"Research and development is always an NRE. You spend the money and it's gone and you have no intention of ever recovering it. "
You completely misunderstanding how R&D gets funded?. Its not a case of "not having intention of ever recovering it" , its a case that commercial R&D gets funded with the intent that the investment gets you some commercial value / advantage, whether that is a new product or a new way of doing things. If you didnt think you will get something back from your R&D , you WOULDNT DO R&D.
Companies do R&D for commercial gain. The only other R&D that takes place is in Universities or governmental institutions. Even University R&D is often funded by corporations.
I've been involved in creating two products. That included raising the funds for them to be created. For the first 2 years, all my team was overhead. No revenue and totally funded by the investors. Eventually we had a product to take to market. This created jobs and added what I believe are great products to the market.
These are software products and as such are protected by Copyright. It says that what you create belongs to you. Without Copyright, our Intellectual Property would not be protected and the R&D costs would have gone to waste. No-one would ever fund a project again unless the R&D is protected.
The Pharm industry can't rely on the same type of protection as software and consequently need patents.
As I said before , patents arent all bad. Look at Dyson. They spend a lot of R&D effort in coming up with innovative ways of doing different things. They protect their inventions with patents because otherwise there will be a Chinese copy of their products within months of them releasing something new.
This is especially important for smaller firms. Dyson could probably now survive just on their brand name. A small startup couldnt. Remember its Patents that made Dyson possible in the first place.
The problem however, and I've fallen foul of this, is that patents with little or no innovation are being issued. So you have to work around the bleeding obvious.
The patent system that was specifically designed to protect the small inventor is now totally working against small entities. As another poster said , the mega-corps hold vast patent portfolios. These are used both defensively as well as offensively. A small company cant afford to even fight a patent dispute against a mega-corp.
I personally would get rid of Software Patents both Utility and Design Patents. But Patent / Copyright / Trademarks all have their place.
Downvote to your hearts content, but many of you seriously need a reality check.