[MUD-Dev] Re: [Off-Topic] Patents (Was Re: Storytelling vs. Simulationist)

ApplePiMan at aol.com ApplePiMan at aol.com
Sat Oct 3 20:12:10 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998


At 10/3/98 3:49 AM Caliban Tiresias Darklock (caliban at darklock.com) 
altered the fabric of reality by uttering:

>>One of the problems with attracting volunteers, as far I can see, is that 
>>the process is of necessity "catch as catch can". 
>
>And it's different with paid employees? Since when? ;)

Umm... do you *really* need that answered? I'll guarantee you I can find 
more and better skilled people by offering remuneration than I can by 
asking people to give up their time "for the good of humanity", 
especially if that good is as nebulous as building a game system. Call me 
anything you like in the range from 'cynic' through 'battle-weary', but 
*I* wouldn't be involved in this project, putting in the ungodly strange 
hours I do, if I weren't convinced it will end up fattening my wallet.

>>I can't comment much 
>>more on systems that are under NDA and in fact may be patentable, 
>
>I'd urge you to consider the impact of patenting your systems. First, that
>means no one else can use it for several years. Second, that means you
>don't have any effective competition. The first is just plain unfair, and
>the second doesn't exactly encourage you to do the best job you can on the
>implementation. Just think about it. I won't tell you what to do, but I
>really do dislike patents and think the world would be a better place with
>fewer of them.

I realize I was the one who mentioned patents, but we've wandered *very* 
far from the garden path with this. Let me summarize the opposing view as 
quickly as I can, and then, AFAIC, the sub-topic of patents and paid vs 
volunteer labor is dead.

Why would I even consider spending years of my time and millions of 
dollars inventing a new technology if it were just going to end up 
benefitting my competitors more than it does me (in that they get the 
benefits of the new technology without spending the hours/dollars to 
invent it)? You'd see very little innovation if it weren't for patents, 
I'm afraid (again, call me a cynic, but most people are motivated by 
monetary gain).

That said, a patent is *not* always the best way to protect your 
invention, since patent applications are public record and lay bare the 
guts or your machine in glorious detail for all the world to see. Bottom 
line: consult a trained patent attorney before making decisions on "to 
patent or not to patent".

-Rick.


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