Walmart warning us about China


LOL, good one CT!


“First thing we do…? Kill all the lawyers.” (Source of that quote forgotten :vb-embarassed-laugh: )
Not saying patent law is perfect and doesn’t get abused like a rufied prom date…

You can’t un-drink water (after your body processes or store it, anyway), but what happens if the city finds you have an illegal tap into the municipal water main? Is not one drop of water very like any other, and the water itself of negligible value? Will it not be returned to the environment to be endlessly recycled? Why is the behavior criminalized?

Do you not implicitly acknowledge their rights to exclusivity of design when you purchase their product labeled “Patented”? Otherwise, why not build your own without ever purchasing one of theirs? Or buy something that isn’t patented? Or do your own research? You didn’t power it up and agree to that EULA, did you? I sure hope not!

So is tapping into the city water main without permission. The exact crime is called “theft of services”, which is exactly what you do when you exactly copy apple’s design. It is not the information itself that is stolen, it’s the service of collecting, organizing, collating, and presenting it in usable form. Harvard doesn’t get paid for knowledge, they get paid for teaching. Do you wish to make the argument that teaching is of no value?


But that will always be theft. Copyright/patents aren’t, as they expire. These don’t behave the same way, and it’s because we’re acknowledging that this right isn’t natural. It’s artificial, created by Government.

Under natural circumstances, people only commit a crime if they trespass to get your information, not because they reversed-engineered your idea.

Furthermore, and this cannot be understated; mandating IP as a right bottlenecks development. Ideas & technology have to be iterated upon to get to the most functional & useful variant, and it’s highly likely that the first person who comes up with it, won’t know how to do that.

Our system not only slows that iteration, it loses designs (and art) to legal hell, where no one can touch them, in fear of patent trolls.

I’m not finding that, Intellectual property theft seems to be a different charge.

Which all involves inventing things yourself, because again, material engineering, production, and other discipline information isn’t something you get, just because you found the blueprints for the widget. You have to develop all those other things yourself.

As an inventor, you’re under no obligation to share your widget information; as such, trespass and employees violating contract should be the only standards enforced here. Virtually everything else should be fair game.

If I copy your product, and make it as good or better than yours, or make a cheaper version more people will buy, I’ve added value to the marketspace. We all even acknowledge that this is the goal, because IP expires.

The argument is whether there’s any use in having the Government dish out temporary monopolies on an idea, and I’m going to stiffly answer “no”. There’s plenty of reason for companies to still do R & D, and you aren’t proclaiming open season on companies just because you take this one thing away.

Contracts will still have their rules, and trespass will still be illegal.


Isn’t the same water it was theft to take from the city water main fair game after it passes beyond the cities jurisdiction? I mean the exact same molecules of water. How can they belong to the city here, but not there? Would it not always be criminal to continually spy on a research facility (corporate or scholastic) to see what new knowledge they have unearthed for quick profit? Yet all knowledge passes, sooner or later, (these days more sooner than later, what with the www) into the public domain.

Isn’t everything men do artificial? That is created by artifice from the root words ars (art) and facere (to make), meaning clever or cunning devices or expedients?

See my very first comment in my last post.

Macintosh, Fuji, both kinds of apple.

Just because you have material engineering, production and other disciple information doesn’t mean you have a workable set of blueprints. You have to develop that for yourself. (Or, ya know, licence someone else’s design?) Just as reasonable, isn’t it?

Again, if you do not want to honor a patent, you are under no obligation to buy a patented product. That’s stickin’ it to the man! QED. When you buy a patented product, you acknowledge the patent by parting with your hard earned cash. I notice that you conveniently ignore the EULA (which is a contract, isn’t it?) which most likely specifically prohibits reverse engineering for the purpose of duplication. Hope you didn’t need to see it in operation!

Aren’t improvements to existing products are patent-able, even if you don’t own the patent for the original product?

No, you have merely dispersed the value of the creators invention.

EDIT: Crap, ya know what? I’m not going over this again, minor spelling errors be danged. If’n ya’ll cain’t figger out what I mean, to heck wit’ it!


No; then ownership passes to whomever has junior rights. Maybe it’s another municipality, maybe its the private landowner the water runs by, maybe you’re in Washington where it now belongs to the State.

By not using it, they forfeit it. There’s even clauses for how many acre feet you’re allowed to extract, and must allow to flow downstream for junior rights holders to use.

Patents, do not work this way. You’re aren’t passing from one rights holder to another, it’s just now anyone can use it.


Natural rights, by their very definition, pre-exist. They exist as a consequence of our own (human) existence.
Just like markets, or languages, or musical movements, or anything else emergent.

By human action, not by human design.

The Constitution didn’t create natural rights, nor does it imply that it does. It simply acknowledges them, and seeks to prevent interference.

I’m talking about the absolute material requirements needed to develop a product, you’re just talking about a legal barrier. If I reverse engineered a product and produced it, I still did work.

If I can do that without trespass or violating contract, it’s worth letting people do it. We have the numbers on this:

In fact, recent studies by Petra Moser and Heidi Williams, among others, find little evidence that patents boost innovation. On the contrary, because they lock in incumbents’ advantages and drive up the costs of new technology, such protections are associated with less new or follow-on innovation, weaker diffusion, and increased market concentration. This has contributed to growing monopoly power, slowing productivity growth, and rising inequality in many economies over the past couple of decades.

I’m also not allowed to build or sell one if I think I can make it.

So no, this is not the reality.

But not sellable as a product of your own, without the prior patent.

Nope, I have made humanity tangibly better off, because I did something with that idea the creator either couldn’t or wouldn’t.

Again, this is what Japanese economist credited the “pirate” economy of China doing, dramatically raising living standards in the 3rd world by creating cheap versions of western products people couldn’t possibly afford otherwise, or couldn’t expect to be sent into their markets if retailers had to pay licensing fees.

And, looking back, this process is even highly accredible to the success of the Japanese, and ourselves:

“Stealing ideas” lead to human flourishment. There’s no way around that.


Walmart is only worried about the ‘bottom line’ and not about American jobs or American spending.


Which is good. They grow their sales base, put up more stores. Value is created.

The point of the economy is to create value, not jobs. Jobs are a secondary effect. Confuse the priority, you get China like bubbles, or Soviet-like shortages.

If Socialist economies can mass copy something to out compete you, it’s time to up your darn game. Just like the Germans do.


But the city no longer has any claim on it. It becomes fair game for the ‘junior rights holders’, which in a public [navigable?] waterway is the public (to some extent, at least. Water rights issues are damn near as convoluted as patent law)

I’m not clear exactly what your saying there. I don’t mind telling you, I don’t know how patents actually work, under current law. For the purpose of this discussion the quality (or lack thereof ) of existing patent law is very much beside the point of whether or not patents are a thing that should exist at all.

Then they aren’t something that men do, are they? Whereas the entire body of human law is an artificial construct. Should we dispose of it, then, and have no codes of acceptable behavior, or punishments for violating them?

Irrelevant how awful current patent law might be.

Obviously not if original product and improvement are an integrated unit with no appreciable changes to the original design. I’d think that an add on module would be perfectly legal, (it ought to be) but I don’t know patent law.

Crap, fell asleep working on this and have to eork. Might finish later


You first…

I’m not arguing about possessing the knowledge; I’m talking about using it for a profit after someone else spent the research money to discover it.



Patents and copyrights are the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man’s right to the product of his mind.

Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

Our resident psuedo libertarians/classical-liberals seem to have trouble distinguishing between “content of his mind” and “product of his mind”.


Your posts are spot on, Qix.


You might get away building one for yourself, but you still can’t sell it, even if you never saw or heard of the original. You are expected not to use the knowledge in your head even if you know nothing about a similar product.

Water is a tangible thing. Knowledge is difficult to keep out of your head – unless your a modern college student :wink: Even stealing garbage service, which is an act as opposed to a product, isn’t the same. The trash can belongs to another person, and you should have permission before you stick your stuff in it.

Also theft of services has much lower maximum penalties than theft of IP. I always thought that was weird. At the low end of the spectrum, you get caught stealing a physical DVD from Wal-Mart, and you’ll get probation and a relatively small fine. At best with IP, if a copyright troll catches you, you’ll pay thousands of dollars you don’t have.

You have no right to be on the property without permission, but if you hear a lecture, you hear a lecture. Harvard shouldn’t and probably won’t bill you later if you manage to sit in on a lecture.

No. The pipes belong to your city. The service lines belong to property owners (maybe some cities own those, dunno). Are you referring to water that passes outside a city to rural customers? If you’re talking about waterways and water rights, that’s a different issue.

The same way Milky Way molecules belong to you after you pay for them at the checkstand.

I have a hard time imagining when it wouldn’t be and when it oughtn’t be.

Literally nothing has passed into the public domain in more than 40 years. That will finally change Jan. 1 when things from 1923 begin entering the public domain.

We do? Where’s that located? I haven’t seen a EULA for stuff.

Yeah. Isn’t that fun! Check out the history of steam engine patents and technological breakthroughs. You can patent it. Then someone can improve it, but no one can by the better thing because neither party will license their inventions.

Imagine you made a brand new kind of thing to do a thing, and it’s brilliant. You decide to build it and sell to other people who want to do a thing. Then someone comes knocking on your door and sues for all you made because he holds the patent. You didn’t even know he existed, but he under patent law owns the stuff that was in your head you developed after careful research of your problem

. Does that seem right or just?

Pseudo? Is Ayn Rand the one true libertarian against whom all libertarians and classical liberals are to be judged?


I finally figured out why J.Anderson is against patents. He like cover for the Red Chinese so that they can copy whatever they want.


Of course, there are the anarchist-libertarians. Your position and J’s actually seems closer to theirs.

“the base of all property rights” sounds quite unambiguous and fundamental to me.


You should understand that IP is pretty controversial among libertarians. Anarchos obviously all oppose IP law, but the minarchists are rather split, and many have mixed opinions – as I do. Ayn Rand and Objectivists do not, but they do not remotely represent libertarianism as a whole. Rather, actual non-pseudo-libertarians have a range of opinions in a number of areas. This is one area where libertarians are probably least homogeneous. This issue in particular is the one I think that sinks anarcho-capitalist arguments for courts and private law enforcement faster than anything.

Yes, J.'s, AS’s and my arguments against IP law are certainly close the anarcho argument,but they’re also remarkably close to the minarchist libertarian arguments against IP law – just not Ayn Rand’s. So your use of "pseudo-libertarian/classical liberals is just bizarre and confusing. Perhaps you though this was an anarcho-minarchy issue.


Speaking of city-owned water. It should be noted that many cities have absolute PROHIBITIONS against drilling or digging a water well on your own land and using IT instead of the water provided by the city.


No, but that isn’t what I was talking about. My argument was where J.Anderson was talking about knowingly copycatting an existing design; not originating something independent of someone else who also originated it independently and got the patent first. He specifically said:


For many years, anyone living in the metro Chicago area got their water free. I don’t know if that is still true, but my father worked for the Chicago Water Filtration Plant for 20+ years and I remember him telling me often about the free water.


qixlqatl, your example doesn’t work the same.

Fresh Water has a rights holder wherever it goes; patents offer rights to named individuals until they expire.

There’s no function of time in the former.

Civil law is artificial, yes.

Natural law is basically revealed law, much like the law of physics, but harder to define.

If anything violates Natural law unduly, getting rid of it should certainly be considered.

It’s not just about “Awfulness”; you were offering a false premise here.

It’s not just that I’m unobligated to buy the object, I’am punished, for making this object myself even if I never saw the blueprints.

Heck, even if I never saw or heard of the original object, but just happened to make something similar. This is simply irrational, and yeah, it prevents innovation far more than it can be argued to help.


Except; the property test doesn’t uphold that.

You don’t own a particular hair style, or a given collection of air molecules floating above your head that I happen to breathe in.

There are rules for how we determine what property is, and IP violates them. We keep it around because people argue it spurs on innovation.

Except it doesn’t; we’ve crunched the numbers, it gets in the damn way far more. This is broken furniture around the house that needs to be questioned.