Re: Fear of Life (was Microsoft, Automation)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 4 May 1998 10:51:59 -0700 (PDT)

> The 'sunk cost' needs to be covered BEFORE I can realize profits on my
> invention. Otherwise, there is no point in the whole process - if I can
> never recocver my R+D costs, why should I even think of creating something?

All of this wonderful economic analysis is probably correct, but
based on an assumption that isn't true: the assumption that high
R&D costs are necessary to create a useful product. This is only
true because patent law ensures that only things of sufficient
novelty (some arbitrary measure of uniqueness) can be called
"inventions" and sold as such.

In a world without patents, 99% of new products would be small
incremental improvements to existing products, with next to zero
research costs involved. Those projects that /do/ require long
research (if any--nature shows us that incremental improvement
is sufficient to create extremely complex and powerful things)
will probably be undertaken by industry consortia who contract
with each other to share the risk and benefit of it.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC