Originally Posted by ghostface147
New law. You create a patent, it just be used in a working product made by you (or a hardware partner) within 3-5 years. If you can't do it, it is automatically licensed at a fair rate (I don't know what fair would be).
That's not completely unreasonable for some industries (like computers), but is VERY unreasonable for others. For example, it can take more than 10 years for a pharmaceutical product to come to market. So, if your rule became law, there would be no pharmaceutical patents.
There's another problem with your rule. If you invent something that's a modest improvement over existing products and is based on well-established technology, it's not hard to bring it to market in 3-5 years. OTOH, truly revolutionary products can take a lot more than that. Someone who makes a major breakthrough which opens up lots of opportunities can easily spend 5 years (or more) to bring it to market.
Another problem involves limited markets. What if you invent something that's only useful to one (or a very small number) of companies? They can simply refuse to talk to you, knowing that in 3-5 years, they can use the technology whether you want them to or not.
Finally, there's the simple justice issue. Under US law (and most country's laws), a patent is treated as personal property. You invent something and you own the invention - and are free to do whatever you want with it. Let's say that you invent something and then decide that you can't live with the moral implications and therefore decide not to sell it. Your rule basically says that personal property is only yours until the government wants to give it to someone else.
It's a good thought, and some of those problems could be resolved, but patent issues are very complex and not likely to have simple solutions.
Originally Posted by Gatorguy
I've never given up on coming up with new ideas, at least new for me, with no worries about whether I might be able to patents the methods (I can't patent the ideas). My incentive? To make money,
the same incentive that Apple or Cisco or Joe's plumbing has. Without software patents the incentives for new ideas would still be there.
So why not abolish all patents? After all, there's still an incentive to invent stuff, according to you.
The problem is that your incentive to invent stuff is immensely reduced if people can copy it without permission. Let's take two companies of similar size and similar operations.
Company A sells $100 M of product at 40% gross margin, leaving $60 M in margin. They have operating expenses (sales, marketing, admin, etc) of $50 M. Their net income is $10 M. They don't do R&D because they simply copy whatever Company B does.
Company B sells $100 M of product at 40% gross margin, leaving $60 M in margin. They have operating expenses (sales, marketing, admin, etc) of $50 M. However, Company B also invests heavily in R&D and spends about 3% of revenues on R&D. That leaves them with net income of only $7 M.
So, in your scenario, the company which invents things earns less than the company which simply copies. So where's the incentive?
I guess that explains why you're such a big Samsung fan.