By | December 9, 2011
So you can't test for diseases without paying patent fees on using a diagnostic technique. A bit ironic, since this opens the door to basic high-school lab culture experiments (e.g. growing mold on agar) being subject to hefty diagnostic fees… Where are we headed as a society? To a culture where you have to pay a fee for anything you do, be it opening a package of food (because some company has a patent on the technique used to open that specific packaging), or proving a "millenium problem" (because some researcher has a patent on a particular method of proof)?

/via +Enrico Silterra

Supreme Court Seems Ok With Patenting Medical Diagnostics | Techdirt
We’ve covered the Mayo v. Promethus Labs case for a while now. This is the lawsuit over the patentability of medical diagnostic techniques. If that sounds crazy to you, you’re not alone. Promethius…

6 thoughts on “Wow

  1. Sophie Wrobel

    +Sai . There are lots of those – I find particularly humerous this one:

    Claim #4 is an object commonly known as a twig or stick. Now not just children have to pay licence fees, but mother nature too, since trees didn't file for patent protection for, er… being trees… in time and didn't publish any papers about being trees either that could be used as prior art references. Sigh.

  2. Sophie Wrobel

    +Sai . We used to do what that method describes on the playground at elementary school. Do all public parks and schools now need to pay patent fees as well, since children are using that method without having signed licence agreements?

  3. Michael-Forest M.

    Fortunately for the US, when our patent system was first devised, it was devised by reasonable people, and not idiots. So games and recipes can't be patented.

    Unfortunately, the common sense that was used in forming our patent system may not persists in those who continue to establish, uphold, and regulate it, so…

  4. Karsten Wegmeyer

    yepp, i do agree! The rules of the system are outdated. Patents are given to quick and easy. Protection times do come of the elder industrial times. In IT and in Pharmacy lifetimes are much shorter then in the mechanical industries.

    Innovation has to be done with the patent system itself. As a result of this one could get a Patent on Patents, a Metapatent so to say 🙂

  5. Sophie Wrobel

    +Karsten Wegmeyer I do agree that the idea of the patent system – to protect innovators from copycats for a reasonable amount of time and allow them to benefit from their contribution to society – makes sense.

    However, the low standard required to obtain a patent is where the system breaks down, and the abuse of the current low standard (in particular by the smartphone, biotech, and pharma industries) is something that is still unbalanced. Just to give an example on how low the standard is today, consider the infamous "patent on a stick":

    What also worries me is the increasing pressure from lobby groups to make the 'pay once for repeated, long-term usage of a device' illegal and instead only legalize a 'pay per use of each repeated useage instance' – in simpler terms, the 'pay once for a mouse' vs. 'pay once for each mouse click' model of doing business. This, combined with patent abuse and market oligopolization via limited number of key players, is a very dangerous combination for consumers.

  6. Karsten Wegmeyer

    This indeed is a problem politics has no answer to. Patent fees do have a reason and are necessary to pay Inventions and to protect those who do care for progress against those who only copy.

    On the other hand side, patents are missused today as the ICBMs of economical wars. We can see that in the smartphone-Section and you can see it too in the mediacal and biological environment. Here some people, som continents, are stopped to progress without paying fees for simple things.

    The patent fee as a such has to stay, it's usage has to be adoptet to nower days and to the complexity of our technology and societies. The Smartphone-Sector is an obvious example to everyone. Apple, Samsung, Motorola and HTC are demonstrating whats going wrong in our society. Other parts as your mentioned diagnostic method are less obvious, but the danger patent fees my cause there is much bigger!


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