Banish The Patents

For long, I have been wondering about the concept of patents. And till date, I have been clueless. Although I have tried to read the definition, my mind does not convince me the actual meaning and intent of a patent.

So what exactly is a patent?

Patent is a document granting an inventor sole rights to an invention. As per Wikipedia, a patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention.

Banish The Patents
And why exactly am I averse to the concept of patents?

Just a few days back, the Times Of India screamed on it's first page - British pharma company's bid to patent ginger foiled. 

I thought - Are they silly? How on earth are they patenting ginger? The next time when I have to drink some tea with ginger in it, do I have to pay royalty to them?

Of course No. And even if they would have patented ginger, I would not have paid them any royalty.

What next? Will you patent tea? And sugar? And milk? And mother's milk?

Silly Patents
I read another news a few months back. The news article had Apple telling the world that HTC was riding on it's RnD expenditure. A snippet of the article is as below.

Apple contends that HTC's Android phones infringe four Apple patents, including one for a system to detect telephone numbers in e-mails so they can be stored in directories or called without dialing the numbers. 

So what exactly has Apple done? Found out a series of 10 numerals in a email, and added to your phone book. Great. Does that mean that I can't do something similar? 

So much for patenting. 

Dear Apple, 

Think where you would have been if Alexander Graham Bell would have patented the telephone for 500 years. Or what if Motorola had patented the mobile phone (invented in 1973) for a period of just 100 years? You would not have been able to sell your phone. 

But ah, you would have called it an iPhone and would have proclaimed to the world that it is different from a mobile phone, and got your way around.

The Patent Nonsense
Let's get away from Apple.

To add, here are a list of few silly patents.
  • Light Bulb Changer
  • Anti-Eating Mouth Cage
  • Method of swinging on a swing
  • Plug for and method of patching a hole in a wall
  • A Bird Diaper
The patent for a Bird Diaper says - A bird diaper for an uncaged pet bird to wear, featuring an enclosed pouch for receiving and containing excrement, and apertures to accommodate both the wings and tails of the birds.

A Bird Diaper Patent

Wow. No doubt this concept didn't fly.

All in all, in my honest opinion, patenting is just a concept of hoarding the use of knowledge. 

What if God Himself had patented the concept of reproduction for an infinite period of time? Adam and Eve would have been the last people of earth. And I would not have been writing this blog. And you would not have been reading this post.

And if you are patenting ideas and concepts and thoughts, it is high time you read this quote by Joseph Badaracco - "In today's environment, hoarding knowledge ultimately erodes your power. If you know something very important, the way to get power is by actually sharing it."

Finally, although my thoughts about banishing the patents are noble, there is one reason why it would not work - Because the world is not fair. And I hope this can change one day.

Banish The Patents Banish The Patents Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Monday, January 09, 2012 Rating: 5