Re: Coercion = Intellectual Property Rights?

Tim Bates (
Mon, 21 Dec 1998 11:17:51 +1100 said

>U.S. patent law, for example, covers only new,
>useful, and non-obvious devices or processes. See Patent Act ss. 101-103.

The real trouble is the PEOPLE in the patent office. They had/have no great clue about their purpose in civil society.

What is new about a human gene that has existed for 50,000 to 1000,000 years?

What is non-obvious? I mean, non-obvious to whom? To a patent clerk? or to some one with an IQ >135 who has made a serious study of the issue?

What is a process? Is software a process? I don't think so, but software patents exist. Is mathematics a process? Apparently not, you can't patent a mathematical proof. But isn't computing algorithmic?

The real key to preventing these people from locking up the world of ideas is to establish prior art: if ever you have a nice algorithm, give it away into the public domain. Then it is forever free, even under the present laws.


After discovering the basic principle of electromagnetic induction in 1831, Michael Faraday was asked by a skeptical politician what good might come of electricity. "Sir, I do not know what it is good for," Faraday replied. "But of one thing I am quite certain - someday you will tax it." Little did he know how right he was, though more than a century would pass before the word bits existed.