03.07.05

The other side of patents

Posted in Society at 1:51 pm by Pirate Praveen

This was a reply my friend Amar got from one of his friends. Thought it might be of interest.

[ All these discussions are available from the wiki http://bangalore.gnu.org.in/?Patents ]
The original mail was

Dear Friends,

Patents are a devious tool to harm developing countries’ development.
Not only will patents harm software; but will also lead to rise in
prices of medicines.[Read further for more info]

What you can do ?

a) Post this on your blog/website too if you have one
b) Email this to as many people as you know
c) Email to the Editor of various magazines, newspapers that we
don’t want patents
d) Email to the President of India and any political party in
India who has an email

Why are patents bad ?

………………………..

Full email is avalilable with fsf-friends mailing list archives of March 2005

Read it

Hello Amar, its really nice cing a wonderful mail 4m u.i do appreciate ur concern for the people of the thirld world.but u r missing one important point in ur mail- Removal of patents may lead to the end of Reasearch and Development in the world.If there are no patents no firm will be trying to find out a medicine for AIDS or any other diseases like that.In order to develop a product they need to pour 100 s of crores for a span of 7-10 years,who is going to repay their costs?? the only way to recover their costs is through patents!. i am neither pro rich nor in support of life time patents.The only point iam stressing is to find innovative ways to crack this problem.Some of the ways i suggest is
1. Its better if these MNC’s have tie ups will low cost destinations like INDIA for their Reasearch activities, so that the cost of development is much lesser, so that they can recover their expenses within less duration resulting in reduction of Patenting period.
2.The other best way is the government should take the reponsibilty of bearing the expenses of reasearch, but it may sometimes reflect in increase of taxes.
3.The other way is the firms doing research may float some bonds relating to that particular product and the persons possesing those bonds are eligible for some concessions while purchasing those products in addition to that the bond holders becomes life time partners as far as that particular product is concerned. This may give rise to some accounting difficulties.
4.The other way is the health insurance permium is made a bit high and it should be made compulsory for all these health insurance firms to invest in research of life saving medicines. But in such cases if there is any failures in the results of the research, the insurance firms may be bancrupt and governments should come for their rescue.
5. The other better way is on the same lines of WTO and IMF we do have World Research form where the scientists were employed from all over the world.As far as funding is concerned its better if IMF gives them loans. In case of any failure in Research their loans should be waved off, here comes the actual problem like who is going to bear their losses.
6.All the above things that are suggested cannot be implemented immediately, the immediate measures that can be taken are better we have a global agency which estimates the patenting period,there should be some clauses in the patenting rule in order to reduce the cost of some life saving medicines,the goverment should subsidise the cost of medicines as it is subsidising kerosene,gas..etc., the amout that is spent through subsidy should be recovered by haing some cess on Pubs,Bars,Cigarettes,Liquor,Brand launch events,Special events like New year celebrations,start Casions at some tourist destinations that to only for foreigners and people who earns above one lakh per month.
Dear Amar iam very sorry if i had hurt any of ur feelings, the mail u had sent is totally biased, now the current mail has both sides of coin, better u start a blog on this
issue and try to have debate among so called educated people so, that v can have better ideas, better views and better solutions.

Ankit Malik replies to it

i had a similar conversation with someone very pro-patents.

i have just my two cents :

Is money more imp. than saving millions of lives? Will no money stop R
& D? Then in the same vein, there wud be no R& D in the FLOSS sector
too… Then how did cool good apps like Firefox come up?

And Ayyappadas writes in glugc

Dear group members,

I’m happy to find the members of this group responding to one of the most pertinent issue of the day. Product Patents. The most ridiculous and anti-social law after imposition of emergency…. And perhaps will kill more people in our nation and many third world countries than a disasterous war. This happen to be a classic example of how a “so called democratic” nation can snub the interests of a larger humanity for a thirty filthy silver coins from “the powers that be.” Like most of the people who had responded about this, I’m too using such strong words after a thorough study about the pros and cons.

Patent is a recogition to creativity. But if it is not limited to that the result will be disasterous. Think, had Newton a chance to patent his famous second law of motion (even such idea patents may come up in due course) what would have happened to the mordern world. He would have been a thousand times wealthier than Bill Gates at the expense of snatching the a daily meal from a poor house hold. All edifices of technology and science stand up on the contributions from more humanist intellectuals and organisations than business firms. No law should jeopardise the needs of a larger humanity for the vested interests of a handful.

From here, my home town, some of us are aleady part of this campaign and is sending post cards to Indian administration. Even people in NITC campus can think about those measures too. Email is OK. but a post card can create much more impact and awareness among the larger public.

Every one, think, find out more and respond…….

Sandip Bhattacharya replies to the above mail

> missing one important point in ur mail- Removal of patents may lead to
> the end of Reasearch and Development in the world.If there are no
> patents no firm will be trying to find out a medicine for AIDS or any
> other diseases like that.In order to develop a product they need to
> pour 100 s of crores for a span of 7-10 years,who is going to repay
> their costs?? the only way to recover their costs is through patents!.

Bull. Are you trying to say government funded medical institutions like
AIIMS, etc. dont do any medical research? The government allocates
crores of rupees for the heath sector. Do you think if private sector
dries up, the government will not do anything about it? A large amount
of money in technical and medical research in US is done using
government funds. WHO/United Nations and many non-profit organizations
fund medical projects. What about them?

You think there is more private sector medical research because the
private sector has to make it seem like that.

Who do you think comes up with medicines for diseases in the third world
today? It is not these private medical firms! These firms only make
medicines for people who can pay (and of late, people who can pay *a
lot*)

Diseases like AIDS, cancer affect the rich people too and therefore
there are medicine for them. When demand becomes more than supply,
prices will rise till the prices of medicines perfectly balance the
demand and supply. Simple laws of economics – only we are talking about
life and death here. Maybe it is time we take the decision that laws of
economics dont apply in the medicine sector in its purest form … or
even a decision where branding of medicines is banned i.e. only service
(i.e. only generics) and not product based business is done here.

Anand Babu writes

| > missing
one important point in ur mail- Removal of patents may lead to
| > the end of Reasearch and Development in the world.If there are no
`—-
I think this is a ridiculous argument. Instead it should be correctly
quoted as “Patents may lead to end of Research and Development”.

In the last 8 years “free access to information”, “open standards” and
“free software” has truly revolutionized the Research and Development
in various fields. Today we find scientists across the globe working
collaboratively, sharing their ideas and knowledge. This is very
crucial to the advancements in science and technology. Patents will
divide them all and kill the innovation.

Just take AIDS scenario and compare these two cases:
1. Patent approach: Few scientists, Closed doors.
2. Community approach: Scientists across the world, Collaborative.

Second case has a better probability of find the cure. Results of the
research will be open to all, there by making the medicine
affordable. Whole mankind will benefit.

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