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Should a New Technology Change the Patent System? 159

linuxizer writes "Congress seems poised to turn an effort to create a pathway for generic biotech drugs, such as Remicade, into the exact opposite. Instead of the 5-year protection that traditional pharmaceuticals get, or the 0-year protection that the FTC recommends, the bill offers 12-year exclusivity with renewability for minor changes. The issue is highly charged, with activists waging a campaign to change the bill. Yet it also raises interesting questions for other technologies. To what extent do the traditional contours of patent law need to change in response to new technologies with a different set of market realities (biotech drugs are 22 times more expensive on average, and development costs for generics will be substantially higher) and in what direction? Need every new technological category get its own patent rules, and how do those rules get decided?"

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato