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You could start by backing up the statements patents provided the incentive to innovate and $spend on R&D in America, and and now free for all to copy and especially Without patents, smart investors will start to look at where they can most cheaply copy American innovations.

It would be especally impressive if you could show that all these putative benefits were, in fact, a net gain over all the very tangible downsides of this idea monopoly casino that is our patent system.




economies of countries with patent rights exceed economies without patents.

And at the top is the U.S.A. with strongest patent rights.

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Well if you look at regular GDP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nom... , China is right there at #2. They are hardly known for their strong patent enforcement. To the contrary, they're known for "lax IP" and as a place where anyone can start a factory and start making almost anything for export. They're said to be growing faster than the US too, probably in no small part because it's easier to make things there.

If you look at per-captia GDP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP... instead, the US is way down at #8, behind Luxembourg, Qatar, Macau, Norway, Singapore, Kuwait, Brunei, Hong Kong, and Switzerland. How many of those countries are known for having "strong patent rights" and $B lawsuits and sales injuctions by patent holders against vendors?

Hmm, looks instead like most of those are countries known for their ability to produce things of value and export them to other countries such as the US.

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Forget about all of that, you're just feeding the troll. The troll's premise is that correlation is causation, i.e. that large economies generally have patent systems and therefore that patent systems cause or are necessary to maintain large economies.

This logic leads to the conclusion that an ostentatious capitol building is necessary for economic prosperity, because most major economies have an ostentatious capital building. It's pure rubbish.

Try asking it to prove that the economic prosperity is caused by the patent system rather than merely correlated.

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I see, "troll" because I don't conform to your opinion. What is this, slashdot?

> Try asking it to prove that the economic prosperity is caused by the patent system rather than merely correlated.

About as provable as the opposite.

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>I see, "troll" because I don't conform to your opinion.

No, "troll" because you're trolling. Make an argument that isn't a textbook logical fallacy.

>About as provable as the opposite.

Are you arguing semantics? Absolute proof of anything is impossible? The thing to be proven is insufficiently specified, e.g. whether limited to software patents or to historically vs. in today's economy? That sort of thing? That's extremely pedantic, but I suppose it's technically correct. (The best kind of correct, naturally.)

So let's say not proof, just good reasoning supporting the position. Here, I'll start.

In the software industry where every individual with a PC and a compiler is a market participant, there are thousands of times more players than there are in most other patent-intensive industries, which vastly increases the cost of the patent system because the cost of clearing and licensing each invention against each patent is O(n^2) in the number of inventions. This number is so large in a market with tens or hundreds of thousands of participants that actually doing the clearances and licensing becomes an impossibility in practice due solely to transaction costs, i.e. the cost of each and every inventor tracking down and negotiating with each and every other inventor holding a potentially relevant software patent.

Moreover, as a result of the practical impossibility of actually doing that many clearances, it creates an environment in which everyone is potentially infringing everything. In such an environment, the patent system is inherently not providing the expected incentive to inventors, because there are too many infringers infringing too many patents to even so much as evaluate all of the possible infringement, much less negotiate licenses or litigate it, resulting in no license fees (or monopoly rents through the ability to exclude) from the large majority of infringers.

In addition to that, because patents are legally required to be licensed but software cannot rigorously and thoroughly be determined to be non-infringing in any cost-effective manner, an enormous amount of uncertainty about what patents a product may infringe overhangs the prospective market participants, which reduces the amount of funding available for new R&D because prospective investors will only provide funding if the expected returns exceed the risk created by software patents. Worse, because of the enormous amount of de jure infringement which is de facto business as usual, patent trolls with submarine patents can do an enormous amount of damage to anyone who experiences market success, and there is nothing the victim can do to prevent it because of the aforementioned practical impossibility of doing all the necessary patent clearances. This is worse than a normal risk because it occurs exactly to those investments which would otherwise have succeeded, providing an even more powerful disincentive to invest in new product development. The associated litigation creates a further deadweight loss on the economy because not only are those resources not being allocated to research, they're actively being misallocated to wasteful litigation and transaction costs.

On top of all of that, the reverse can occur and results in a potentially even larger harm: Rather than a successful company being sued by a non-practicing troll, the successful company can sue anyone who actually makes a product, because they hold enough patents that any nontrivial software infringes some of them. Between large companies this power cancels out, but when the relationship is asymmetric it becomes a club for incumbents to use against newcomers. Anyone who enters an established market segment is subject to suit by incumbents, which reduces the incentive for non-incumbents to innovate, because the cost of the inevitable litigation has to be factored in. Where this effect is sufficiently strong, it can destroy innovation entirely in specific submarkets, because no newcomers enter for fear of incumbents with patents and no incumbents innovate for lack of competition from newcomers.

So there you go. Let's hear your rebuttal.

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> What is this, slashdot?

Ouch! Now that's hitting below the belt.

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China's relative recent rise is predicated on copying - not innovating. As patent rights are weakened, investors are increasingly reluctant to invest in $costly American R&D that can just be copied at a fraction of the R&D $cost.

Pick your poison: compete with China on lowest cost vs. high end jobs innovating. Except the later affords a more affluent lifestyle while the former require suicide nets in their buildings: http://i.imgur.com/JwBDR.jpg

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Right, so when China opens a textiles sweatshop using prison labor, a semiconductor factory, or Apple contracts with Foxconn to manufacture iPhones, it's because the China is copying American R&D.

> Pick your poison

Ah yes, I was wondering when you were going to get around to the false dichotomy.

> suicide nets

Wow you really are a desperate troll. Unfortunately for you, the suicide rate in the US and Japan is far higher than at Foxconn. Last I ran the numbers, Foxconn employees had the suicide rate of a Carribean island.

I guess that is something China is copying from the US and Japan: http://www.google.com/search?q=suicide+barrier

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"Last I ran the numbers, Foxconn employees had the suicide rate of a Carribean island.". Sorry, you're making a common comparison fallacy that I used to make as well. The Foxconn employee suicide rate is for employees committing suicide specifically at the factory itself. To make an equivalent comparison, you can't compare against a whole Caribbean island, you'd have to compare with a specific sugar plantation. The fact that these employees specifically chose to end their lives at their employer's offices/factories is something to consider.

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I'm certainly open to the idea that the rate is being systematically underreported, but the article I read suggested that most of these employees lived in dormitory-style housing on the factory premises.

For example: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/29/us-apple-foxconn-i... NEW DORMS ... Foxconn committed to building new housing to alleviate situations where multiple workers were squeezed into dorm rooms that seem inhumane by Western standards.

And http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57527579-37/foxconn-confir... Foxconn, which has 1.2 million employees in China, has come under scrutiny in the past few years amid reports of employees committing suicide at company facilities. The company has also been accused of employing underage laborers, providing poor living conditions at its dormitory housing, and overworking employees.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn_suicides The suicide rate at Foxconn during the suicide spate remained lower than that of the general Chinese population[8] as well as all 50 states in the United States.[9]

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Correct, so using your statement that "most of these employees lived on factory premises", the equivalent comparisons could be how many college students commit suicide in their dorm rooms, or how many google employees commit suicide on campus. Those would be valid comparisons whereas comparing with a country, a region would be a misleading comparison.

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The China example is some terrible reasoning and also doesn't really play into your narrative. China is growing faster because 1) it's sacrificing lots of things Americans are too rich to be willing to sacrifice for the sake of growth; 2) it's in a much earlier phase of development and thus capturing low hanging fruit. Re: innovation, the Chinese aren't known for strong patent enforcement, but they're also not known for innovation either. They have lax IP enforcement because their technology sector depends on copying technology from the US. Indeed, China has been stepping up IP enforcement as of late, which has been correlated with an increased willingness of American companies to invest in China. As China develops, it has been hiring American legal experts to help them develop a sophisticated, American-style legal system, because that helps attract foreign investment. The facts don't fit your narrative and indeed suggest the opposite one.

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> The China example is some terrible reasoning and also doesn't really play into your narrative.

Admittedly, I did not set out to make a coherent narrative. I set out to probe this troll to see if, by some wild chance, he really had any points of merit. He pulled the 'echo chamber' line and I felt obligated to reconsider my assumptions. He put forward a halfway-falsifiable hypothesis and I looked up the relevant facts on Wikipedia.

> China is growing faster because 1) it's sacrificing lots of things Americans are too rich to be willing to sacrifice for the sake of growth; 2) it's in a much earlier phase of development and thus capturing low hanging fruit.

Sure. But you don't dispute that "China is hardly known for their strong patent enforcement", right?

> Re: innovation, the Chinese aren't known for strong patent enforcement, but they're also not known for innovation either. They have lax IP enforcement because their technology sector depends on copying technology from the US.

I've heard that all before. 30+ years ago, about Japan.

> Indeed, China has been stepping up IP enforcement as of late,

of late

> which has been correlated with an increased willingness of American companies to invest in China.

Sources, please.

> As China develops, it has been hiring American legal experts to help them develop a sophisticated, American-style legal system,

Suckers! No, I seriously doubt the Chinese are going to go that route in the long term. They believe in cash, exporting, are extremely skeptical of this Western "intellectual property" BS, and show no desire to trust their business to any NIH legal system.

Sorry, the way a formerly-great company like Sony could fall in with the lawyer crowd and go from making the coolest highest-value products you could buy to being an IP-focused company suing their file-sharing customers, suing enthusiasts like Geohot, and getting pwned by Anonymous made me feel a little sorry for them.

> because that helps attract foreign investment. The facts don't fit your narrative

Again, my sole purpose here was to examine the "at the top is the U.S.A. with strongest patent rights" claim of causation.

> and indeed suggest the opposite one.

I don't see anything you've said which supports that.

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China's idea of stepping up IP enforcement is case-by-case. Read: however it benefits the Chinese company vs the foreigner.

Also useful to note their increase is mainly quantity. Superficial.

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I kind of agreed with your first post; patents mean that the inventor will share with the world how to make the invention. (although, i am generally anti-patent for several reasons; much too great scope and time-length especially for the technical world).

But you really lost me here with your rookie 'causation Vs correlation' point. Alternative thesis; powerful corporations (which occur in rich nations) have more government sway to enable protectionism.

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You also might ask: How did the US get to the top in the first place? It was not exactly known for respecting English and German patents in the 19th century...

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WWII baby. The US blackmailed the UK out of its patents (in return for assistance) and the US basically took all of Germany's IP as payment. I'll get modded to hell for that - but it had to be said.

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I don't think you have to invoke any legal trickery or belief in the power of "Intellectual Property": in 1945 the US was, more or less, the only large industrialized capitalist nation that hadn't been bombed to bits.

UK, Germany, and Japan were still stacking their buildings' bricks back on top of each other while the US was figuring out what to do with its absurd postwar excess manufacturing capacity.

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sure, and now China is repeating history.

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Out.

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