Patents and Copyright

To the extent that their protections are in the interests of The People by promoting research and development, patent and copyright protection shall be made available to works available within the Globality.

This pretty much rules out all software and business model patents, and indeed all the obvious, useless, or even completely unworkable ideas that make up the bulk of the things the US PTO has granted patents for. The major purpose of these patents currently is to stifle innovation or as a tool for the legal system to use to impose parasitic loads on the competition (or even potential competition) which of course provides no benefits at all to The People. Although a convincing case can be made to abolish all patent and copyright protection (e.g. see Boldrin & Levine, 2010), doing so could have devastating effects on industries such as drug manufacture and many forms of entertainment. The Matchist way will be to take small steps toward the goal of maximizing innovation, assessing impact as we go.

Acquiring a patent should require a working model or at least an engineering diagram and specification that would allow a craftsman to build a working model without additional support from the inventor. The patent would only be valid for a short period (e.g., 5 years, exclusive of any government-required safety and efficacy testing) unless an actual product using it had become commercially available, after which it could be renewed for an additional period (10 years?). The patent agreement must include specific requirements on license fees and restrictions to prevent monopolistic abuse of the patent. The restrictions on design patents and copyright should be much lower, and in most cases where form follows function will actually provide better protection than a patent on an invention would. Copyright protection should only last long enough to recoup the cost of developing the original work (10 years?) whereas trademarks could be renewed as long as a corporation continues to use them.

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