Problem

Patent abuse


Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Inadequate patent coverage
Inadequate patent control
Inadequate patent extension
Difficulty of patent application
Avoidance of patent restrictions
Nature:
Patents provide ownership rights to ways of doing things. Lack of coordination in national practices for awarding patents may result in discrimination against foreign patent applications; and may also cause infringement, in whole or in part, of existing inventions because of the unmanageable problem of document search.
Incidence:
A controversial patent was given to an American for observing that a hormone that is already checked during pregnancy tests has a previously unknown significance. This information is diagnostically important and commercially potentially rewarding. The patentholder did not invent the natural functioning of this hormone; therefore it is claimed that the patent was wrongly awarded.
Claim:
Patents, which represent the rights of inventors to dictate the use and distribution of their inventions, are actually little more than restrictive monopolies of private interest, which distort economic choices, hinder industrial growth, and are open to widespread abuse. Since every invention is based upon the evolution of wider knowledge within the society, why should one individual or company have exclusive control over the utilization of the invention.
Counter Claim:
There would be very little incentive for anyone or any company to invest in research if there were no safeguards on that person or company having exclusive rights to use the results of that research, even for a restricted length of time. The abuse of unscrupulous commercialization of another's research would be far greater than the present so-called abuse of the patent system.
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
20.05.1999 – 00:00 CEST