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Comment Re:I Can't Believe This (Score 3, Insightful) 284

Seed stock are only sold for one purpose. To plant.
Its not logical that you can buy a seed that can't be planted.

If it were an animal, could you not breed it? Does the owner of Secretariat get to say a stud descended from Secretariat can't be bred?

Living things can not be ruled as if they were widgets.

Comment Re:Good only for Monsanto. (Score 4, Interesting) 284

This doesn't stop until all food is proprietary. I think this fact is where the discussion should start.


This is a dangerous road to go down, and there is really no need to go down it.

We need the courts or congress to just tell Monsanto that their rights to the seed extinguished upon the bag of seed leaving their factory. As far as terminator seed goes, I suspect the market will take care of that. Farmers just won't buy it.

Comment Re:Good only for Monsanto. (Score 1) 284

This is exactly what will happen, and so Monsanto will put and end to many farmers' current practice of saving part of this years crop as next year's seed--since their seed yield will be reduced they negatively impact their future yield due to a percentage of the seed being sterile.

Except your crop is mostly pollinated by itself, and you can largely protect against cross pollination by simply arranging your crop planting to be earlier than the neighbor with Terminator seed, or later. Or, if you don't get along with your neighbor, threaten to sue.

Comment Re:Luddites. (Score 1) 284

Except for the problem that the pollen of these plants is not contained to the field that they are planted. That pollen will blow on the wind and can travel hundreds of miles on trucks, cars, birds and other animals and could then find its way onto other soybean plants which did not have the terminator gene. What happens then?

Like many other hybrid seeds, the terminator seed extinguishes its line in a single season. Its likelihood of getting into the wild is vastly reduced. The risk would be to the crops along the boundaries of immediate neighboring farmer.

Remember that the terminator seed probably has to produce pollen that works enough to allow the plant to produce seed.
Its just that the seed produced won't germinate (or something). So the neighbor's crop might grow just fine even when cross fertilized, but some portion of his seed may not work the following year. The rest would grow fine.

Perhaps it could be contrived by engineering the "terminator"crop to produce seed later than normal, when the other crops would have already produced their pollen, and set seed that would be virile.

Comment Re:I Can't Believe This (Score 5, Insightful) 284

Monsanto's argument will be that by spraying the field with round up, farmer B was deliberately selecting for the gene that Monsanto has patented.

Saving the best of a crop for next year's planting is also a time honored farming method. Selecting for some quality that is already present in your crop is perfectly normal. It was how crops were improved over centuries. One could probably get by using round up every other year, then Monsanto would be going after grandchild crops.

Because Monsanto can tweak this crop annually (on once every 17 years, or never, and just pretend they did), this is a patent that will never expire. There has to be some limits, and now is a good time to set them.

Lets just imagine this same technique is applied to controlling human genetics. Imagine parents paying for a in vitro genetic treatment that prevents cancer (or something) forever. Then the company come's after the children, demanding payment before the are allowed to procreate. This is a dangerous precedent to set.

So is terminator seed. Big fire at Monsanto, and the world starves because no seed grows? Stupid.

Comment Re:Getting to 24-48 hr advance warning (Score 1) 104

The ATLAS system's funding is a step in the right direction but as the article mentions the southern pole would remain a blind spot. Still, having one to two day's notice for an affected area would go a long way. We seem to have most of the >150m asteroids located through current efforts but that still leaves thousands or millions of undetected objects capable of wiping out a city and causing further catastrophe for nuclear facilities. The cost vs. benefit seems evident, better late than never.

Further catastrophe for nuclear facilities?

Come on, playing the nuclear card when the chances of a nuclear plant being hit by a meteor is vanishingly small seems to be a bit over the top, don't you think?. Maybe throw in your local school, so we can "think of the children" while you are at it...

Also, meteors are far less likely to approach us from the poles. Like most things, their orbits tend to generally align with the plane of the major planets. Slightly tilted with regard to our orbit, but polar approach seem very unlikely.

Right off the top, you can write off 3/4 of meteors as they will statistically land in the ocean. (And no they won't cause a tsunami).
Then you can write off another large percentage that will hit farm land or forests.
Finally you get down to about 1% of the earths surface that is occupied by people.

Then lets measure the damage? 1908 = nill. 2013, several million to replace broken glass, and patch up cuts and scrapes. (Lesson: Don't watch meteors thru windows).

Seriously, this is statistically a huge waste of money.

Comment Re:Of course it protects the small investor (Score 4, Insightful) 267

He had already licensed the technology. He wasn't holding out. It was a simple bill of materials problem as you surmised.

He failed to notice the electronics age obviated the need for a spring as an energy storage method.

Since all he actually held a patent on was the clockwork for releasing spring tension, when that method became un-necessary, he lost out.

John Hutchinson, chief technology officer at Freeplay, said Mr Baylis had voluntarily sold his shares in the company and that technology had moved on, leaving his original patent outdated.
He said: “Freeplay developed its own technology and by 2000 no more clockwork radios were made. The method was to use human power to recharge a battery.

I fail to see what his complaint in here. Competitors aren't using the ONLY thing his 40 year old patent covered.
He had stock in the company that was making radios with his invention, and sold it. Had he held on to that
he would still be making some money, or at least have a nest egg.

I see nothing to complain about here.

Comment Re:Dumb patents (Score 1) 134

You do not get patents for statements like "A system for printing spreadsheets over wifi".
You get patents for specific claims made in your patent which describe specific things.

You've fallen for the Slashdot Summary Title Patent Definition.

Yet when you trace down and SSTPD, and actually, Read the Fine Patent, you will find an actual METHOD and perhaps an APPARATUS for doing what the patent claims.

Comment Re:Dumb patents (Score 1) 134

I have qualms about letting any living thing be patented because if it escapes into the biosphere it becomes impossible to commercially control.

Being patented might well be the least of all worries if a "living thing" escapes into the biosphere. Patents have no bearing on such an event, or the potential harm (or good) that might result.

Comment Re:I don't see patent trolls as the real issue (Score 1) 134

Clear out the super obvious and overly wide "because it's on the internet" and "because it's over wifi" type patents and there would be a lot less patent mines to avoid while developing a product.

Easily said, but just how would you propose to do such a thing?
In fact, how do you propose to even DEFINE such a thing?

People always dug in the ground for food.
Then a caveman picked up a handy stick and used that to dig with.
Does that forever block patents on digging machines of all types, even when new technology comes along?

So when we invent tractor beams, digging with a tractor beam instead of a shovel is not patentable?
(after all, its still just digging with a tool).

1) You need to provide clear an concise guidance on exactly what you consider patentable,
2) you need to define what is too broad, and what is too obvious.
3) Then you have to get everyone to agree with you, or at least a majority.

If any part of 1, 2,or 3 were easy, whores would do it. This is a sticky problem, and blithely suggesting clearing out the super obvious and overly wide patents, without defining "super obvious" or :overly wide" isn't going to cut it. Hindsight makes a lot of things "super obvious".

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