Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Are patents stifling innovation in mobile devices?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

You cannot drop the context of the standards. Copyright and patent are not fungible.

I have not dropped the context. all i was saying for chess openings is that showing that they can not be copyrighted achieves nothing for the purpose of this discussion if you don't also show that they can't be patented; so you must just show that they are not property. I am arguing against two people here and you seem to have different assumptions on this issue, so i limited my concern to whether it is property (to make my responses easier), thus either copyrightable or patentable or protectable in any other way.

Right, so I am presuming that some such situation arises. I've move on to the next question -- "So what?". You haven't demonstrated the evil, so why should we avoid it?

I did demonstrate the objective negative results in allowing chess opening patents. The destruction to the players' ability to learn the game, to play the game, to develop the game, to the game itself. A good thing can't lead to a clearly bad result for the field.

Remember that some people find it absurd...

Are you saying there can be no objectively absurd situation?

Intuitions about "absurdity" butter no parsnips.

I moved beyond intuitions into actually answering your question about the negatives of patenting chess openings.

Show me why it is absurd for a man to have as his property that which he creates.

But I am not arguing that. I am arguing that in SOME cases it is absurd to merely follow that principle - that that which a man creates should be his property. A man can create a new chess opening, a new equation, or a new way of planting his seeds quickly (e.g. making his farm workers move in a semi-circle instead of parallel to each other, say), and I assume we agree that others can not be stopped from using these methods on their farms.

A teacher discovers a quick method of teaching kids how to understand multiplication. It's a new method, her own creation. Therefore it can be patented so that no other teacher can use it in class to teach kids how to do multiplication quickly? I know someone will answer that she can copyright the book, but i am talking about the idea itself as a new method of doing something; by that principle it is her property and therefore it can be protected somehow so that others don't use it. To merely acknowledge her as creator, as others have suggested, is insufficient for actual property ownership.

I can get into the disadvantages ("evils") of all such situations , and I did with the chess openings, but if you can also quickly - call it intuitively or something else - see that it's a bad/absurd thing then we can save the time.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 146
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I did demonstrate the objective negative results in allowing chess opening patents. The destruction to the players' ability to learn the game, to play the game, to develop the game, to the game itself.
I guess we are really still stuck on the question of patentability. A particular 20-move sequence that is an extension of an existing 17 move sequence, plus 3 moves, fails the criteria for patentability (that's a non-professional judgment) because it is an obvious extension of existing technology. Were there to be some actually novel 20-move novel sequence, it would, as I understand it, not be useful, because it can only be played once or twice. The sequence itself is not what makes it patentable, it is the utility for a purpose (such as, winning a game because of some surprise advantage). Once you have let the cat out of the bag, the sequence becomes useless since everybody now knows to a fair degree of certainty what your strategy is. I do not see that you have established that this method is both patentable and that patenting it is a real problem (I have not addressed your arguments for a supposed problem since I doubt that you can patent chess strategy -- distinct from patenting variations on the game itself).

I think we would be better off with something like the Fosbury Flop, where secrecy is not an essential element of utility. Then a man could patent a method of jumping higher than anyone else, having discovered that you can gain an extra foot of altitude by coughing and looking to the left just before you leap. It's useful and non-obvious, so it is patentable. And so what. Other people can learn how to jump, and can invent their own novel methods of jumping higher. It is not bad for the sport. Surely you must agree that in this kind of case, there is no harm to such a patent. (Surely if you disagree you will state your reasons for disagreeing).

Are you saying there can be no objectively absurd situation?
No, simply that you are wrong about the particular absurdity.
A man can create a new chess opening, a new equation, or a new way of planting his seeds quickly (e.g. making his farm workers move in a semi-circle instead of parallel to each other, say), and I assume we agree that others can not be stopped from using these methods on their farms.
As I said, I donoubt that a chess opening is at all patentable. An equation is not patentable. A method of efficient planting is potentially patentable although your specifics do not suggest patentability. We could replace that with "two teams starting at diagonally opposite corners and working clockwise in a tightening spiral"; if that actually works, it should be patentable, and I find it to be entirely acceptable to say that Mr. Jon Dear can patent that method. Do you have a problem with that?
A teacher discovers a quick method of teaching kids how to understand multiplication. It's a new method, her own creation. Therefore it can be patented so that no other teacher can use it in class to teach kids how to do multiplication quickly?
Excellent. Patent approved. What's the problem?

Actually, it is patented so that schools must license the use of the method for instruction. Thus the district or textbook publisher must pay a fee to use the method. They can decide not to pay, in which case they cannot use the method for the duration of the patent. Just as a instructor cannot freely copy my book and use it in their class without paying me, at least until I am way dead. Patents are not a means of preventing people freom doing or using something, it is a way to enforce the IP owner's demand for compensation for using their property.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I guess we are really still stuck on the question of patentability. A particular 20-move sequence that is an extension of an existing 17 move sequence, plus 3 moves, fails the criteria for patentability (that's a non-professional judgment) because it is an obvious extension of existing technology. Were there to be some actually novel 20-move novel sequence, it would, as I understand it, not be useful, because it can only be played once or twice.

No, it can be played millions of times (it gives an advantage but not a guarantee of victory - and it can even be a disputed advantage - hence 'theory'), but let's leave this chess opening argument because you might have to learn more of the theoretical world of chess than you need.

I think we would be better off with something like the Fosbury Flop, where secrecy is not an essential element of utility.
It's not essential in chess opening theory either. But we've left that.

Then a man could patent a method of jumping higher than anyone else, having discovered that you can gain an extra foot of altitude by coughing and looking to the left just before you leap. It's useful and non-obvious, so it is patentable. And so what. Other people can learn how to jump, and can invent their own novel methods of jumping higher. It is not bad for the sport.

I think it's bad for the sport (at least). You want to see a guy win because he's the best, not because he went on e-bay and bought a patented method of jumping that his competitors are not permitted to use.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The guidelines are as folllows:

Invention must:

- be new

- have an inventive step that is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject

- be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry

not be:

- a scientific or mathematical discovery, theory or method

- a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work

- a way of performing a mental act, playing a game, or doing business

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it's bad for the sport (at least). You want to see a guy win because he's the best, not because he went on e-bay and bought a patented method of jumping that his competitors are not permitted to use.
Then your argument should be with the International Sport Jumping Commission, for allowing the use of patented jumping methods in their competitions.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of the iPhone and its applications and software patenting, some programmer made a game for the iPhone and has brought in over a million dollars before taxes by charging users $3 per app download. So, I don't think there is a case that patents and intellectual property are hurting innovation at all.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The idea that one ought to be free to use patented material for one's own use without permission of the owner would be like saying one ought to be able to use someone else's car without his permission.

This is a false analogy. Cars can actually be rendered unusable to other people. Patented Material cannot. Furthermore, things like cars are ostensively identifiable, whereas things like patented material are only derivatively identifiable. There is a difference between THAT dog and A dog. While both "that" dog and "a" dog have identity, they have it in different ways. To blur this distinction is the same as elevating consciousness to the level of existence, and violates the primacy of existence over consciousness, a primary in how nature works.

Link to post
Share on other sites
This is a false analogy. Cars can actually be rendered unusable to other people. Patented Material cannot.

It might.

The quickest way to render a trademark worthless is to palster it on low quality products. I saw that happen a lot when I was in the garment business. A patent isn't a trademark, no, but the same principle can apply. Suppose you took Polaroid's patents and marketed a lousy, but cheaper, instant camera (I thus date myself). Suppose half the pictures taken don't come out well, or come out outright awful (wrong colors, too light, too dark, etc; it's easy to mess up a picture). Soon instant cameras develop a reputation for being expensive and bad. Soon Polaroid can't give away its own patented product.

Speaking of trademarks, shouldn't I be able to market a gadget claled an "iPhone"? My using the name doesn't render Apple unable to use it as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It might.

The quickest way to render a trademark worthless is to palster it on low quality products. I saw that happen a lot when I was in the garment business. A patent isn't a trademark, no, but the same principle can apply. Suppose you took Polaroid's patents and marketed a lousy, but cheaper, instant camera (I thus date myself). Suppose half the pictures taken don't come out well, or come out outright awful (wrong colors, too light, too dark, etc; it's easy to mess up a picture). Soon instant cameras develop a reputation for being expensive and bad. Soon Polaroid can't give away its own patented product.

Speaking of trademarks, shouldn't I be able to market a gadget claled an "iPhone"? My using the name doesn't render Apple unable to use it as well.

That is a Fraud issue. Intending to give a false impression is a form of fraud, and in most contexts (at least within the scope of actions related to this discussion) calling your gadget an iPhone would, in and of itself, be an attempt to deceive.

Not only that, but iPhone could simply explain what the difference between their iPhone and yours is. If you made any claim that you were related to them, that could also be considered a form of slander or libel. That in itself is an interesting issue, how slander and libel violate rights, and certain kinds of expressions ARE slanderous or libelous, but not matters of opinion. The difference between defamation and opinion runs parallel to the difference between violating intellectual property and simply using a concept derived from another person because the main difficulty is the same: Where do we draw the line?

Edited by TuringAI
Link to post
Share on other sites
This is a false analogy. Cars can actually be rendered unusable to other people. Patented Material cannot. Furthermore, things like cars are ostensively identifiable, whereas things like patented material are only derivatively identifiable. There is a difference between THAT dog and A dog. While both "that" dog and "a" dog have identity, they have it in different ways. To blur this distinction is the same as elevating consciousness to the level of existence, and violates the primacy of existence over consciousness, a primary in how nature works.

And being derivatively identifiable is somehow not as good as being ostensively identifiable? A derivative identity is unreal? Concepts are unreliable as a means of knowledge, we are only permitted to point and grunt?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Furthermore, things like cars are ostensively identifiable, whereas things like patented material are only derivatively identifiable.
That is pretty close to the opposite of the truth. I have a yellow-handled screwdriver, one of 10,000,000 manufactured, and I aver that no man can, by any evidence about the thing itself, prove that the one in my possession is in fact his or some other man's. They are indistinguishable: pointing to it does not help one damn bit. To prove theft, you have to show some derivatire fact about how I supposedly came to possess it. With a patented item, you can simply point to the item and show "This is a copy of that", and not need to prove how the accused came in possession of the item.
Link to post
Share on other sites
And being derivatively identifiable is somehow not as good as being ostensively identifiable? A derivative identity is unreal? Concepts are unreliable as a means of knowledge, we are only permitted to point and grunt?

You're putting words in my mouth. I never said it was unreal. In fact, while it requires us to do MORE than to point and grunt, therefore is more prone to error when making judgments, that's not even what I said. What I said is that we can't treat the two as if they are the same thing.

Also, thanks for snipping the context of my post. :lol: D:

Edited by TuringAI
Link to post
Share on other sites
To prove theft, you have to show some derivatire fact about how I supposedly came to possess it. With a patented item, you can simply point to the item and show "This is a copy of that", and not need to prove how the accused came in possession of the item.

This is why I believe patents to be invalid. It requires no PROOF that 'this is a copy of that', no PROOF of the requisite causal association of the two things. That 'this is a copy of that' is an intrincisist notion.

What makes something property is indeed the work you put into it, but unlike the word 'it', which is vague and can refer to any element of existence, work is something about the CAUSAL nature of man. And CAUSAL is in caps for good reason. The word CAUSAL provides the necessary context for that 'it' part, signifying that we are talking about something tangable, meaning that one could decide to create it and it would be, or decide not to create it and it would not be.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Then your argument should be with the International Sport Jumping Commission, for allowing the use of patented jumping methods in their competitions.

But do you still think the patents would not be bad for the sport even after my answer? Do you believe that my argument with the International Jumping Commission would in fact be bad for the sport or do you agree that excluding patents from their games would turn out to be a good thing for the sport? Let's start from there.

Link to post
Share on other sites
That is a Fraud issue. Intending to give a false impression is a form of fraud, and in most contexts (at least within the scope of actions related to this discussion) calling your gadget an iPhone would, in and of itself, be an attempt to deceive.

Using a trademark without permission is fraud. But using a patent without permission isn't fraud. The faulty instant camera in my example is an instant camera regardless of how the patents are used.

Link to post
Share on other sites
But do you still think the patents would not be bad for the sport even after my answer? Do you believe that my argument with the International Jumping Commission would in fact be bad for the sport or do you agree that excluding patents from their games would turn out to be a good thing for the sport? Let's start from there.

Wait, by excluding patents do you mean that members can't patent things or that they can patent things but just can't use them?

Using a trademark without permission is fraud. But using a patent without permission isn't fraud. The faulty instant camera in my example is an instant camera regardless of how the patents are used.

Well that happens in the academic world with ideas all the time. The correct way to deal with them is similar to the correct way to deal with those who market bad ideas that are versions of good ideas and is simply to require that retailers give factually correct information about who produced them. Then the producers of this faulty camera would actually HAVE to make the same product or market their improvements independently.

Link to post
Share on other sites
You're putting words in my mouth. I never said it was unreal. In fact, while it requires us to do MORE than to point and grunt, therefore is more prone to error when making judgments, that's not even what I said. What I said is that we can't treat the two as if they are the same thing.

Also, thanks for snipping the context of my post. :confused: D:

You can treat the two as if they are the same thing. It makes no difference whatsoever how abstract A might be, A is A.

Link to post
Share on other sites
You can treat the two as if they are the same thing. It makes no difference whatsoever how abstract A might be, A is A.

Therefore, any A is any other A?

If this is what you mean to imply, let me explain to you a similar argument.

So a siberian husky type dog is the same as a rhodesian ridgeback type dog? It makes no difference whatsoever how many different physical features are in the dog, dog is dog.

Therefore, any dog is any other dog.

You see how absurd that is. Perhaps I should not have used the word identity, but some other word, but that's a word-usage, IE semantics, debate that I do not wish to have.

Edited by TuringAI
Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm aware that you reject the concept of intellectual property. What you are apparently unaware of is that one can actually prove copying, although it is not always a triviality.

Well simply referring to an issued patent doesn't prove copying. It could simply mean that two different people came up with the same idea. I am going to open my mind to the possibility that SOME kinds of intellectual property exist, but just none that make the fallacy of assuming that if two things are similar that one copied the other.

Furthermore, I find it curious that intellectual property would, for instance, exist for a limited period of time AND that how it was created, how much effort was put into it, would determine whether or not it was protectable, yet neither of these conditions exist for physical property. If property is property, and that's all there is to it, IE if not for some kind of distinction to be made between the intellectual and existential, what could possibly account for these differences?

Edited by TuringAI
Link to post
Share on other sites
But do you still think the patents would not be bad for the sport even after my answer?
No, I do not they would be bad. Assuming something that is actually patentable such as a method of jumping that satisfies the various requirements of patentability, I see nothing bad about including that in the concept of a patent. I contend that whether it is good for "the sport" or bad for it is a matter that will be determined by the market, and if it is bad for some sector of the market, then the sporting organization that governs that sector will make the right decision. If it's a 50-50 good / bad split, expect there to be competing organizations with different rules, based on this pint --- if it really matters

The function of government is to establish general rules pertaining to rights-concepts like "property". The function of government is not to decide what is the best way to run a particular sport. Thus the government should not be concerned with sports per se, it should be concerned with rights, such as the right of a man to the product of his mind and labor. IP is an example of such a right, which it is the duty of government to protect.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The function of government is to establish general rules pertaining to rights-concepts like "property". The function of government is not to decide what is the best way to run a particular sport. Thus the government should not be concerned with sports per se, it should be concerned with rights, such as the right of a man to the product of his mind and labor. IP is an example of such a right, which it is the duty of government to protect.

We are agreed there, which is why this discussion is about establishing what is indeed properly "property" so that we can identify the proper rights. My statements on how the sporting technique patents would be bad for the sport were simply direct answers to your challenge to show that they would indeed be objectively bad for the sport, that's all.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Therefore, any A is any other A?

If this is what you mean to imply, let me explain to you a similar argument.

So a siberian husky type dog is the same as a rhodesian ridgeback dog? It makes no difference whatsoever how many different physical features are in the dog, dog is dog.

Therefore, any dog is any other dog.

The notion you advanced was that ideas qua abstractions can't be property because they don't have particular identities.

Are you familiar with the Objectivist theory of concept formation? Concepts are formed by omitting particularities of the referents of the concept, which is called measurement omission. The concept of a siberian husky type dog is formed from a group of actual dogs (concretes) by noting their similarities to each other and differences from other dogs, omitting all of the particular measurements of their size, coat, teeth, or whatever. Same for rhodesian ridgebacks. The concept dog is formed by omitting differences between siberian huskies and rhodesian ridgebacks, instead noting the similarities and differences between dogs and other types of animals.

A particular dog had an identity, the idea of a "siberian husky type dog" had an identity, the idea "dog" had an identity.

"A siberian husky type dog is not the same as a rhodesian ridgeback type dog", is exactly the same kind of statement as that "a dog is not a cat". Identity does not only apply to concretes only, but also to concepts.

The difference betwween THAT dog and A dog is omitted measurements. The difference between THAT gadget and A gadget is omitted measurements.

It is not the case that the concept of property can be applied to "THAT gadget", but not "A gadget" because "A gadget" somehow lacks the requisite kind of identity. The kind of identity required in property is "caused by man", or man-made. An abstraction of property such as a patented invention has that property attribute, it was not omitted.

edit- changed property to attribute

Edited by Grames
Link to post
Share on other sites
The notion you advanced was that ideas qua abstractions can't be property because they don't have particular identities.

That's not what I said. Reread what I wrote. I said that being the CAUSAL derivative of another person's work is a necessary precondition for being property.

I look at it this way. Suppose two people simultaneously create a house. Not just a house, but they both agree together that they are going to build a house, and they both work on the SAME house, and by same I am using the ostensive definition of same. Who gets to live there?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...