December 03, 2004

Brazil AIDS Patents Violations

Some of the enemies of freedom routinely accuse people like me of being opposed to the patent system as such (anti-patent), just because we ask for meaningful limits to patentability. That is in most cases a misrepresentation which deserves striking back with some colorful rhetoric.

Theoretically, it is quite possible to oppose only patents on software, while not yet asking for complete wholesale abolition of the patent system in other areas. That would be my position now, since I am agnostic on the question if the patent system causes more harm than good in its traditional areas.

However, I definitely support Brazil's decision to break patents on AIDS medication reported in this BBC article. In the conflict between saving lives and saving profits, count me on the side of the patients, not the patents.

The IPKat comments on this question like this:

Certainly there’s merit in making medicine available to those that desperately need it, but if this action stops future medical innovations from finding their way to Brazil, this could be an own-goal.

I don't understand that. "Future medical innovations" will be disclosed in patents worldwide. From there Brazil or any other nation can take the information. So how are the patent holders supposed to "stop" this?

Link credit: BoingBoing.

Posted by Karl-Friedrich Lenz at December 3, 2004 10:25 PM | TrackBack