THE PROBLEM WITH PATENTS

Sami Kohan skohan at ucla.edu
Thu Jan 11 03:12:11 EST 1996


> When the founding fathers included a mandate to award patents
> in the Constitution, they did so in the recognition that rewarding
> inventors with a 'goverment sanctioned' monopoly would spur
> invention AND promote economic well being in our nascent nation


> 
> But the original concept of the patent, as a REWARD to the inventor
> became somehow deeply lost in the process.

The patent is meant to reward those who took risks. Clearly, the investor
who put up the capital for a venture is deserving of much of the reward.
As mentioned previously you are not required to work for any particular
company and you are free to negioate any contract you wish. However the
labor market is skewed towards managament simply because there isn't a
shortage of good scientist out there. If an employer feels that if he
doesn't hire you there is someone else around the corner he isn't going to
give in to your demands. If however, you are proven commodity that is
significantly above average, I think you would have an easier time
negotiating contracts. The flip side of this whole arguement would be if
you gave significantly more to the scientist who made the discovories, but
this would make science a much less profitable venture to capital markets,
thereby drying up already scarce capital for new biotech venture and
hurting employment prospects even further. Obviously, some sort of medium
needs to be reached.  I know of no other system other than free-markets
which can drive this.



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