The Patent System as a Theft System

(This is a somewhat condensed version of the original sci-fi post, here.)

As discussed by North in Patents and Inventors: A Case Study, the bureaucratic patent system is a theft system: you place your invention in a catalogue, and major corporations steal your ideas. The inventor does not have the money to pay for the lawyers and their time to fight the big boys in the courts, typically under laws the big boys wrote and the politicians rubber-stamped.

Sounds like a smooth Vilani move to me. That Traveller race loves their bureaucracies, love their major top-down controlling corporations and govt/business partnerships, and has no love for lone individuals causing trouble and disrupting settled relationships.

Technological progress is made mainly through [small inventors and tinkerers]. Scientific breakthroughs are rare. Progress is mainly by way of small developments. Tinkerers make minor adjustments on established principles. The great cornucopia of inventions began in the late 18th century when inventors in North America and Great Britain began to improvise. The idea that science leads to great inventions is a myth. That did not begin as a process until Siemens and other German chemical companies began to use scientific principles to develop products. That was in the late 19th century.

Tinkerers have changed the economic world — people like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. They were not scientists in the sense of applying theoretical principles to specific applications. They were tinkerers.

North in Patents and Inventors: A Case Study

There are ways around the system, involving Creative Commons and trademarks. The key idea is to give away the technical specs, but sell what’s inside the inventor’s head, the way to leverage those specs for maximum impact. The article provides several educational examples on how to do this.

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