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Patent legislation is anti-capitalist
Economics

dkturner
Jul 17, 2010
0 votes
2 debaters


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0
Yes


dkturner
Jul 17, 2010
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Rebuttal
Obama: "Our single greatest asset is the innovation and the ingenuity... but it's only a competitive advantage if our companies know that someone else can't just steal that idea and duplicate it with cheaper inputs and labor."

In a free market, cheaper inputs and labor win. Restrictions on trade by patents impede the operation of the free market, and are therefore anti-capitalist.

 
dkturner
Jul 19, 2010
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Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thales Show

Sure it is. But by means of legally restricting free trade? How about allowing the discoverer to keep the formula a secret, and to sue those who reverse-engineer it in violation of their terms of use?

 
dkturner
Jul 19, 2010
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Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thales Show

To make my point a little clearer, I see a big difference between literally stealing the idea (as in reverse engineering or industrial espionage) and independently developing a competing product. So in your example, if a second lab were to also invest time and effort into developing a cancer cure, they should be allowed to profit too.

 
dkturner
Jul 20, 2010
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Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thales Show

Just one point: Do you think that clogging up the patents office is better than clogging up the courts? The status quo is that most patents aren't examined too closely, creating a difficult legal situation when ill-advised patents are enforced. Better to decide after the fact?

(By the way - I see a clear flaw in the consequences of my argument above, and if you find it, I'll admit defeat outright ;-). Not that I was particularly sold on defending the "Yes" position to begin with - it's somewhat inconsistent with the philosophy I've expressed in other debates.)

 
dkturner
Jul 21, 2010
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Rebuttal to: thales Show

So you claim that there's a fundamental difference between "the jerk who stole my TV" and "the jerk who stole my cancer-cure formula"?

Those weren't the arguments I was looking for ;-).

 
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No


thales
Jul 17, 2010
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Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: dkturner Show

But neither labor nor trade are really the issue when it comes to patents. Any lab can manufacture a pill that cures cancer; any advertising agency can package and sell it. The value comes in well before then, and when decades'-worth of labor can be reverse-engineered within weeks, isn't it incumbent upon us to reward innovation over coat-tail-riding?

 
thales
Jul 20, 2010
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Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: dkturner Show

So then let's talk enforcement. Not every brilliant idea is also difficult to reverse-engineer...drugs, for example, must list their active ingredients right on the label. If it turned out that vitamins cured male pattern baldness, whoever spent twenty years in his basement working out the exact dosage would be screwed. No espionage required; it's there for all to see. And mechanical inventions have workings that can be seen, and business processes...actually, let's leave out business process patents. Those are lame.

My point is this: it's almost impossible to prove how Person B arrived at Person A's idea after the fact. There may be some small variations between the two, but that could either mean independent development or a cleverer forger. Should we force people to save receipts from their decades of research? Film themselves the whole time? Clog up the courts with "You can see how alike/different my product is!" until we spend every waking moment in jury duty?

Ultimately, patent law creates a reasonably similar effect with much less drama. And there's nothing "anti-capitalist" about taking a simplified route to ensure that the theft of property (intellectual as much as physical) is not rewarded on the free market.

 
thales
Jul 21, 2010
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Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: dkturner Show

Which of the several flaws would you like? That your version would be saying: "It's between you and the homeowner if you break and enter or not, but if we catch you fencing their stolen TV we'll take it away"? That after the fact, harm is already done? That imperfect enforcement argues against both modes of regulation? That avoiding the "difficult" is not, in and of itself, an ideal?

And yes, I do think that clogging up the patent office is preferable to clogging up the courts. That's why the patent office is there. The courts are there to nail the jerk who broke in and stole my TV, know what I mean?

It doesn't matter, really: I take tacit admissions as cheerfully as overt ones. :-)

 
thales
Jul 21, 2010
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Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: dkturner Show

I was actually claiming that there was a fundamental similarity, but enough of a difference that the two crimes should be handled differently.

Of course, the similarity is enough of a stretch that you could be pointing out that stealing a TV is more like stealing one patient's cancer meds, while stealing the cancer-cure formula is more akin to copying someone's TV-manufacturing plant down to the last switch and bulb, pressing the big button marked "Start," and hoping for the best. Come on: I'll write your arguments, and you can write mine. :-)

 


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