Re: Suppressed inventions

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Tue, 29 Apr 1997 13:13:43 -0700 (PDT)

> There are lots of urban legends out there about great inventions that have
> been suppressed by The Powers That Be. In these stories, They seem to use
> threats, media blackouts, and murders that look like accidents. I am
> willing to believe that all such stories are bunk. However, there is
> another way to suppress an invention: licence the patent, and then don't
> manufacture it. This is entirely legal, though people don't tend to talk
> about it, as it is anti-social. Does anyone know of a time when this has
> definitely happened?

The US tried to do this with the RSA cryptosystem, which was at one time
patented by Public Key Partners, who made no software and issued no
licenses. That effort failed, but they are still trying to supress it
with ITAR, preventing export. That too will fail, miserably, despite
support from Congress and the White House, because international
competition won't allow us the luxury of not using something as important
economically as public key encryption. They'll try their damnedest, and
may keep it down for a short time, but eventually they will fail. You
just can't stop the momentum of economically important discoveries.