Analysis on balance: Standardisation and Patents

Alex Hudson home at
Wed Dec 3 08:42:34 UTC 2008

MJ Ray wrote:
> simo <simo.sorce at> wrote:
>> If there is no investment what are you rewarding ? [...]
>> The patent system should reward risk takers that actually made the
>> investment, because if you don't, in the long term you will get no
>> investments.
> Aren't patents claimed to reward "the true and first inventor"?
> (Statute of Monopolies, 1624, England)

Well, at that time yes - I'm not sure that really survives to this 
point. The economy in which we live right now is completely different to 
the economy of 1624, and patents are simply an economic measure. I'm not 
sure it's possible to argue what patent policy should be now on the 
basis of why they were bought in a few hundred years ago; policy has 
moved on an awful lot since then.

> If they currently reward *investors* rather than inventors, that is
> yet another illustration of the corruption and perversion of software
> patents.

I think there are a couple of issues there. If you look at a "modern" 
patent, they tend to have a few inventors - say, three - and are 
assigned to the business who employs them. Indeed, employment law is 
setup such that discoveries/creations that are generated during the 
course of employment belong to the employer (and this is patents in 
general, not software patents).

In a way, this is another economic reality. In the 17th century, people 
tended to work for themselves an awful lot more, people were highly 
localised and immobile, and they traded directly in goods much more. 
These days, it's a rare person who does those things.



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