[NAFEX] Moral and Legal Patent Quandries
w.freels at worldnet.att.net
Wed Feb 15 09:53:08 EST 2006
Thanks for your message concerning plant patents.
Hope everyone reads the message and understands your correct ethical and legal point of view.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jwlehman at aol.com
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 6:10 AM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Moral and Legal Patent Quandries
In a message dated 2/15/2006 5:25:54 AM US Eastern Standard Time, loneroc at mwt.net writes:
The patenting process has led, in many cases, to massive private
enrichment (both corporate and academic) at the expense of the public
pocketbook and it is part of a system that has resulted in an impoverishment
of agricultural diversity rather than the reverse. Seems to me that the
problem of funding such worthwhile horticultural endeavors is to provide
adequate funds for institutions doing the work. If political forces whose
ideological bent to privatize the entire public realm refuse to pony up the
dough, then the answer is to vote 'em out of office, rather than to depend
on the 'incentive' of patent protection.
I find your view and mine nearly 180 degrees out of phase. Although I totally agree on the description on Bill Gates as a robber baron. I believe his wealth is based more on immoral business practices slamming the door on competition rather than is patents.
In 1991 a group of NAFEX members went on a Hort exchange agreement to the Soviet Union. We saw a system you describe above which was the worlds largest experiment in socialism. It failed. There all research was funded by the Gov. No plant patents were issued. All material bred and developed was public domain. My friend, it was a miserable failure in total. Yes, we did see large huge plant repositories like 1,500 grape varieties in a single vineyard at one research station, gov funded. Large breeding programs, estimate 6,000 Prunus in one breeding plot, Gov. funded.
There profit was a dirty word and a crime. One couldn't even legally sell the shirt off ones back. You could give it away, but to sell it could land one in jail. Certainly the KGB (was more than just a spy network) could send you back to attend the Scientific Communism class, and yes there was such a class mandatory in collage. This was told to me by a Russian immigrant who is now a US citizen employed by a US petrochemical company. He loves this country that issues patents.
I'm not trying to change your mind, just relaying my point of view and part of the basis upon which it is based.
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