[pp.int.general] Biological patents
danielrr2 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 11 15:38:23 CET 2015
Thanks for the info, Muriel.
Unfortunately, the statements therein are contradictory. In this
"manifesto" (i am not sure this is the "manifesto" so many people is
talking about) we read (http://ppeu.net/wiki/doku.php?id=statutes:manifesto)
Patents are government-backed monopolies which are obstacles in a free
> market and increasingly hinder, instead of help, innovation. Patents should
> definitely never be given for things that are trivial, non-substantial,
> computer programs, business models, or anything unethical.
In the long term, an alternative system to support innovation must be
> developed to replace patents and ensure that the results of research come
> to the benefit of society.
This reads like a full endorsement of James words that "Pirates reject all
patents". Pirates do reject patents of software and (I hope) biological
patents. But it is wrong, I think, to reject in toto any other kind of
patent, nor I think there's a really good economic reason (economic reasons
and innovation are the reasons mentioned) to do so. Although the patents
system (or lack thereof) is far from perfect it doesn't mean *all* patents
are per se "obstacles in a free market". Maybe this is just "manifesto
language" (not the place to look for the fine grained definitions) but I
think we should be much more clear what do we think
The words in the Common European Election Programme (<
http://ppeu.net/wiki/doku.php?id=programme:ceep:final_cut>) make much
better sense at the start:
Patents mostly function as a deterrent to innovation rather than as an
incentive. The patenting of knowledge in areas like genetics and
biotechnology, as well as software, renders it a tangible threat to
the future of our society.
This matter-of-factly wording seems to me perfectly tuned to the Pirates
ideals. But then it goes on:
Monopolies on plants and seeds and costly legal disputes about often
trivial patents already demonstrate how it is both innovators and
consumers who have to pay the price. Patent law needs to be reformed
or replaced with an approach that enables freer and fairer markets
instead of continuing to further stifle innovation.
It seems to me like the focus is lost: the reasons for rejecting all
biological patents is conflated with the reasons to decry trivial patenting
and enormous costs in litigation that do hinder development. There are too
many different issues put on an equal footing. We should be careful to
separate where the patent system is an absolutely no go (some examples are
software, busyness models, biological organisms, short strings of words,
etc); those that would probably can be better served with a different
approach and those where clear and fast change is needed.
Please note that my words are not intended as an attack to the "programme"
as such. Is only an attempt to reach some agreement in a matter that seems
to me of the utmost importance and even urgency.
2015-12-11 11:37 GMT+01:00 Muriel Rovira Esteva <muriel at pirata.cat>:
> Dear James,
> I'm afraid not all pirates are against all patents. The consensus we
> were able to reach for the Common Elections for the European
> Parliament (CEEP) was more in the line of limiting and reforming them
> (the same for the PIRATES Manifesto). However, it was indeed a
> consensus that patents should not be granted to "works of nature", as
> far as I understood.
> Taking into account that 16 pirate parties subscribed the CEEP text
> and that the text was reached by consensus, I'd also say that it's the
> best place to start for a common ground to pirate ideals. I don't know
> of any pirate text that has been officially subscribed by so many
> From the CEEP:
> Patents in the Information Age
> Patents mostly function as a deterrent to innovation rather than as an
> incentive. The patenting of knowledge in areas like genetics and
> biotechnology, as well as software, renders it a tangible threat to
> the future of our society.
> Monopolies on plants and seeds and costly legal disputes about often
> trivial patents already demonstrate how it is both innovators and
> consumers who have to pay the price. Patent law needs to be reformed
> or replaced with an approach that enables freer and fairer markets
> instead of continuing to further stifle innovation.
> Rebalancing Patents with the Common Good
> PIRATES believe that patents do not exist to allow big businesses to
> stifle competition with an ever-growing tide of trivial and
> overreaching patents.
> We therefore want to halt the continued and increasing abuse of patents.
> Patents in the Information Society
> Economic success in the information society is no longer just
> dependent on technological inventions, but on the development of
> knowledge and sharing of information. The effort to regulate these
> factors, now, via the patent system is diametrically opposed to our
> demand for freedom of knowledge and human culture.
> Patents should never be granted for “inventions” that are trivial,
> non-substantial, computer programs, business models or works of
> nature. These types of patent impede the development of an information
> society and result in the privatisation of the commons. Small and
> medium IT companies throughout Europe prove that patents on software
> are no prerequisite to economic success. Innovation must be fairly
> rewarded, but this does not necessarily require the granting of
> monopolistic privileges that stifle innovation and negatively affect
> the access to essential goods.
> The EU, its member states and other industrialised countries should
> not force less developed countries to accept patent provisions that
> are likely to be detrimental to their essential needs, health,
> education or development opportunities.
> Patents, Medicines and Health
> PIRATES oppose the frequent abuses of patent privileges, such as
> introducing spurious changes to medicines with expiring patent
> protection. Uncompetitive practices such as paying competitors in
> order to delay the marketing of generics should be actively prevented.
> We support the establishment and funding of alternative methods to
> incentivise pharmaceutical innovation, to progressively replace
> patents in this area. It is our aim to break the direct link between
> the reward for advances and the price of the end product to ensure
> medicines are affordable for all.
> Universities and research institutes should be able to carry out
> scientific research for health and medicine without being encumbered
> by patents.
> International Regulation of Intellectual Monopolies
> PIRATES strive for a revision of the TRIPS Agreement in favour of
> restricting exclusive rights on intangible goods. We would aim for
> similar restrictions to apply to all trade agreements which may
> include similar or even more far-reaching regulations on patents and
> 2015-12-10 21:26 GMT+01:00 James O'Keefe <jokeefe at jamesokeefe.org>:
> > On Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 1:59 PM, Daniel <danielrr2 at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Related with the current thread on core tenets of the pirate movement
> >> like to know your opinion on whether rejection of biological patents is
> >> generally understood as one of these core themes. An absolute rejection
> >> them? With exceptions?
> >> Daniel
> > As far as I know, Pirates reject all patents, so biological patents would
> > also be rejected. Even if not all patents are rejected, then the idea of
> > "no patents on life" aka "No patents on nature" still applies. Why
> > someone get a patent for making a minor change to DNA (compared to the
> > trillions or more changes evolution has made) or for moving existing DNA
> > from one species to another?
> > peace,
> > James
> > --
> > James O'Keefe
> > Captain, Massachusetts Pirate Party / masspirates.org
> > w: http://www.jamesokeefe.org
> > e: jokeefe at jamesokeefe.org
> > m: 617-447-0210
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