Re: Suppressed inventions

Dejan Vucinic (
Fri, 02 May 1997 14:38:52 -0500

Carl Feynman:
> 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.

As always, there's a bright side: all patents are public, so while
you can't legally make profit from the patent, you can always build
the device for your own use. I wonder if developing and publishing
a GNU design from such a patent would be punishable by law...

Also, this tactic essentially means giving the technology away to
about half of all the world's countries: the ones that don't enforce
or care about patent laws. You're going to go after that
government-backed company in China that's making money off your
patent? Yeah, right. Ask Microsoft for advice. :)