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IP Today-Should Scientists Boycott IP?

by on October 8, 2011

I am very curious to find out what other scientists are thinking about Intellectual Property rights these days. Here are some observations that worry me:

1. As science collaborations are becoming more international it is very hard (impossible) to decide what belongs to who. It prevents scientists from being open as there is always the fear that the country they happen to work with will be more aggressive in filing for patents on ideas they launched (most likely after the visiting scientist has left that particular country).

2. Developing countries are being victimized by patent laws. Think about the shameful practice of drug companies doing their human tests in Africa and then trying selling drugs to Africans at prices they cannot afford.

3. A large company can easily steal all the productive time of the key scientists of a small competing company to kill that entity as a potential competitor. This happens all too frequently. I recently was an expert witness in just such a case. IP has only value for the company with the largest purse. Small companies cannot afford to defend themselves against frivolous claims of large competitors.

4. There is no incentive for patent lawyers not to issue a patent. The more competing claim they plant the more lawsuits they harvest later.

5. Many Asian companies are now patenting everything not that they belief in it but just to be prepared if a Western company goes after them. In the mean time they copy everything without respect for individual contributions. Did you notice what happened with the Samsung stock when Steve Jobs died. What a disgrace !!

In most cases scientists are not the ones benefitting from their inventions (just ask Mullis). So why do we go along with the bankers, the CFOs, MBAs and the venture capitalists? I wonder if we just shouldn’t boycott the system and publish as fast as we can so none of the above happens. What do we loose? IP is something that urgently needs to be reconsidered as it is it does not work and only rewards money manipulators and the largest richest companies.

From → MY BLOG

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