Subject: Re: Examples needed against Soft Patents
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 13:22:42 +0900

>>>>> "kms" == Karsten M Self <> writes:

    kms> Open peer review != banning pharmaceutical patents.

Did I say that?  Open peer review (ie, publication of the formula at
patent application) will shorten the useful life of the patent
appreciably by giving a leg up to those trying to develop a competing

    kms> It does imply that testing or testing data be available to
    kms> multiple entities, preferably with at least independent, if
    kms> not non, biases.

What makes you think any such multiple testing will be done?  You know
very well how expensive it is, and that one of the complaints of the
Abolish the FDA crowd is that the _required_ testing is already
overkill, which prevents useful drugs from getting to market in time
(in some cases, at all)?  What makes you think that making the data
available is going to be terribly useful (given the atrocious example
of the way patent claims are written)?

    kms> I believe the remainder of your post is a non sequitur.

Of course you do; if you didn't, you wouldn't take the position that
_you_ are for sunshine and that (implicitly) those who oppose your
position are for darkness.

    kms> There's the side issue of much basic pharmaceutical research
    kms> (an area with which I have a passing familiarity) being done
    kms> either at publicly-funded research institutions, or by
    kms> independent development labs, these later being hired or
    kms> bought outright by the major Pharma players.

So?  I don't see your point.  Those independents have strong interest
in keeping their discoveries to themselves in order to maximize the
first-copy price (according to the famous paper by Boldrin and Levine,
and Quah's followups, they can extract the full monopoly rent in one
shot by doing so, even with no patent protection at all---of course I
don't believe that result can hold in practice, but it shows what the
incentives are).  So what does it matter, as long as they must depend
eventually on the resources of a big player to do the development (ie,

    kms> Pharma itself is largely in the business of marketing
    kms> existing products (not an inconsiderable or deprecated
    kms> activity of itself), rather less so independent research.
    kms> I've been involved in several projects whose major objective
    kms> was extending an existing drug's indications rather than
    kms> safety & efficacy of new compounds.

Ie, efficient innovation (improving service at minimum cost).  Sounds
like a great idea to me!  Again, I don't see your point.

    kms>     The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

... but the driver's wheel will be at the FSF.  Ne plus ca change....

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
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