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Author Topic: EP Flash: Patent Infringement  (Read 9126 times)

Russell Nash

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on: June 01, 2009, 08:09:08 AM
EP Flash: Patent Infringement

By Nancy Kress.
Read by Steve Anderson.

Kegelman-Ballston Corporation is proud to announce the first public release of its new drug, Halitex, which cures Ulbarton’s Flu completely after one ten-pill course of treatment. Ulbarton’s Flu, as the public knows all too well, now afflicts upwards of thirty million Americans, with the number growing daily as the highly contagious flu spreads. Halitex “flu-proofs” the body by inserting genes tailored to confer immunity to this persistent and debilitating scourge, whose symptoms include coughing, muscle aches, and fatigue. Because the virus remains in the body even after symptoms disappear, Ulbarton’s Flu can recur in a given patient at any time. Halitex renders each recurrence ineffectual.

Rated PG after intensive clinical testing.



Listen to this EP Flash!
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 09:41:47 PM by Russell Nash »



Doom xombie

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Reply #1 on: June 01, 2009, 02:33:43 PM
This episode made me want to beat up sales people, and kill the two business people in the story....

Look its a signature! And a dragon!





Talia

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Reply #2 on: June 01, 2009, 02:42:17 PM
This episode made me want to beat up sales people, and kill the two business people in the story....

And then eat their brains?



Doom xombie

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Reply #3 on: June 01, 2009, 02:55:23 PM
Oh yes, so little there though........

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Alasdair5000

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Reply #4 on: June 01, 2009, 03:21:33 PM
It put me in mind of Better off Ted:)

'So, the high pitched screaming and...that face.  It's irritating.'
'Well, maybe you shouldn't have vitrified his brain.'



Doom xombie

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Reply #5 on: June 01, 2009, 04:16:11 PM
Hmmmm I've never seen that show.... I must find it! Preferably online...
« Last Edit: June 01, 2009, 04:40:56 PM by Doom xombie »

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alllie

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Reply #6 on: June 01, 2009, 06:45:20 PM
Well, that made me furious, mostly because corporations can now hold the copyright on human genes, and the person from whom those genes were obtained is not entitled to even a small royalty no matter how much money they make for the corporation. The story is very close to nonfiction, sadly.



eytanz

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Reply #7 on: June 01, 2009, 10:41:37 PM
Meh. I agree with Allie - this is really close to non-fiction. But that just meant it was predictable and felt somewhat belabored.

As a side note, the ending would never work, at least not with the current patent system - presumably, the company would have acquired the patent after the doctor's work, as otherwise they wouldn't know they needed the patent. But since the doctor's work was published, they couldn't sue him, as doing so would put them in the very real risk of losing their patent, as basically any of their competitors would benefit immensely from hiring the doctor, then counter-suing them for prior art. And "publicity" is not a good enough reason, as their competitors would then have the patent, and publicity isn't good when they can't sell their product.

I can easily believe how a normal member of the public with limited resources, no paper trail, and a small-time lawyer could be crushed by a big corporation. A celebrity doctor with a well-established document trail? Not so much.



Russell Nash

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Reply #8 on: June 03, 2009, 08:37:23 AM
I liked the style and how the voice switched depending on why the letter was written.  It's an old technique, but I'm always amused by it.



Alasdair5000

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Reply #9 on: June 03, 2009, 11:08:51 AM
Hmmmm I've never seen that show.... I must find it! Preferably online...

It's more than worth it.  Imagine a sit com based in OCP from Robocop's R and D department and you're basically there.



Russell Nash

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Reply #10 on: June 03, 2009, 12:51:40 PM
This comic fits well here.  I think after a week they put it in the members section, sorry



MacArthurBug

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Reply #11 on: June 03, 2009, 03:52:01 PM
excellent story. I saw the relation to Better off Ted too, can
t tell if it was intentional on the writers part. Had a bit of a mad on for the big wigs here, and it hits WAY too close to home. I can SO see something like this happening.

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


Doom xombie

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Reply #12 on: June 03, 2009, 03:53:20 PM
Al your only making me want to see it more! I keep looking around online for some streaming episodes but i can't find any.Theres always a prog. I have to have admin priv. on my comp. for.... Shoot!!!!  XD

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izzardfan

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Reply #13 on: June 03, 2009, 09:08:51 PM
This comic fits well here.  I think after a week they put it in the members section, sorry

Perfect!  And the comments on the comic were very interesting as well.



deflective

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Reply #14 on: June 03, 2009, 10:04:49 PM
Well, that made me furious, mostly because corporations can now hold the copyright on human genes, and the person from whom those genes were obtained is not entitled to even a small royalty no matter how much money they make for the corporation. The story is very close to nonfiction, sadly.

to be fair, there are reasonable explanations for this.  patents (and copyright in general) are established to provide motivation for the intellectual work that our society finds valuable.  lab work is tedious and expensive, we need to give companies a reason to commit enormous resources to these projects.  the laws that protect designer drugs against cheap genetic knockoffs aren't there to protect a megacorporation's current profits, they're there to provide the motivation to create tomorrow's designer drug (though i doubt many lawyers or ceos concern themselves with the motivations behind the practice).

on the other hand, having a genetic pattern isn't something that needs to be motivated.  no effort involved.  if you've been born with a natural immunity then huzzah, what do you do with it?  the one action in this story that needed to be motivated was going to donate a sample and only reason why conflict existed was a missing clause in the waiver.  an offer of fifty bucks to collect samples is likely all the motivation required.

if patent laws were changed to give a percentage to the original genetic source then the likely result would be that companies would try to develop genes from non-specific sources since collecting samples would just open you up to litigation.  a modern equivalent is found in software companies that rarely listen to someone pitch an idea (unless its being given away) in case it turns out to be something they're currently developing.

so, overall, the result is slower development.  the exact opposite intention of patent enforcement.


I can easily believe how a normal member of the public with limited resources, no paper trail, and a small-time lawyer could be crushed by a big corporation. A celebrity doctor with a well-established document trail? Not so much.

even the first victory seems unlikely (though possible).  gene splicing would probably leave distinctive markers, it's a simple matter to test genetic material from your childhood to show the early presence of the gene, there is a limit paper trail showing that you were the first to file suit.

overall this is another politically charged story that doesn't explore new ground and isn't going to convince someone that doesn't already agree with you.  it's here to whip up indignation.



Russell Nash

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Reply #15 on: June 05, 2009, 06:44:34 AM
a modern equivalent is found in software companies that rarely listen to someone pitch an idea (unless its being given away) in case it turns out to be something they're currently developing.

This has been true of every form of entertainment for quite a while.  I know a few people who sent fan pieces to different Hollywood folks (pre-internet days).  All of it was returned unopened with a letter saying the the individuals/companies never accepted unsolicited work because of the possibility of litigation.

Billy Joel said around the time of An Innocent Man that he would love to listen to demos, see new bands, and maybe find someone to manage.  He also said he couldn't do it, because the second he starts accepting tapes the lawyers come and files lawsuits. 



Zathras

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Reply #16 on: June 08, 2009, 08:39:47 PM
Well, that made me furious, mostly because corporations can now hold the copyright on human genes, and the person from whom those genes were obtained is not entitled to even a small royalty no matter how much money they make for the corporation. The story is very close to nonfiction, sadly.

to be fair, there are reasonable explanations for this.  patents (and copyright in general) are established to provide motivation for the intellectual work that our society finds valuable.  lab work is tedious and expensive, we need to give companies a reason to commit enormous resources to these projects.  the laws that protect designer drugs against cheap genetic knockoffs aren't there to protect a megacorporation's current profits, they're there to provide the motivation to create tomorrow's designer drug (though i doubt many lawyers or ceos concern themselves with the motivations behind the practice).

on the other hand, having a genetic pattern isn't something that needs to be motivated.  no effort involved.  if you've been born with a natural immunity then huzzah, what do you do with it?  the one action in this story that needed to be motivated was going to donate a sample and only reason why conflict existed was a missing clause in the waiver.  an offer of fifty bucks to collect samples is likely all the motivation required.

if patent laws were changed to give a percentage to the original genetic source then the likely result would be that companies would try to develop genes from non-specific sources since collecting samples would just open you up to litigation.  a modern equivalent is found in software companies that rarely listen to someone pitch an idea (unless its being given away) in case it turns out to be something they're currently developing.

so, overall, the result is slower development.  the exact opposite intention of patent enforcement.


I can easily believe how a normal member of the public with limited resources, no paper trail, and a small-time lawyer could be crushed by a big corporation. A celebrity doctor with a well-established document trail? Not so much.

even the first victory seems unlikely (though possible).  gene splicing would probably leave distinctive markers, it's a simple matter to test genetic material from your childhood to show the early presence of the gene, there is a limit paper trail showing that you were the first to file suit.

overall this is another politically charged story that doesn't explore new ground and isn't going to convince someone that doesn't already agree with you.  it's here to whip up indignation.

Well said.



wakela

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Reply #17 on: June 11, 2009, 07:01:34 AM
I'm with deflective and zorag on this one.  I usually like Nancy Kress, and patenting genomes is a worthwhile thing to discuss, but every character was a two-dimensional parody leaving us with an enraged parade of dull cliches.

Since the story aroused my contrarian hackles, I found myself wondering if Milquetoast McSappy deserved any royalties.  It's not like he created anything, while the drug company spent a fortune to produce a product that society found useful in the extreme.

Note:  I'm sure he deserved royalties.  You can spare me the analogies.  My point was more that the story hammered it's point so relentlessly that it caused me to feel the opposite of its intention. 






JoeFitz

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Reply #18 on: June 22, 2009, 03:34:29 AM
I can't say any better what was said above with respect to this story falling flat.

Personally, if I donated tissue that led to a cure for influenza (to which I was already immune), I would already be richer than my wildest dreams.



Paranatural

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Reply #19 on: July 01, 2009, 02:34:14 PM
I liked it, mostly because I find the idea of patenting genes to be absurd.



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Reply #20 on: January 25, 2010, 07:20:14 PM
This story was more infuriating than entertaining, mostly because I can actually imagine it happening.  I would like to think that legal hearings were based on scientific evidence--all that would need to happen here to prove those were originally his genes would be to find some small amount of DNA evidence from his younger days to prove it--maybe his baby footprints on his birth cert. would have some skin cells, or some such thing.  But since legal issues, especially on the corporation level, tend to be resolved more by throwing copious amounts of money at them rather than resolving them based on actual impartial evidence, I'm afraid this could happen.  Hopefully none of the corporate lawyers heard this story--they'll be eager to set up a precedent now!