Sick Idea: Using Patents to Kill People

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| Poignant? It's basic human decency. Imagine being unable to use a life-saving
| technique on a patient simply because it was "patented", and the licensing
| fees were exorbitant. Imagine, indeed, the situation in developing countries
| that can't even afford medical equipment, much less absurd, intellectual
| monopolies.
| There's a reason we don't have patents on such things: they represent basic
| human knowledge of the kind whose invention and transmission down the
| generations lies at the heart of our civilisation and humanity. The day we
| start charging for this kind of thing is the day we as a race are in deep,
| deep trouble.

Surgical exceptions to patentability -- clash of principles, few EPO examiners

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| Of all the exclusions from patentability, most poignant is the bar on
| patenting methods of surgery, therapy or diagnosis practised on the human or
| animal body. While it seeks to release medical practitioners from the
| shackles of commercial monopoly and legal liability when choosing how best to
| treat their patients, many argue that its true effect is to stifle the
| creation, publication and promulgation of new techniques that save lives or
| improve their quality.

No hope for things to be resolved with a reform:

Analysis: patent reform bill unable to clean up patent mess

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| Last September, the House of Representatives approved the Patent Reform Act
| of 2007, legislation that would make important changes to America's patent
| system. With the legislation being fiercely debated behind closed doors in
| the Senate, Ars takes a closer look at the legislation's provisions, the
| major players in the debate, and the legislation's prospects for curing what
| ails the American patent system.
| [...]
| The legislation does almost nothing to rein in the Federal Circuit's
| increasingly permissive attitude toward patents on abstract concepts like
| software, business methods, and mental processes. Only one provision of the
| Patent Reform Act addresses this issue: the House bill includes a prohibition
| on patents for tax planning methods.

Maybe the only rescue from the USPTO is some form of economic irrelevance or
collapse. Too many corrupt politicians are held down by the thumbs of
corporations that need intellectual monopolies.


Ethics @ Work: Are property rights in ideas unethical?

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| Business ethics usually have little to do with ethics. In most practical
| cases the ethical value is agreed upon, and the ethics professional is
| charged with making sure they are reflected in practice. However,
| occasionally we are privileged to encounter a truly innovative ethical
| doctrine that seeks to challenge existing paradigms. A fascinating example is
| the "free content" movement, often identified with programming pioneer
| Richard Stallman who leads the related "free software movement." * * *