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back to article Hey, Third World! We know what you need: Mmm, patent wars

Britain's Intellectual Property Office will "promote the understanding of IP" in developing countries after signing a deal with the head of the UN's World Intellectual Property Organisation. Brit patent specialists will be flown out around the world to give workshops and seminars, essentially educating nations on the benefits of …

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Just what the third world needs. A lifetime plus grillion year's worth of societal stagnation. That'll help everybody develop, right enough.

Who are these twats; are they tax-funded; and can we get out money back?

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WTF?

Double take..

Why did I read it as Ineffectual Property Office at first glance?

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Facepalm

I'm sorry, sir.

We've got a patent on "A system of improving average wealth through infrastructure development. The system may include roads, irrigation, telecommunications, or anything else which may actually help a developing nation." You'll have to stop all development until you license under our very Fair and Reasonable terms of 99 percent (of gross) per capita.

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Devil

Re: I'm sorry, sir.

As above, but using a phone. "Apple needs to get its cut" ;-)

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Pint

Would I be wrong in viewing them (IPO) as shysters or enablers of shysterism?

Pint coz a pint is a pint and....oh...bollocks :(

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Bit late aren't they?

Sorry, but the Brit IP office are way too late to this party - WIPO have been doing this for years (I have myself been a small part of it) and it has been well supported by plenty of other countries (Japan springs to mind as well as the US).

As someone who has worked a lot in development, knowledge of IP is critical to inward investment - nobody will do a deal with you for technology if you cannot show you will protect it, simple as that. Just because you think the current patent wars between Samsung and Apple are an expensive joke, don't forget what IP protection is really all about - reward for invention and encouraging investment in new ideas. Even China has now moved from being the world's biggest pirate to enforcing IP laws with real vigour (they have serious criminal penalties for copyright infringement) now that they are beginning to invent/create themselves.

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Re: Bit late aren't they?

The Eu now allows patenting of naturally bred strains of plants

So with this new IP agreement any drought resistant crops growing in Africa can now be snapped up by Monsanto before those pirate farmers try and plant any of the seeds for food.

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WTF?

Re: Bit late aren't they?

> reward for invention and encouraging investment in new ideas.

You're new round here, aren't you?

And just to fill you in on the details, that is unbelievably naive.

It *might* have been true in the distant past but not any more, but particularly so in the IT realm.

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Re: Bit late aren't they?

Actually, I have worked in development and tech transfer for the past 10 years and IP management is the critical factor for access to any new technology. Sorry for all of you IT-obsessed freetards, but the rest of the world still needs to protect inventions in order to get investment funds to develop them into products.

If any of you took the trouble to study and understand the IP system instead of just whinging about Apple/Samsung or whoever, you might notice that respect for property - including intellectual property - is the basis for a functional society. The few exceptions I am sure you will point to are no reason to abandon one of the bedrocks human development.

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Re: Bit late aren't they?

I don't think anyone here has a problem with either Intellectual Property or paying for things. What we do have a proplem with are monopolies; being arse-fucked on the price; the creators being arse-fucked on their cut; laws being paid for that impinge seriously on our privacy and freedoms; and copyright terms being extended way past any sane realms.

So, Mr. numerial IP apologist; while IP may have once been a bedrock of human development it is now acting as a brake on development...both because of the insane extension of time and laws and the fact that -in the end- it's all of us who end up paying for it. The people who are benefitting most are passing off the costs.

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Pint

Re: Bit late aren't they?

"If any of you took the trouble to study and understand "

Accept my upvote for the bolshy tone, of which I heartily approve. Far too much politeness round here.

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Anonymous Coward

So this "patents" system of yours...

... does not in any represent any form of "protectionism" or "mercantilism" whatsoever? Honest?

I say they're unwashed wearers of flaming pants, past their BBE date, and patent troll puppets, intent on creating more artificial "market" in which the sole viable business model is obtaining monopolies by waving bits of papers containing as vaguely worded language as they can get away with, so as to sue ever more people.

If "the third world" has any sense they learn from us, and do away with the WIPO and with at least this patent system, possibly patents entirely. At the risk of US and UK gunboats suddenly paying visits, but hey, it's that or have your own courts set against your entire entrepeneur population.

Is it too radical to brand this kind of evangelising, the new (new new) imperialism?

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FAIL

Hmmm

Didnt Monsanto try to sue a load of third/second world farmers for daring to grow their patented gm crop without paying the licence for seeds? . If memory serves me correctly some of these farmers didnt want the gm crop, but it cross pollinated from adjacent farms.

There is no way shit like this will end well for the average person living in the developing world.

It will just mean big multinationals can gouge money, stiffle inovation and steal ideas from people and organisations least likely to be able to defend themselves in a first world court.

I think the last thing developing countries need at the moment are flocks of predatory lawyers circling the plains of innovation (do water butts have rounded corners?)

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FAIL

Re: Hmmm

>I think the last thing developing countries need at the moment are flocks of predatory lawyers circling the plains of innovation (do water butts have rounded corners?)

Don't worry it won't happen because developing countries lack money and lawyers like the vultures they are only show up when they smell money carrion.

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Anonymous Coward

Wonder where he's heading first... China perhaps?

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New Markets

Well, it would give us a place where we could export a whole bunch of lawyers to.

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Re: New Markets

Ideally somewhere cannibalism is rife.

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Anonymous Coward

Cannibalism?

Sure, now you want to *poison* the natives too...

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Re: Cannibalism?

Should get away with it if the lawyers are cooked properly and served with enough rice.

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Well, it might be beneficial....

...but only if there's a radical rewrite to include at least the following:

- patents are non-transferrable

- patents have a fixed, non-extensible lifetime (10-15 years at most)

- patents can only be granted on production of a working model

- no software patents (copyright covers these adequately)

- discoveries and designs are not patentable

- prior art always takes priority

- all patents are global and documented in a readily searchable database

Yes, I know, the trolls and corp-rats would object, but tough: MBAs and accountants don't invent things and nor do 'managerial innovators'. They can always lease use of a patent from its inventor.

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Re: Well, it might be beneficial....

>- patents can only be granted on production of a working model

So I invent a new design for a turbine blade shape

Rolls Royce can copy my design unless I'm able to build an entire working model jet engine to show the patent office?

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Re: Well, it might be beneficial....

Build it out of lego and crank it by hand...should be enough to demonstrate the principle.

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Stop

Re: Well, it might be beneficial....

> So I invent a new design for a turbine blade shape

You should not be able to patent something based entirely on speculation.

To prove that it is an innovative design and describe why it is an improvement, you must at least have done some R&D.

Even Dyson built dozens, nay hundreds, of vacuum prototypes before he had something that he thought that he could get a patent for.

What the original poster is really talking about are, for example, speculative gene patents which contain no actual product information whatsoever. They are just fishing expeditions.

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Re: Well, it might be beneficial....

No but you can invent something based entirely on maths, numerical modelling and computer simulations.

I work for a consultancy, I design some new product or improvement to a product. I should be able to try and interest manufacturers in buying the idea without having to make it myself.

Yes patents on rounded corners of a tablet are silly - but so is limiting patents only to large manufacturers already in the field.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, it might be beneficial....

If you've simulated it, you must have built a model, QED? No one's suggested the model has to be constrained to being a thing you can actually hold in your hand.

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Re: Well, it might be beneficial....

"patents can only be granted on production of a working model"

Doesn't need to be a physical model, could be a simulation.

Sure it can be challenged later etc but at least it's SOMETHING that demonstrates the claims made in the patent. It should not be allowed to get a patent based on a claimed improvement that is not demonstrated.

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Re: Well, it might be beneficial....

> no software patents (copyright covers these adequately)

Not always, it's a little more complicated than; software patent = evil

If you build a mechanical analogue computer for predicting tides you can patent that (well you could in 1872)

Now if you implement the same thing in analogue electronics you can patent that (in the 1930s)

Convert it to a single IC - still your invention and protected

What if you implemented the circuit on an FPGA - is that software?

Copyright only protects your specific FPGA code

If I took your analogue circuit and implemented it in my own FPGA in a clean room I haven't violated copyright - although I would have violated a software patent on your implementation.

So why should patents protect an idea implemented in brass gear wheels but not one implemented on a computer?

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"promote the understanding of IP"

I think you'll find that the folks over there understand IP pretty well - they just don't see what's in it for them. Which is precisely what the USA did with European inventions during the 1800s, and what China are currently doing with American inventions. Until China takes this stuff seriously, what chance do they think they've got of convincing somewhere like South Sudan that they should care?

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Anonymous Coward

China does understand IP

Given that by the end of 2011 they passed both Japan and the USA in the number of tech patent filings. They just have no intention of bending over and allowing the US to take its preferred unilateral approach to IP enforcement.

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Devil

A Fine Example...

One of the finest and clearest examples of doublespeak I've seen.

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Can we send them to the USA?

They seem to need some help understanding things.........

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FAIL

Interesting interpretation.

> The position of IP as a battleground for intense competition....

..actually means that companies are spending far too much time battling patents and not enough on innovation.

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FAIL

face palm fail

Yes lets educate poor starving people dying of AIDS and or malaria why its so important that they respect the patents that make the lifesaving drugs unaffordable for them so some rich ahole can get himself a bigger yacht. At least India has the sense to the tell them to f__k off.

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Re: face palm fail

It's not just patents it's copyright and trademark.

Do you think it's fair that the stick thin supermodel look so carefully developed by womens magazines can be ripped off by millions of starving Ethopians ?

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FAIL

Re: face palm fail

I don't know which is more sad how f____d up people's priorities are in the developed world or how f_____d up most cultures are in general in developing countries.

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Excellent. Now if impoverished countries have anything left out of their foreign aid after equipping the military with the latest wizzbang weapons they can give it to patent lawyers.

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Anonymous Coward

short hand for "Third world, you WILL buy our expensive shit, or we WILL stop giving you aid. So bend over and take it like the poor slaves you are!"

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Third World Aid

Most aid to 3rd World Countries is anyway granted with strings attached, usually that the aid is only applicable for purchases to be made in the donor country. Bottom line from the donor country's point of view is that it's like a hidden subsidy to their own businesses, just as if teh government id buying up teh stuff and shipping it out to teh 3rd World.

Fair enough, it's better than not giving a damn and sending nothing at all, BUT remember teh principle of teaching a man how to fish vs giving them fish. This whole thing seems like rich countries telling teh third world "We know how to fish, we're not going to teach you how, no worries we'll give you fish ourselves." Until the developing country starts developing and gets rich and then it's "Oh, you have money now, you gotta pay for your fish"

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Meh

Better they adopt the UK/EU model

than the US one, if they're definitely going to go for patents. As Richard Rae says, they need some help in the US with patent craziness.

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