Subject: Re: "incentive void" (was Re: A different patent covenant...)
From: simo <s@ssimo.org>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 08:42:42 -0400

Concentrating only on the software field.

On Mon, 2006-10-23 at 14:54 +0900, stephen@xemacs.org wrote:
> This market offers real benefits to those who would rather code than
> manage.  Without the patent, they have to take an equity position in
> a firm ... but they have no redress if a rival outperforms their
> managing partner.  With the patent, they can say, "cash, please; no
> shares, no options."  And the frog must jump.

I don't get this point, with copyrights it is the same, you can keep
them or ask for a price, where's the difference? 

> Does it work that way in practice?  Hard to say.  For example, in
> theory the usual practice of having software engineers sign away all
> their patentable ideas in advance should result in them having a
> higher value in the labor market than if they kept their rights
> ... but that's very hard to measure.

I never heard this thing that signing away in advance is good for the
engineer, can you tell me why it should be good in theory?

> No, it's not the theory.  "Large rivals" has nothing to do with it:
> the theory assumes that the (initially small) innovator can expand to
> fill the market instantaneously---yet he still loses the price war
> because he pays higher unit costs than his rivals do.  "Free-riding
> rivals" is the problem that patent attempts to address.

Oh, but in the field of software there is no such possibility except in
very rare cases. Copyrights block free riders as well, and I'd say more
efficiently and at the same time with less collateral damage. So, in the
field of software, what's the point of patents at this point?

Simo.