The Wheel Gets Reinvented

TheWheelGetsReinvented for a number of reasons.

Some of these include the following cases and are described/discussed in its own section later in the page.

Temporary note: This page was created to enlarge and replace the original page called SomeoneHadTheSameIdeaYouDid. The single link page was found while looking for material related to ownership of material written here on C2 , so I thought if scope can be enlarged then there will be opportunities for weaving the material to the rest of c2 material. -- dl


Case 1: Lack of awareness SomeoneHadTheSameIdeaYouDid

And created this.

If they did, hope you find it! Else you end up going further just as well. (Perhaps just as they did)

Then again, if they did have the same idea, at least some people haven't heard of it; after all, you sure didn't. There's probably room for you.

Who says every idea has to be a 'publishable' idea?

apparently great minds think alike [And fools seldom differ....]

[Err...Leibnitz and Newton? One taking twenty years, the other one an afternoon?]

Does anyone else have the idea to delete this page, or is it just me?

It must be you, 'cause it ain't me. This reminds me of the problem that occurs when two people come up with the same idea and end up fighting over who gets the patent, or better yet: the fact that someone could invent something that's already been invented. If that person who has invented that already-invented 'something' has never even seen the already-invented something, is that inventor really infringing upon the intellectual rights of whomever invented the first thing?

Okay, let's say I've just 'invented' a new kind of straw. It sort of twists around and it's colorful and neat and all that. I figure I've got something really cool here, so I apply for a patent and already have it out on the market. All of a sudden I'm being sued by the makers of Crazy Straw. "But I've never even seen a Crazy Straw before! Why am I being sued? This isn't fair!" I've truly invented something new: I've never seen it before, I didn't steal the Secret Formula, I'm not reselling their product with my own label... in such a case, just what are the repercussions? Are they really logical?

The philosophy "ignorance of the law is no excuse" is flawed. It assumes guilt where no guilt may be.

One would think that there'd be a choice between a flawed system and an incomplete system.

Do you have a suggestion in mind? I'm not sure what you're driving at.

"I bet you really did know about Crazy Straw and copied it." Oh, yeah? Well, prove it!

That was an example of a valid response and one that /would/ matter in a US court. In the US the prosecution must prove its claims and one claim that would be unavoidable to penalties on my part (if I were the guy with the 'new' Crazy Straw) is the fact that yes, my straw is a copy of their straw and it isn't different enough to be a new device, leaving me with the necessity of removing my straws from the market and paying a restitution to the original Crazy Straw patent holder.

That's the problem with patents in the US and most of the patent (or similar)-wielding world: there isn't an allowed case of 'innocent rediscovery and capitalism' or 'simultaneous patenting'. It's either your's or someone else's and damn you if you stepped on the other guy's patent.

It's called, "they got there before you did". First come, first served, which is only fair for a zero sum game, like who gets the last slice of cake at a party. Your suggested fix of simultaneous rights is tantamount to no patent at all, which means you don't understand what a patent is, why they were first created historically, why they continue to exist, what role they play in law and economics, etc, and instead, you're just "reasoning" on the basis of what naively seems unfair to you.

It turns out that life is very fair, but one has to learn the system before that becomes clear. Try a public library.

Awarding fair use rights or simultaneous patents to a case of innocent rediscovery or simultaneous discovery would allow more people to capitalize on those inventions. In other words: rather than fighting over it, share like any other mature person. In your emotionalism you've placed greed in front of capitalism and missed the entire point. I didn't suggest the removal of patents at all; rather, I suggested their scope be expanded through amendment. In other words: don't destroy patents, but make them more flexible for special cases.

You don't seem to understand that the issue is not that I disagree with your position, the issue is that you have no coherent position. It would be one thing if you said "I know why patents exist, and I know that that purpose might be undermined if the system were changed, but I don't believe in that purpose, and here's why." Or "...but here's how that purpose can be preserved despite the change in the system."

Under your suggestion, there's nothing at all to prevent an arbitrarily large number of people from claiming innocent rediscovery, and competing with the patent holder. That scenario is no different than the one that arises if in fact there is no patent at all.

I said "Your suggested fix of simultaneous rights is tantamount to no patent at all"; that's a counter-argument, not a mis-statement of your position.

But wait, instead of my just getting irritated, how about something constructive: tell me how your proposal is possible without interfering with the nominal purpose of having patents at all, since that's the real point.

* If two people invent something each within a specified timespan (lets say a month) then rather than having one get the patent and the other nothing, give each rights to the patent on the same invention. That would allow both of them, for a limited time, exclusive rights to develop and market the new invention.

* If before the patent on this invention expires it were also invented by someone who had no knowledge of that invention (say, someone from a 3rd world country who's never even heard of a 'Crazy Straw'), rather than denying that person the right to their own discovery, instead they would be given rights to the patent on that invention. This wouldn't extend the life of the patent; rather, just as do the previous inventors, when the patent expires this new inventor loses the exclusivity of this invention..

This would allow a new invention to be spread amongst many inventors (who can prove their right to the patent), much in the same way as OpenSource software, but would put a time-limited 'brake' on the spread of the invention which would allow those who have proven their rights to the patent to also gain from marketing the invention. As what happens in open source, the invention will likely be developed in many directions, especially in preparation for when the patent is no longer valid.

Counter-argument: an unscrupulous businessman finds out about the idea (within whatever time period is assumed to be allowable), files his own patent, finds 98 other unscrupulous partners, they each file a patent, with the net effect that the original inventor is out-competed by a bunch of people who all stole the idea but claimed it was original.

Even if the proceeds were divided "fairly", the original guy, and the only one who truly deserves anything, would only get 1%.

So, basically: some guy from Idaho invents a new potato-powered battery. Duracel, Energizer, and a number of other battery-lickers want in on the deal and if they /do/ get in on the deal, it's likely the original inventor won't see a dime. The big guys would run away with spud, so to speak. In the US, current patent laws state the person who first invented the spud is the one who gets the patent on it. That method nor the proposed multi-patents makes any certainty that 'the big guys' won't steal your right to make a good earning on the invention. They may squeeze you out of the game anyway.

Do current patent laws make it easier to defend against 'the big guys' or would the benefits of multi-patents outweight any wrongdoing such squeeze-outs may cause?

The current situation has many problems, and companies with deep pockets regularly screw small inventors. So I'm interested in an improvement. But I still fail to see how the currently suggested change would improve things, given the scenario about gaming the system.

Then it would seem to me that after the initial claim holders have made their marks on a patent, barring any further claims to the patent would be the best course for this proposal. That removes most of the threat from many other people glomming onto a patent after the fact. A multi-patent would still show fairness to several inventors who make their claims pretty-much at the same time.

Understandably, even if one or more stole the idea from the first inventor, that doesn't remove the fact that the same thing would happen with current patent laws which would end with the result that the original inventor would instead get /nothing/, instead of /something/, which a multi-patent would allow. The counter-argument that after someone has taken a patent away from an original inventor, under current patent laws the inventor can still sue, doesn't guarantee the suit won't end with the rightful inventor still getting nothing and having to pay for legal fees. Current patent laws in the US are all-or-nothing and a multi-patent would allow more flexibility for original inventors, at least by allowing them the possibility of coexistance in spite of claim-jumpers. All-or-nothing or all-or-something.

I don't see how to fix the issue with the time window, after which further claims are barred. If it's long (say, 5 years), then a hundred big guys all jump in and dishonestly dilute the original inventor's claim down to nothing. If it's short (say, a month), then someone reinvents it 8 months later and says "this system is screwed, I reinvented innocently and I should've been able to get in on the patent" -- same general situation as now.

There will always be problems with whatever, but that doesn't mean they can't be improved. The general situation, as you seem to be putting it, is always here no matter what. Someone somewhere doesn't like something, but thankfully we've evolved far enough to practice amending the ways we've made for ourselves. Okay. Different discussion.

A month is what I originally gave it, but a more reasonable span might be more or less. I dunno. With the speed at which modern technology is advancing, an invention really can be found by more than one person in the span of a few months without them knowing about each other's work. It's all about how a meme might spread and give the idea to the right people at the right time.

Well, that's true. But we are still stuck on this issue; no matter how long the time period, it will help dishonest people file dishonest patents. They'll be the ones to make a point of doing so quickly, no matter how short the time limit. So I don't see any improvement here.

How about if we just ditch patents and copyrights altogether and enforce a more Communist approach?

The usual argument (and original motivation) for both patents and copyright was that it encouraged creation and public sharing (via sales, etc) of such intellectual property, rather than keeping it permanently secret, as had been common practice before these two things were invented. The current systems are flawed, but they do accomplish those goals to some extent. A replacement system should address the same issues.

See: FairUse HowToImprovePatents



One of many HumanBehavioralPatterns


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