Re: AltInst: Patent Buyouts

From: Lee Daniel Crocker <>
Date: Fri Mar 05 1999 - 16:09:31 PST

> Governments could offer to purchase patents at their estimated
> private value, as determined in an auction, times a markup
> equal to the typical ratio of inventions' social and private
> value. Most patents purchased would be placed in the public
> domain, but to induce bidders to reveal their valuations, a few
> would be sold to the highest bidder.

The obvious problem is that it's impossible to know the "value"
of an innovation until long after it has been in use. 99% of all
patents are worthless, and never appear anywhere except the
patent office. Of those that do find themselves in real products,
some are wildly successful beyond the dreams of investors and
inventors; some achieve more moderate success; some even lose
money; and a few are not successful until decades after their
invention, when other inventions or scoietal changes make them
practival (e.g. the fax machine, patented in the 1800s, had to
wait for modem and printer technology to catch up).

If any system for rewarding invention is necessary (I don't
think it is, but let's assume otherwise for the moment), I think
it would make more sense for inventors to simply register with
the patent office, and instead of receiving a monopoly, allow
anyone to use any patent at any time, and just tax the sales of
such products and distribute those taxes as royalties to the
registered patent holders.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC
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Received on Fri Mar 5 17:08:44 1999

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