Re: poly: Why interest rates may stay low

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Wed Mar 04 1998 - 08:33:53 PST

One other point which I wanted to clarify was the nature of the property
rights Robin is describing. Initially I thought he meant the right
to control the results of the new technology, whether nanotech, or AI,
or biotech, etc. In saying that property rights will probably not be
available, I thought he was predicting that these technologies will
usually be generic enough that patent protection is ineffective at
preventing competition. A particular implementation of the technology
may be patented, but generally there will be other ways of accomplishing
the same thing.

However as Robin has clarified his point, it appears that instead he is
referring to a different kind of property right: the right to prevent
others from beginning development on a new technology. This is a fairly
unusual kind of property right. It might exist if there were some crucial
technology which had to be used as some step in the new development,
and someone had a patent on that precursor.

Without this kind of property, there is no way to stop other people from
beginning their research efforts, hence you have the case Robin describes
where people start work as soon as the profits look marginally better than
existing investments.

I can certainly agree that most new technologies will not be protected
by this kind of property right. Generally, anyone can enter the race to
produce a new technology, with the property right coming only at the end
when the end product gets patented.

Received on Wed Mar 4 16:56:21 1998

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