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13 August 2011

Comments

Shewmaker

Patents and Trademarks are the fundamental tools of governmentally enforced monopolies. A monopoly can only exist through Force. The force may be governmental or it may be lawless, but without force, a monopoly cannot exist.

Every prosecutorial attempt to break up a Trust or a Monopoly, when that Trust or Monopoly was not a result of organized crime has been based upon the irony that the monopoly would never have existed in the first place if it had not been for the laws which eliminated competition such as Trademarks and Patents.

Ryck Marciniak

@ Shewmaker - I can certainly understand your point of view, but without some sort of protection, no company would invest millions of dollars that yield new discoveries all the time. Aside from technology which makes us more productive in ever-more pressure-packed world, the discovery of new drugs, for example, would not occur. If you could provide a way to offset the investments made by the companies making these discoveries without providing what you term a 'governmental monopoly', I am all ears.

Shewmaker

Ryck,

You misunderstood me. I was not advocating the abolishment of Patents and Trademarks, I was merely pointing out that they can result in stifled markets.

It is ironic that the same people who bewail monopolies and so-called corporate greed are usually also the ones who want to expand this aspect of legal restriction.

However, I will say that the expansion of copyright laws to the point that they are currently and the loosening of criteria regarding what is patentable is approaching the ludicrous.

If a 16 year old copyrights something which stands the test of time and then he (or she) dies at the age of 96, it is possible for a copyright to be in place for 130 years (or longer). Not only that but if you don't know when the author died, trying to determine (in years to come) what is and what is not expired copyright is going to be a nightmare to everyone except lawyers.

Shewmaker

Ryck,

After I wrote that last comment, I saw this Mimi and Eunice cartoon which about sums it up.

http://mimiandeunice.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ME_420_CorporateState.png

Ryck Marciniak

@ Shewmaker - I did misunderstand your comment, so I apologize. What you can patent is now becoming ridiculous, as you stated. What I find more ironic, however, is companies that wield their patents like a sword against competitors, yet they cry about the unfairness of patents when they are used against them--Apple is a good example of this with some key Nokia patents. Fortunately for them, Nokia agreed to a licensing deal.

Shewmaker

Ryck,

Ran across this article where Kellogg is threatening the Maya Archaeology Initiative because they use a Toucan as part of their logo. Kellogg claims that the Toucan looks too much like their cereal mascot Toucan Sam.

http://sanramon.patch.com/articles/a-ripoff-of-toucan-sam

A few years ago, Ralph Lauren pulled this same kind of stunt against a Polo Association. The posture of the rider on the logo was completely different as was the mallet which was pointed towards the ground as if swinging at a ball. The judge actually ruled in Ralph Lauren's favor which made absolutely no sense to me.

Ryck Marciniak

@Shewmaker - This does not surprise me at all, as I ran across an unusual example a couple of years ago. Don Henley, not the member of the singing group The Eagles, had created a web site and used his born and christenend name, Don Henley, as part of the domain name for the site. The focus of the site was his religion. As many web surfers came to his site expecting they would see information about Don Henley the singer, he eventually posted a note on his home page explaining that he was not the singer and redirected them to more appropriate sites. A lawyer on behalf of the singer eventually contacted him with a notice of infringement, claiming that he was taking advantage of the name Don Henley and the singer's recognizeability and fame. To appease the attorney, the web site owner removed all instructions and references to Don Henley the singer, but the attorney representing the singer wasn't satisfied and wanted the domain turned over to the singer, as well. The attorney claimed that the name Don Henley could not be used in any domain other than those approved by the singer. Based on this, you shouldn't be able to use your given name because someone famous may have the same name--just ridiculous, especially when you see that, in this case, the singing and the religion themes are worlds apart.

With this kind of stuff happening, I'm waiting to see my local grocery store add a tariff on apples to pay Steve Jobs a copyright fee.

solar panels

There should be a line between what's patentable and what's not. Design is a bit too cover all and vague. I mean, Amazon can sue Apple because the iPad looks like Kindle.

Ryck Marciniak

@solar panels - you are right about a line distinguishing what is patentable and what is not. That is part of the rationale for the patent reform. Somehow, however, it's not simple--that's the key issue.

feed in tariff

What was originally made to protect intellectual property is now being used to "legally" fend of competitors. I agree that Apple has to be careful.

Ryck Marciniak

@feed in tariff - The number of recent patent suits was growing to the point of being ridiculous. It seems that Apple is heeding the advice on patent wars. There are discussions regarding cross-licensing.

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