no more patents. Patents create a temporary monopoly for the inventor of a product. This ensures the ability of the inventor to make money off of the invention if it will sell; a smaller company may be unable to compete with a larger one once the larger one starts selling the product, since it will have more money to make and push the product with, as well as more fronts to push it at. Other companies may even be better able to make, sell, and promote the product with the same amount of money. The inventor, who has taken time to research and develop a product or modification to an existing one, deserves compensation for this important help to society.
However, patents also can slow significantly the spread of a given invention and the knowledge associated with it. This can be devastating to some lines of development. There is up to a 17 year period over which any other manufacturers cannot sell this product: they can develop it but cannot sell it for the entire period, which significantly reduces their possible interest in it and capabilities to do so. Other people must develop the product/mod with no monetary incentive (unless they can surpass the inventor in some way while developing it, which sometimes does and sometimes doesn’t need to be a very significant change) to do so and without the knowledge that the inventor put time and money into.
Patents as they stand in the US right now also stifle the very small inventor, as opposed to helping as is the idea. Some folk come up with ideas independant of a company (meaning by themselves). Many of these folk are not particularly wealthy and don’t know how to obtain the money or other resources necessary to get their product to market. To patent the product they need to come up with a significant amount of money (relative to a normal person’s personal income) just to get the patent checked out and then, if they are lucky, put on the books. This leaves even less money for them to make and market the product. The alternative to self-manufacturing, probably more feasible to an individual, is to have another company make and sell the product and then give money to the inventor. Some companies will take inventions from individuals, deal with the patent office, and then sign a deal with another company that would want to manufacture it. However, this costs at least what the patent office charges, possibly more for the service. The other option is to contact a manufacturing company directly. If the company likes the idea enough, it will likely pay for the patent making. However, the inventor would likely have little leverage and improper knowledge to insure getting a good deal with the company. Also, an individual will have little documentation of his or her having done the work to invent the new invention, as well as no way to protect themselves legally against the company if the idea is stolen; they have little money, especially compared to the company, little knowledge of how to go about the legal procedings, and little evidence that they invented the product and the company didn’t independantly.
possible replacement-something sort of comparable to a copyright licensing set-up. An inventor creates a product. for a small fee, the product’s inventive features can be inventrighted. the fee will be based on the size of the inventor monetarily. these features can then be used on the given product by anyone, regardless of the want of this ability by the inventor. However, the other manufacturers must pay a royalty to the inventor for this use.
The royalty is determined by the ‘patent’ office instead of the inventright holder, as it would be with copyrights. The ‘patent’ office examines the significance of the change to determine a fair value, based on the changes potential effect on society/life relative to other current inventions as well as what companies could be expected to be able to afford if they were to implement these changes. This charge would be as a percentage of the companies income from the product. The fee would be scaled based on the size of the licensee company making the product, so that a small company could make the product with a much lower fee than a large one; as that company grows, however, so does the fee.
The inventright would last only for a certain duration, perhaps,say, 17 years, and the invention/modification would then become free to sell. The fee would probably start at a higher cost and then slowly phase out to nothing over the period, to give the inventor a chance to get into the market with less competition. This would apply only to the selling of a product, not to its manufacture.
In licensing, there would likely be a requirement for the inventor to provide some basic info about the mod/invention to the licensee. This would not be anything that will cost the inventor significant money, probably something like a document based upon internal documents on the process, materials, or any other pertinent info that would be necessary to implement the mod or make the invention as the inventor had. This is to allow quick sharing of the ideas involved so that they can spread rapidly and then be revised and built upon by others.
possiblity 2 (far simpler to implement) – patents allowed only for two year period. This allows inventor to have monopoly on invention for long enough to get fairly strong beginning in market, while still allowing quick dissemination into society. reviews of patents would then be more stringent and require greater modifications to be applicable for another patent if other inventors make insignificant mods to get around monopoly. The mod must have a significant impact on functionality of the product. this functionality means that of the features that are the essence of the product ( ie effect what it was designed for, its purpose) as opposed to parts that are insignificant in the use of the product.
There would be allowed, in that two year period, a licensing out of the manufacturing of the product, as a percentage of net income from that product, chosen by the inventor ( not to be greater than 100%). As in above, the inventor probably would have to provide info to competitors on how to produce the new product/ mods, in this case to anybody who requests it. They can charge a fee for the info however, which must be reasonable for the amount of info provided.
[added 4/12/6]possibility 3: government incentives replace monopolistic incentives. grants could be given for succesful creation of inventions or/and for research toward their creation. the patent office or body put in charge of this would award incentives based upon the significance of a possible improvement over the current technology as it affects humanity or the world. Incentives would likely need to be given out incrimentaly based on their actual affects, to insure the company actually markets the item. Products more well marketed (sold more) would recieve more money, as these would have a greater affect on more people.