An interesting series of videos that discuss some of the issues with the patent system.

TED Blog

The Wright Brothers’ flying machine took off from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903. Credited as the first to successfully fly an airplane, the Wright Brothers were one of several in the early aviation game who were filing patents for their innovations and suing competitors who stepped on their turf. However, the US government eventually said ‘no’ to this patent warring.

“This was not so great for the development of the aviation industry,” says Ellen t’ Hoen in today’s talk, given at TEDxZurich. “This was a time when the US government was interested in ramping up the production of military airplanes. The US government decided to take action and forced those patent holders to make their patents available to share with others to enable the production of airplanes.”

t’ Hoen sees a parallel between this and the patenting of life-saving medications, like the antiretroviral drugs (ARV)…

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