X-Message-Number: 18470
Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2002 19:03:15 +0000
From: Kennita Watson <>
Subject: Re: patents
References: <>

CryoNet wrote:
> From: 
> Kennita Watson expressed surprise that the cryonics organizations don't have
> patents. I'm not sure why she is surprised, but briefly:
> Patents are expensive and of uncertain value for several reasons which are
> more or less obvious. Among them is the question of novelty:
> "The subject matter sought to be patented must be sufficiently different from
> what has been used or described before that it may be said to be nonobvious
> to a person having ordinary skill in the area of technology related to the
> invention."

As far as expensive, Nolo Press has a book (Patent It Yourself) 
that suggests otherwise.

As far a novelty:  "Nail together two things that haven't been
nailed together before...."  Hugh Hixon and his ilk may think
"Any idiot could do that", but maybe it's not so obvious as all
that.  Running some of the designs past a patent attorney, or
checking out the book, seems a worthwhile exercise.
> ...In the medical field, there are many drugs that
> do the same job in slightly different ways and with slightly different
> efficaciousness, and they just fragment the market at great expense

Composition of drugs and cryoprotectants isn't what I had in mind.
I was thinking methods, processes, and physical apparatus designs.
The scope of the patent for the methods and processes can be 
written such that really minor changes are recognized as 
> A cryobiologist we all know has at least one patent, relating to high pressu
> re methods in cryobiology. Others also have similar patents. As far as I
> know, none has proven valuable, either commercially or in any other way.
> Knowledge was gained in the research, but the patent didn't affect that. My
> impression is that most patents are a waste of time and money.

If nothing else, there is prestige capital to be gained in having
patents, and even applying for one establishes the source of a 
given idea.  And I'm sure there have been many patents over the
years whose commercial value was not apparent in the short term.
> CI has designed and built cryostats of new types. We didn't patent them
> because, among other things, protection would be doubtful and the market
> small. We have freely given the information to others in cryonics.

I have heard horror stories about inventors being barred from 
producing their own inventions because some Johnny-come-lately
with deep pockets patented it first.
May you live long and prosper,
Kennita Watson          | Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
     |   None but ourselves can free our minds.
http://www.kennita.com  |           -- Bob Marley, "Redemption Song"

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