Re: poly: Idea Futures, some questions

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Wed Jun 03 1998 - 16:15:57 PDT

Nick B. responds to me responding to him ...
>> >Well, that is precisely the issue. Does idea theft (and the secrecy
>> >it necessitates) create a big cost? Maybe it does not, but ideally I
>> >would like to know of a reason for believing that.
>> The patent system now covers many areas of research, and patents are
>> subject to the same problem of idea theft. The cost of preventing
>> theft doesn't seem very large for patents are the moment.
>That's a totally different situation from the one to which I was
>referring. In the case of patents, what is stolen is not just
>one bit of information but a whole "story". One can detect a patent
>violation by looking a the product, but one cannot in any
>straightforward way detect the theft of one bit of information by
>looking, say, at the thief's trading record. So enforcement costs
>might be much higher in the case of Idea Futures.

I was referring to stealing the idea behind the patent, and so applying for
the patent before the true inventor did. Looking at a product doesn't tell
you who had the idea first.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627
Received on Wed Jun 3 23:21:08 1998

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