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Is current patent process counterproductive to xprize goals?

Posted by: Electrolyte - Wed Jul 21, 2004 8:12 am
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Is current patent process counterproductive to xprize goals? 
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Post Is current patent process counterproductive to xprize goals?   Posted on: Wed Jul 21, 2004 8:12 am
Just to give you all a little background, I designed an invention not too long ago, and had an interesting conversation with an uncle of mine who is also an inventor/businessman on the subject of patents. According to him, my invention was not patentable due to the patent process. This is because my product was similar in certain technical aspects to other products on the market.
While these intricacies of the world of patents caused me to abandon hope of what would have been a profitable business, it also speaks to a larger problem. A problem that may also face the xprize teams, although I hope not.
Namely, it may stifle creative innovation of existing patented technologies due to there not being money in it, because the innovative company may not be able to also get a patent.

Wouldn't it be better for all xprize teams and researching companies to sign an accord, a collaboration, to share information and technologies in an effort to get spaceship technologies to a point where they will start bringing in financial returns for all involved parties?


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Post Re: Is current patent process counterproductive to xprize go   Posted on: Thu Jul 22, 2004 5:28 pm
Electrolyte wrote:
Wouldn't it be better for all xprize teams and researching companies to sign an accord, a collaboration, to share information and technologies in an effort to get spaceship technologies to a point where they will start bringing in financial returns for all involved parties?


We're not communists, by dammit! The only successful way to build an economy is through competition, and a communistic "equal sharing of information" does not engender this. Which, I might add, is impossible: nobody will share equally. They'll all retain their own secrets. Capitalism is the only way to go, and succeed.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:48 pm
Okay, well maybe I was being a bit uptopian there and not thinking realistically.
But patent laws that put a chokehold on innovation in exchange for profits and possible monopolies for the patent-holding companies isn't the way to go either.

Besides, it's not communism. It's opensource. And it worked great for Linux. :lol:


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:51 pm
John Carmak has openly said that he is not patenting any of Armadillo's space technologies. In fact the opposite is true. I doubt Rutan is bothering with patents either, but then his program has been much more secretive. The barriers to entry in this business are pretty dang high, so patents are really an uneccessary administrative burden.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 15, 2004 9:41 pm
First, as long as you have proof that you are first with an idea, you have nothing to wory about. An open development process like Carmack tends to prevent others from staking a claim because it everything you publish can be used as prior art.

So, really, by not filing a patent, Carmack is doing something for the space community, most notably the hobyist space community, except that there's no administration or real cooperation required.

Second, most of the useful research has expired patents already. Stuff left over from the sixties and seventies and never actually used.

Third, most of the hard part about making any sort of space vehicle is making it at all, not finishing the ideas. If you are using a turbopump, making it such that there are no leaks. Combustion stability. Things like that. The big brilliant idea behind Armadillo is the mixed monoprop, which IIRC was already invented. That was a few weeks of thinking when Carmack realized that nobody wanted to sell him 90% peroxide. Everything else has been stability programming and pidly details like how to have the rocket fire reliably, not a chain of brilliant patentable inventions.

The whole point of the patent system is not to allow people to have a monopoly on an idea. The point of the patent system was to, in exchange for a limited time monopoly, encourage folks to actually publish their inventions.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 15, 2004 11:50 pm
That's absolutely fascinating. I didn't know that. I'm glad to see that this field is not hampered by those limiting functions of businesses that prevail in the rest of the modern business world.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 16, 2004 6:12 am
To add something to wireheads post - when I finished my studies of Economics in 1985 patent systems have been discussed under aspect of market competition. Theoretical researches had rised new results forcing the patents to be put in question.

The idea of patents was as wirehead is describing - the purpose was to guarantee the inventor the profit of having the idea, the property right on his work of inventing something.

But in the mid-eighties there had rised discussions concerning barriers to new entry reducing competition - and patents are to be considered as such barriers to competition. But competition is wanted - so patents are to be critisized. It's a quite difficult topic - in short: There are conditions requiring a patent system and there are other conditions where a patent systems are bad.



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