Thoughts on copyright questions as 3D printing comes of age

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5 Responses

  1. Anónima says:

    [Erik] The rationale used to be: if inventors would not have the profit driven incentive, these inventions would not be created

    [Anónima] That’s only part of it. The other main reason is that some people tend to keep their knowledge secret so patents are about giving an incentive to make knowledge publicly avalaible.

    Thanks to the patent system, the inventor has a strong incentive to give a complete description of the invention so every body can learn and experiment (non commercial use) and make improuvments.

    It’s important to remember that patent documents are avalaible for free unlike some scientific papers 😉

  2. Anónima says:

    [Erik] Nowadays, preserving these freedoms becomes more important to stimulate innovation than to restrict the flow of knowledge in favor of exclusive right holders.

    [Anónima] Patents don’t restrict the flow of knowledge: there are free easy to consult documents.

    http://www.epo.org/searching/free/espacenet.html

    Espacenet offers free access to more than 70 million patent documents worldwide, containing information about inventions and technical developments from 1836 to today.

    [Erik] Those who sit on their knowledge in order to exploit it, will never improve it as fast as those who share, interact and mingle their knowledge with others.

    [Anónima] That could very well be true. But if the improuvment implies an inventive step, then there is not a problem of patent infringment unless you still need to use the original invention.

    In that case you can get a fair deal of cross patents.

    Patents protect against copying not against worthwile improuvments.

  3. Erik says:

    [Anónima] Patents don’t restrict the flow of knowledge: there are free easy to consult documents.

    I know more than a few companies that have a policy not to read others’ patents, because being in the knowing make the infringement worse. There’s a reason for this: many ideas are invented several times, independently. While the first person can claim the rights to the invention that the others have likewise created independently, the others are infringing when they utilize their own invention. Of course it makes sense that their sanctions are reduced when they didn’t know about it. It’s awkward enough that they can get punished for being inventive. But it’s hard to prove that they didn’t just copy the invention because of the patent. This is another dilemma that patents create.
    Also, I consider reading patents that are still valid as similar as learning to use a very expensive software tool, that you could never afford. This means that you’ll force yourself to relearn another package or be infringing when the trial period expires.
    I don’t think that the average garage based inventor reads patents in order to be able to invent.
    [Anónima] Espacenet offers free access to more than 70 million patent documents worldwide, containing information about inventions and technical developments from 1836 to today.

    I think that it’s great that there are so many old patents available, but the extreme amounts of patenting nowadays can hardly be justified, even if they are published, this knowledge contains serious risks when you adopt it.

    [Anónima] That could very well be true [That those who interact, develop their knowledge faster]. But if the improuvment implies an inventive step, then there is not a problem of patent infringment unless you still need to use the original invention.

    We’ll you can still infringe claims that are upheld in court. And you don’t know this in advance, so the risk keeps people and businesses out of competing in a certain innovative market because of bigger players that can afford to file, or worse, acquire patents. This especially keeps out smaller new entrants in a market. We all know that this is a bad thing for the evolution of an industry and eventually for the consumer.

    [Anónima] … Patents protect against copying not against worthwile improuvments.
    For one I think that the word ‘protect’ is very inaccurate. Restrict is more appropriate.

  4. Erik says:

    Gerry Barnett recently also wrote an interesting blog post on this subject:
    http://rtei.org/blog/2011/04/26/ip-in-3d-printing-2/