Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Intelectual Property (Medical)

Joe Stiglitz reckons medical patents do more harm than good.

British researchers get around a medical patent by slightly altering a drug.

Software developers have been doing similar things for years in order to get around software patents (luckily software patents are not enforced in the EU :)).

For example, a big corp informs a developer that he's violating a patent (corporations have hundreds of thousands, so it's a veritable minefield). The software developer says, I didn't realise, don't sue me, I'll change my program. The software developer knows where he needs to go, and he knows which route is blocked by the patent, so he figures a way to reach the same solution without violating the patent.

Perhaps there's hope for cheaper medicines yet!

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