Sadly, my first book is in vogue more so than before. The Trump Economy has made the title "As I See It: Class Warfare the Only Resort To Right Wing Doom" ever more prescient. One can only hope that as people go through the chapters of this book it will give them the knowledge that assuages any fear to engage those who purport to know. The ills of Patent law are interesting.
Anyone who subscribes to my media/radio show Politics Done Right can read all my current and subsequent books online. As I write chapters I put them online. Do note that until the book goes to print there can be major changes online.
Here is an excerpt on the ills of patents in our economic system..
As I See It (What Is Wrong With Our Brand Of Capitalism: Patent Law)
The corruption of the Patent Law by corporations presents another example of why our brand of Capitalism is a failure. As long as corporations can use patent laws to stifle competition or force the use of their patents for fear of prosecution, the semblance of America being a free market is a wishful mental fabrication.
Amazon.com filed for a patent in 1997 on the procedure for placing an online order over the Internet. The procedure using the OneClick button used on the Amazon.com site was patented. This is tantamount to BestBuy patenting how a customer presents their credit card for payment for their products in some select way. The patent was ultimately granted. At the time I was contemplating creating a web based ordering software package but because of the potential legal issues I may have to go through after investing substantial development time, I decided to scrap the project. This has probably occurred thousands of times. It inhibits healthy competition and total societal progress from the inability of having many different sources developing similar products and services which ultimate reduces cost and makes for better products and services.
Farmers are one of the pillars of our society. America’s farmers are productive because they work hard and because we have great universities that research best farming practices. America’s farmers are also very productive because of the work of many scientists at major agri-businesses developing plant strains and genetically engineered plants and seeds.
Corporations are allowed to patent genes. The requirements to get said patents are not even very stringent.
Patenting Genes, Gene Fragments, SNPS, Gene Tests, Proteins, and Stem Cells
In terms of genetics, inventors must
(1) identify novel genetic sequences,
(2) specify the sequence's product,
(3) specify how the product functions in nature --ie, its use
(4) enable one skilled in the field to use the sequence for its stated purpose
In creating genetically modified plants and patenting them corporations have claimed ownership to any seeds of these plants. This means that farmers that want to grow these plants are obligated to purchase these seeds from the corporation owning the patent to these plants. If a farmer grows genetically modified soybeans or corn, they are prohibited from saving any of the seeds to plant for the next season. They are forced to purchase it from the corporation owning the patent on said seed.
Corporations vigorously prosecute farmers who they believe are keeping some of their own seeds. What is interesting is that the field of a farmer who is using genetically modified seeds adjacent to a farmer who is not using genetically modified seeds could be contaminated by cross pollination of the fields. This could result in the farmer not using genetically modified seed crops yield genetically modified seeds which could force him at great cost to prove that he was not farming with stolen seeds.
This is not hypothetical. Corporations vigorously go after farmers who they suspect are using genetically modified seeds they collect from their own fields. As of October 26th, 2007 Monsanto, a corporation owning the patent to Roundup-ready soybeans, filed 112 lawsuits affecting 372 farmers and 49 small farm businesses. Many of the farmers’ fields were likely contaminated by adjacent users of Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds. It is impossible for the farmer to definitively show that these seeds were not pirated yet legal costs could eventually make it necessary for farmers to just settle and purchase seeds from these corporations to prevent going out of business altogether. Allowing the patenting of genetically modified seeds sets a dangerous precedence. It is the doorway of corporate control of our food supply with any restriction said corporation may want to apply.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have granted thousands of patents on human genes and about 20% of human genes are patented. Any corporation owning a patent on any gene can prevent anyone from studying, viewing, or testing that gene. This undoubtedly inhibits the timely development of cures, drugs, medicines, or tests for fear of lawsuits from companies owning patents to the gene. Giving corporations or anyone or entity the ability to own patents on genes can only be considered obscene and immoral. In our form of capitalism, it is a method to ensure that those who have the capital to control genes and in that respect life will command unlimited profit.
On May 12, 2009, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation filed a lawsuit against Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation who hold patents on the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 charging that patenting human genes violate the First Amendment and patent law because genes are “products of nature” and therefore cannot be patented.
On March 29th, 2010 the patents were invalidated. The decision stated
The resolution of these motions is based upon long recognized principles of molecular biology and genetics: DNA represents the physical embodiment of biological information, distinct in its essential characteristics from any other chemical found in nature. It is concluded that DNA’s existence in an “isolated” form alters neither this fundamental quality of DNA as it exists in the body nor the information it encodes. Therefore, the patents at issue directed to “isolated DNA” containing sequences found in nature are unsustainable as a matter of law and are deemed unpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
The decision is likely to be appealed eventually to the Supreme Court. It is for this reason that those sitting on the Supreme Courts matter. A court with a Right Wing tilt tends to be more corporatists in nature as opposed to ruling with biased toward the individual. The current makeup of the Supreme Court has a Right bias that unless a progressive president is maintained will likely change said bias from a tilt to an absolute Right Wing bend that is likely to further erode the rights of the individual in favor of corporations.
There are many other examples one could use to illustrate the destructive nature of patents. Ironically, those who believe in the infallibility of the market should really seek the abolishment of the patent as in their parlance; the market would sort things out. Those capable of bringing a product or service to bear at a price and quality desired by customers would be successful. The reality is the patent system is designed to allow a select few to control innovations in selected fields. Moreover, it provides disincentives for the improvement of technologies for fear of patent infringement.