary value do not fall under the scope of his argument. (Also, I reject the idea that something that is produced can reasonably be considered to have been produced by one person or a small group of people, within the context of the modern world, so I reject locke's argument anyways).

[ April 06, 2011, 11:19 AM: Message edited by: PSRT ]

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TommySama
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quote:
It's the wrong pantents, Gromit,
and they've gone wrong!


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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
Basic error there. Property is not defined as what has monetary value. But anything with monetary value is a subset of property.

I don't think this is necessarily true, at least not without stretching the normal concept of property. Usually 'services' are not considered property, but they clearly do have monetary value.

quote:
Originally posted by Mynnion:
Here are a few links on energy suppression theories for the curious. A Google search will find you more.

Which are all obviously typical conspiracy theory tripe. It makes no sense in almost any likely case for a company to suppress a valuable idea. The only case I could see it being an economic benefit is the case of a monopoly. In any case where a company has competitors the use of the valuable idea would give the company a huge competitive advantage.

For example (probably not the best example, but oh well):
Exxon obtains plans for a very large capacity and very cheap to manufacture battery.

a) It could suppress the idea, ignoring any profits from the idea. Furthermore it would need to increase internal security to keep the idea from leaking. Also, it would have to fervently hope that no one else develops the same idea independently. Because if they did the competitor could patent the idea, making Exxon's secret completely worthless. And at the end of the day, they have actually lowered their net worth, by suppressing the idea.

Or
b) They could immediately stop buying up / renewing additional oil leases, oil rigs, etc, start selling/leasing out their current heavy oil equipment. Also, they would start using the large amounts of capital raised to start buying their shares off the open market.

Meanwhile, they are working with certain manufacturers (in Apple like secrecy) to start setting up manufacturing the battery in very large quantities.

Then within a year they announce their "suppressed discovery". Brag to everyone that they have single handedly solved the worlds energy crisis. Announce the imminent delivery of their new super batteries to the market.

Yes, their oil assets are suddenly worth a lot less. But their direct competitors are basically worthless. Suddenly Exxon is worth more than all the other energy companies on the planet combined. Their executives are taking baths in the billions of dollars their stock options are now worth and the whole company is 5 times larger than it was previously.

Yes, the US government will probably step in to break the 'new' company up into regional divisions, but do you think all of the new instant billionaire executives care? Or the instant millionaire stock holders?

So out of the two likely avenues, which option do you consider more likely?

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KidTokyo
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quote:
Kidtoyko, basic error there. I'm wondering what your definition of property is such that anything with monetary value is a subset of property.

In other words, you restated what I had already understood you to be saying, and was asking you to clarify.

Locke's theory on property does not answer the question, as quite a few things that have monetary value do not fall under the scope of his argument. (Also, I reject the idea that something that is produced can reasonably be considered to have been produced by one person or a small group of people, within the context of the modern world, so I reject locke's argument anyways).


You are free to reject Locke's argument, but that argument underlies our laws and our Constitution.

Perhaps I should restate this slightly, and say that property rights attach to anything of monetary value.

Look at it functionally. Money is a proxy for labor. The right that attaches to money is the right to use the fruits of your labor. What kind of right is that? It's the same right that you would have in (let's say) a small society in which currency is not needed, and people simply trade or share labor, so that no proxy is needed. (I'm only assuming the obvious, btw, that people intitially create a proxy to retain a right rather than transform it). If the social convention is to recognize property in whatever one has trasnformed through labor -- because of the value which attaches to the person who exerted the labor at the expense of their own self (time, body, etc.) -- then the definitive feature of a property right is not *what it is* but *what you did* to obtain the right.

The right you have to dispose of your labor is unquestionably, a direct derivation of property rights.

This might seem counterintuitive, but that's because you're all thinking in terms of a wage-labor society. Which, when our constitution was written, America was not.

Wage-labor was next to non-existent 200 years ago in America. Instead, property and labor were intimately connected.

The fact that we are now "alienated" from this relationship does not change the fact that it was derived that way.

To should just how closely the conceptual connection was, consider that there used to be Land patents.

The concept is the same, delineated and limited rights, granted by the government, in recognition of labor.

Property rights are never absolute and never have been - they are conditional and relational, based on the uses of the thing to which the rights attach.

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