Public knowledge and Patent Reform

Public Knowledge has a section devoted to patent reform. One item on their list that I wanted to comment upon that I quickly scanned or read the other day:

“Raising the standard from determination of obviousness from the person having “ordinary skill” in the art to a person having “recognized skill” in the art.

Who defines “recognized skill”? One thing I’ve learned over the years is that those who recognize “pat each other on the back” and either express disdain for, or quietly dismiss, those not in their “inner circle” however they define that phrase.

I once went to a Patent Attorney many years ago, with an ugly but functional device I’d built by hand out of PVC pipe, a dish-washing device, and he tried to convince me that no one in their right mind would buy that, that consumers want something pretty, then he spent the rest of our appointment time trying to convince me to become a petition “signature gatherer”, that’s where the money was he said, and then charged me about $250 for his time of less than 20 minutes! Another time, I went to an invention submission corporation with drawings for a specialized front bicycle wheel, that another guy appeared to study carefully. While this time there was no charge, he spent some time discussing this and some other drawings I showed him which he didn’t look at closely. While we talked, he found out I didn’t have any substantial money to spend, and then said that I should contact a bicycle company (corporation).

20-years later when doing an Internet search, I recall finding that a professor at a University had recently designed and built such a front bicycle wheel as that in my drawings.

The American revolution was fought to get rid of corporations from our lives. They didn’t precisely teach us that in compulsory education, though the educators danced around that precise point skillfully. They almost connected the dot for all of us.

It seems to me that with the explosion of the Internet, and the sharing of knowledge that now seems in the public domain, patent attorneys are probably chomping at the bit to privatize the commons of the Internet and specifically the ideas that have been freely shared.

Even Facebook was recently in the news regarding privatizing their members communal work, a policy they reportedly temporarily reversed, after a huge outcry from their members.

So the pressure to privatize others’ work is certainly there. Hopefully, Public Knowledge will change their position on at least that one item, or perhaps I simply don’t understand the strategy behind it. I did read it very quickly and probably missed important things, and it seemed like a good time for a rant.

Perhaps patents, and the protection of devices, shouldn’t be allowed at all. If there can’t be a level and equal playing field for everyone, including insuring everyone has the money that is required to be spent to acquire a patent and its implication for the masses of human beings who cannot possibly afford (hint hint) to play that game today, then why should there be any patents? Has the primary purpose behind “Limited Time”, espoused in the U.S. Constitution, now been crossed out by Orwell’s Pigs to mean something else: continually privatize the profits, and keep socializing the losses (some are more equal than others)?

According to Wikipedia, the first capacitor was invented in 1745. After its patent presumably expired, and with respect to a society that claims to want to advance knowledge and scientific understanding, shouldn’t our current compulsory schools be teaching this now common or public knowledge of what capacitors are, how they work, what they’re used for, and how to mathematically calculate what sizes are needed in particular applications? It is a ubiquitous device these days. Wouldn’t the same go for electric motors, again according to Wikipedia first invented in 1828 or thereabouts? Don’t some electric motors often accompany capacitors? When I went to public and private schools during the compulsory years, motor-winding class was never offered, even though that’s a skill I could have used many times! Instead, I’ve had to purchase (consumer) new motors when their windings did burn out, or do without.

So it seems the purpose of allowing a patent for a limited time so an inventor could profit from it, has now somehow transformed into a perpetual obscuring to the masses of knowledge gained over past years of scientific advancement, while simultaneously saying we must go to school.

Later in our adult lives our advertising supported media skillfully encourages all of us, regardless of our educational or income level, to buy, buy, and keep buying: so much so that in the last few decades we’re increasingly asked to pay for cable to watch advertising on TV, or buy the new converter box so we can keep watching the ads fed to us, or buy a magazine filled with ads.

What does any of this do for those of us who need money to eat? The last time I was in a grocery store, they still charged money for food. Recognition doesn’t bring money with it, I’m sorry to report. Just look at the homeless. They’ve been recognized at least since the 1980s. They’ve been on TV news. They’ve been studied by scientists. They have advocates working on their behalf. They’re celebrities who are eating out of trashcans because that’s all they can afford!

Think they’re planning on getting a patent anytime soon?

I’ll let you guess where this came from:

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

When one realizes the U.S. constitutional authors didn’t intend “Authors” or “Inventors” to be corporations, the extensive undermining of our society and government created by the granting of corporate personhood, allegedly done not by a judge but instead a court clerk, becomes a lot clearer.

Are these deceptive games solely so a very few (corporations only and the wealthiest of the already wealthy who own most of the largest corporations) can profit and keep profiting until the end of Time itself? Is that how “limited Times” is currently being interpreted by some? If not, then where’s the progress to the masses within a society that continually keeps making all of us pay to keep socializing the losses of a few corporations? Is the sole purpose of the masses to be consumers and underpaid (hint hint) employees in an employment system most like the Feudal Era of Lords and serfs?

If you don’t have any money, you’re only worthy of eating out of a trashcan, or counseling that you need more education and a job so a few elitists at the top of the money pyramid can profit, and after getting that job you can barely pay your bills, never mind having enough disposable income from that job to have a professional file a patent on your behalf and defend it if need be?

Where’s the so-called “Progress”?

3 thoughts on “Public knowledge and Patent Reform

  1. While this “patent news item” doesn’t have a local focus in the U.S., it’s certainly related to the above topic, and seems to have a number of themes that I’ve hopefully expressed on this blog, particularly the fact we now seem to have a global transnational business class (corporations) that are trumping more localized laws citizens set in place over years and centuries to protect ourselves from a variety of dangers history has taught us are not to our communal interest and benefit.

    Here’s the patent news item: “If the law is inconvenient, unelected bodies just change the rules?

  2. This item I read last night doesn’t deal with patents, so can perhaps only be said as peripherally related, though it does directly relate to our bailing out of already wealthy corporations, particularly banking corporations. It also deals with some of the history of the U.S., and how one of our core problems is that private bankers are controlling our money supply through a quasi-public central bank: Restoring Our Financial Sovereignty: A New Monetary System. If you follow any of the references or links, one that appears near the end of the article looks interesting to me, but that I haven’t had time to study in detail: The American Monetary Institute. There are some links on that page that directly relate to topics I’ve mentioned in the above post. A particularly notable (to me) link: PDF: The American Monetary Act which claims to be ready for the legislative process.

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