Re: [rp-ml] Z-corp, "open-sourcing" & "crowd-sourcing"

From: G. Sachs <>
Date: Fri Nov 25 2011 - 03:18:39 EET

Exactly! You seem to understand how IP rights are granted (and protected) in the U.S. The pharmaceutical companies do this all the time using the results of taxpayer funded university research. Many new "blockbuster drugs" were actually developed in universities, but since these universities can't commercialize and market these drugs, the drug companies have been given wide latitude to patent this research and then develop their drugs under patent protection. There are moves under way to try and stop this practice (since taxpayers have already paid for most of the work) but Congress has been slow to move on it and the pharmaceutical companies, not surprisingly, are fighting any such changes, tooth and nail! Up to 30% of all patents issued in the U.S. are found to be at least partially invalid when pursued through the courts - but that can easily cost over $1M to do, so patents aren't challenged in court all that often. Companies and individuals usually settle (confidentially) out of court (99% of the time) and many times even the most flawed patents remain "in force" when they do (would YOU want to spend $1M+ trying to defeat an issued patent?). In my opinion, up to 60% of all patents granted today are at least partially invalid, but that doesn't stop the patent office (and attorneys) from continuing to crank them out (since that's how they make their money). And, as to prior art - that's a complete joke! I can easily get a patent on almost anything I want and could probably successfully defend the majority of those, even when faced with any kind of prior art, unless it is identical (I have studied this 'art' for over 20 years and it's all comes down to the logic and phrasing of the claims). European patent law is more restrictive and the new changes to U.S. patent law will also make it slightly harder to claim novelty, if there is good evidence to be found in the public domain, but again, it all comes down to how cleverly a patent is drafted and it really doesn't take much to claim novelty. Those who proceed to innovate in the 21st century, without applying for patent protection will, unfortunately, NOT be rewarded for their efforts and altruism - that I can assure you. We are leaving the age of mas manufacture and entering the age of knowledge and information exchange. IP will become a major form of currency, in and of itself. The Chinese, among others (not to just pick on them), will be only too happy to accept that currency - whether freely given, or not. G.S. ________________________________ From: I.T. Daniher <> To: Jeremy Pullin <> Cc: G. Sachs <>; Sent: Thu, November 24, 2011 10:50:20 AM Subject: Re: [rp-ml] Z-corp, "open-sourcing" & "crowd-sourcing" As of the ratification of the America INVENTS act, prior art factors very little into the granting of a patent. We in the US have moved from "first to invent" to "first to file." If BP finds something patentable in their newly collected ideas, and submits an application before anyone else, they're legally entitled to the IP. On Thu, Nov 24, 2011 at 05:20, Jeremy Pullin <> wrote: I’m not as familiar with patent laws in the US as I am with those in the UK and Europe but the idea of but the theory of BP and others stockpiling crowd sourced ideas for their own evil ends sounds a little conspiracy theorist to me. The problem with attempting to farm IP in this way lies in ‘Prior art’. Prior art which also known as ‘state of the art’ or ‘background art’ refers to any information which has been made available to the public before a date that could be relevant to a patent's claims of originality. Basically, if an invention has been described in prior art, a patent on that invention is not valid. To establish the validity of a patent application, the patent offices explore the prior art that existed before the invention occurred (in the US) or before the application was filed (in the rest of the world). Obviously there is no way that BP could track down the hundreds of thousands of people that submitted ideas and sign them all up non disclosure agreements. If the ideas were submitted onto discussion forums and publicly accessible web portals at the time then that constitutes prior art and even if BP restricted access to them after the oil spill had been dealt with, there is still no way that any patents they attempted to file would be valid. If BP (or others) were to be awarded a patent due to no prior art showing up on the initial ‘Novelty search’ the awarded patent could still then be ruled invalid if prior art was found during a subsequent ‘validity search’. >For the reasons above the scenario described where open source and crowd >sourced’free offerings get co-oped by large commercial interests, which can >then go on to acquire patents on things they didn't even invent and then >completely control them’ cannot happen.Once something has gone ‘open source’ >such as RepRap or Arduino it cannot be seized upon by anyone and retrospectively >patented. Even if it is then the patent can be retrospectively ruled as being >invalid. Not even Adrian Bowyer could get a valid patent on the RepRap now even >though he is widely and rightly recognized as the father of the platform. I hope >that puts your mind at rest a bit about open source. >Regards >Jeremy. > > >
Received on Fri Nov 25 03:23:44 2011

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