Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is it real or is it Masnick?

On July 18, IPBiz, in the post
On guys who know things: Einstein was a patent clerk, sort of...
reproduced some text of Ryan Scott's post The Rise Of Techno-Cheating & Fall Of Memorization and made some comparisons to Mike Masnick/Techdirt on the topic of collaboration/re-imagination.

Surprise! On July 21, Mike Masnick had a post Is It Cheating Or Is It Collaboration? with much of the same text from Scott, with a conclusion:

Well said. Again, I don't think that "cheating" is the problem here. The problem is this focus on not teaching people how to work together to solve problems and assuming that everything needs to be done by the individual themselves. That's not how things work in the real world, and it does children a disservice to downplay collaboration and reinforce the idea that building off the works of others is somehow wrong. Standing on the shoulders of giants is important, or we're always reinventing the wheel.

The IPBiz post had stated:

The text -- Build on whats already out there, don't start from scratch. -- goes to the heart of the patent system. Issued patents (and most applications) are published, for the purposes of letting people know "what's already out there." Yet, of course, various IT people tell employees NOT to read patents. If there is a problem with the patent system, a good starting point is with people that don't read patents (and/or) publications.

An IPBiz post on April 28, related to both TechDirt and Joe Mullin, had included the text:

IPBiz notes that there is no reference given for the statement: Since there's evidence that most people believe—incorrectly—that patent lawsuits are about copying. Further, the impact of this statement depends on how "copying" is defined. If copying (or stealing) includes utilizing technology that is publicly known to belong to someone else, then using the term "copying" might not be inappropriate. The documents are called "patents" because they are publicly available, and their public availability places the public on notice. One has the aphorism "ignorance of the law is no excuse." Most members of the public don't know the contents of all laws, but a defense "I didn't know the law" is destined to fail. That patents are public is supposed to minimize needless duplication of research efforts. We do not want people to spend time re-inventing the wheel. People are SUPPOSED to read the patents and not waste time doing that which has been done before. [In passing, Mullin does not provide evidence about people/copying in an earlier article titled The Inventor's Tale unless anecdotal opinions constitute evidence.]


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