Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Patents are the 18th century equivalent of open source
Posted:10/22/1999; 5:20:10 PM
Topic:Jeff Bezos' Patent
Msg #:12276 (In response to 12267)
Prev/Next:12275 / 12279

We were just having this discussion on the WELL.

The original justification for patents is all very nice in theory, but what evidence is there that patents actually benefit the public in practice? Do you or anyone you know read patents to learn something new? Are there any technical journals that report the best ideas from patents to a wider audience? I don't think there are, which suggests that the patent process isn't really doing much for the people who theoretically might be interested in what's published there.

I'm also skeptical that there are important ideas that would be lost without patents. Have you ever noticed how often several different companies appear at once with the same idea? And lots of scientific discoveries are made nearly simultaneously by different people. It seems to me that once the time for an idea has come, it will occur to more than one person.

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