THE PROBLEM WITH PATENTS

M anon1167 at nyx10.cs.du.edu
Fri Jan 5 13:56:03 EST 1996


In article <4chr2v$1pka at itssrv1.ucsf.edu>,
Bert Gold <bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu> wrote:
>
>As a result, individuals like Carruthers, who invented NYLON for
>DuPont, gained little recognition, and perhaps have often become exasperated
>and depressed with their lives:  Carruthers, for instance, committed
>suicide.
>

<  Snip  >

>So, what hath we wrought:  A world in which, occasionally, largely through
>a toss of the dice, individuals may reap enormous benefits from their
>inventions (Wozniak and Jobs, Boyer and Cohen and Stanford and U.Cal.
>come to mind) and others, largely through no fault of their own,
>do not.  We don't know their names; but there are thousands of
>patents granted each year, to corporations, largely to PREVENT
>PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES OF COMPETITORS FROM COMING TO MARKET
>whose inventors, unlike the intentions of the founding fathers,
>go penniless into that good night.
>
>Bert Gold, Ph.D.
>San Francisco
>
>
>


Well, no one is being forced to work for a compnay.  An "inventor" goes 
to work for DuPont (or wherever) knowing that they are a "hired brain", 
and that the fruits of their labors are going to go largely to the 
company.  If they think that their ideas are really great, there is 
nothing stopping them from forming their own company.  Which is what Jobs 
and Wozniak did, and they made a lot of money.  Some people won't make a 
lot of money, and 
their businiesses will go broke.  But I'm not sure I understand the point 
of complaining about individuals' not profiting directly from corporate 
research.  Surely they must know that that is what is going to happen 
when they sign on.

It seems to me that your concern has more to do with the nature of labor, 
than the nature of intellectual property rights.  A laborerworking on an 
auto assembly line produces something of value for the auto company.  In 
return, they are paid a salary.  But the salary must be less than the 
value that they add to the company, or there would not be  a profit.  The 
excess money is distributed among those who own the company.  I'm not 
saying that this is a great system.  But the "intellectual" laborer adds 
value and recieves a salary in the same way as the assembly line laborer.






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