Our current policy on Patents can be found:
Commentary on patents:
* Richard Stallman: Patent Law is, At Best, Not Worth Keeping
Proposals for improving the patent system:
* Beth Noveck has done some good work on Peer-to-Patent, which is well worth a look. The idea is that rather than reviewing of patent applications being a closed process handled entirely by patent clerks, patents are examined collaboratively by an open network of experts in related fields.
Danyl Strype Wed 19 Mar 2014 4:02AM
I agree with what @andrewreitemeyer says, but I'm not sure this is on the topic of patents. If there isn't an active thread on privacy in the Policy subgroup, someone could start one.
Danyl Strype Fri 20 May 2016 4:28AM
In response to comments made by @robueberfeldt in the Genetic Engineering thread, I just found further evidence that drug patents are not required for the development of new medicines, in the 2003 book 'Who Owns Native Culture' by Michael F. Brown:
"A study published in 2001 by the organisation Public Citizen showed that publicly funded research continues to be a major contributor to the development of new pharmaceuticals, which are then patented by industry"
Danyl Strype Mon 23 May 2016 3:15AM
Beth Noveck has done some good work on Peer-to-Patent, which is well worth a look. The idea is that rather than reviewing of patent applications being a closed process handled entirely by patent clerks, patents are examined collaboratively by an open network of experts in related fields. Nobody can be an expert on everything, and patent clerks are no exception. Peer-to-patent takes the pressure off them, and takes away the temptation to just approve any application and let the courts sort it out, which creates a lot of legal uncertainty (submarine patents), and wastes a lot of the courts' time, which the public pays for (court sessions are expensive!).
Danyl Strype Mon 23 May 2016 7:36AM
Further to the debate on the merits of drug patents we had in the Genetic Engineering thread, I just stumbled across as ODT article, 'Brain Implants Treat Addiction', that provides an excellent example of the perverse incentives created when medical research is driven by patent-seeking. The article describes a device designed to be surgically implanted in a the brain, running software that interferes with the person's brain, with the goal of preventing people with chronic addictions from craving a fix. There is huge potential for abuse of implanted devices designed for mind control (literally).
There are a number of naturally occurring substances that are known to work as addiction interrupters. Ibogaine, a substance derived from an African plant, has already been approved as a prescription medicine under the NZ Medicines Act, and has been used in NZ to treat opiate addiction with high levels of success when used in a supervised clinical settings. It's pretty clear which is the best use of medical research resources. Plant-based medicines are cheap and easy to replicate (by growing plants), and don't require invasive surgery, or giving people remote access to other people's brains. But ibogaine is a plant, not an invention, and there is so much 'prior art' published about its medical use that it's unlikely to be patentable, so patent-driven research is not interested. Whereas the implanted device is definitely a patentable invention, so despite the fact there are better options, this is where addiction treatment research driven by patent-seeking is going to go.
[deactivated account] Mon 23 May 2016 2:17PM
While I remain uninterested in another controversial dispute on health, it would seem there is a choice between either the sort of thing which would have been grounds for diagnosis of paranoia about mind control, or a remote chance of fatality while trying to recover from addiction.
(It is rare, but amongst some schizophrenics to believe they have their senses tapped as in a truman-show life occurs amongst a few percent.)
The ironic thing I would probably state is that it may well be that this addiction control chip may just get someone to invent a kind of tin foil hat that works in reality :)
Either way, I think if I was in such a position of addiction, I think I'd choose to wean myself off slowly without resorting to either drastic measure, as both are unacceptably risky.
Mind-hacking for life or 1/300 chance of death.
Adam Bullen Wed 25 May 2016 11:29PM
One way to control the medical patents without removing patent protection from other inventions would be to have a policy that medicine and medical devices are simply not patentable.
Remove the profit motive from the entire medical industry and force non-profit status; all research be put into the public domain and accessible by all. Suddenly in the example given the plant based solution will be weighed against the implant on equal terms; Which gives the most benefit? and in which cases is the implant better then the plant extract and visa versa. Obviously the cost of the implant will be higher but what advantages does it give over the extract?
When the profit motive is removed these questions can be examined objectively and without bias. The likely outcome would be 95% of cases should be treated with the plant extract with psychological treatment to supplement and the 5% of cases requiring it should be treated with the expensive dangerous (relatively) implant.
Andrew Reitemeyer · Sun 9 Mar 2014 5:22PM
It would be nice to see policy referencing the New Zealand situation. We are not part of the US legal system (not yet) and our legal system is based on that of the UK.
The section on Corporate Respect for Privacy is woefully inadequate. In principle, personal data should belong to the individual. Privacy policies should be in plain English and users must be able to opt in to types of data reuse such as resale, data mining and surveillance - public and private. They should be able to opt out at any time and have all such data deleted from corporate databases,