How Patents stifle and go against Human nature

Coming to the US has introduced me full force to the Patent system prevalent in the country. “Intellectual Property” as it is called rules large aspects of America’s legal system. Almost anything can be patented – right from software, to hairstyles (as my wife told me), to business practices. Coming from a country where such things don’t enter most people’s minds, I’ve been able to observe it from outside, and have realized that it’s contrary to the very thing that makes humans special.

It’s a travesty and an insult to the natural behavior of humans and goes against the very impulse that has propelled humanity to the top of the food chain. Don’t believe me? Read on!

Image Credit: 917press

Patents and Intellectual Property are killing us
Patents and Intellectual Property are killing us

Being copycats makes humans great!

Does anyone really think that the brain of a human is good enough to survive in the wild by itself? Take any human, with his opposable thumbs, his giant brain, and his upright stature – take him and dump him (say it’s a guy) in the middle of a forest. He wouldn’t have a chance. Not one in a hundred – unless he can reach civilization somehow. No fur, claws, flight, smell, speed, strength (relatively), or super cool eyesight. Chances are he’ll wind up in several bellies in no time – opposable thumbs and all. Don’t kid yourself. None of us know how to make a fire from scratch, carve weapons, or hunt.

So what makes us stand out? What put us in a position to decide the fate of the planet? What makes us a super predator? I’ll tell you what. Learning. Mimicking. Because children don’t have to learn how to make a fire by themselves, and can build on knowledge freely transferred from others. If one person invented a superior spear, that invention (if it works) would spread throughout the tribe, enhancing it as a whole. Enhancing humanity as a whole. The advances made by one person are quickly propagated and give the entire race an edge.

Sophisticated ways of passing on knowledge to others via writing merely cements our position. Looking at what others are doing and improving on it has made us what we are. Communication, learning from others, copying others and building on other’s work. Not any inherent intelligence or dexterity.

Inventing and Copying are Instinctive

These two qualities are therefore built into us. We invent on instinct and curiosity. We copy and improve without conscious intention. It is our nature to make things as well as copy them. Individual inventors never really need an external motivating force to invent. They have it in them from the start. If the right mind exists, and the right materials exist, an inventor cannot help inventing and exploring any more than he or she can help thinking.

We don’t need “Intellectual Property!”

The moment we start imposing “Patents” and IP on inventions, we throw a spanner in the entire works. We bring to a grinding halt the diffusion of technology and ideas that have served mankind so well in the past. Did people never invent before patents existed? Did the man who first made fire do so because he could sell the idea? People who claim that patents and intellectual property motivate people to invent seem to think that innovation needs an external reason to take place. We’re humans! It’s in our blood dammit!

The entire concept does gross injustice to human nature as a whole and stops us from progressing. The problem is compounded in emerging markets like India and China. Patents are getting in the way of combating climate change, and it is at this very moment that we need the diffusion of technology more than ever. In its time of ultimate crisis, humans need to reach out for the very qualities that have tided them over for thousands of years. Adaptability, adoption, looking at others and learning. This is no moment to hold back!

As a first step, let us get rid of Patents and Intellectual Property (at least for clean technologies), and let us work together to save ourselves.

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9 thoughts on “How Patents stifle and go against Human nature”

  1. You kind of convinced me… I never gave a thought to patents…

    About copyrights… I guess I would be delighted if someone 'stole' 'my' ideas of tolerance, peace, live and let live :lol:


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