Dr. Chakrabarty

13 thoughts on “Dr. Chakrabarty

  1. 3

    It’s good he came along when he did. With the make-up of SCOTUS 35 years later, his case wouldn’t have stood a chance. Had today’s court been around in 1980, the biotech industry would likely be much smaller than it is now, with far fewer biotech-based treatments available. Sadly, we may be heading in that direction now.

    1. 3.1

      Good points Atari. That is the thing, though. The Lemleys of the world will yap back that you can’t prove that the biotech industry wouldn’t be bigger without patents.

      (Note that every innovation engine in the world has been fueled by patents, but the greatest destroyer of patents the world has ever seen will never admit that.)

      1. 3.1.1

        The Zeitgiest of Anti-Patent will simply not allow any such ‘thought’ to be entertained.


      2. 3.1.2

        Sure you can prove it. Name a country that innovates like the US traditionally has that does not have a patent system. Since there is none, that proves that the patent system spurred innovation.

        Lemley argued years ago that for most well-known inventor who got the patent and accolades, there was a parallel worker only a few days or months behind him who would have gotten there even if the patentee did not exist, meaning that the patent was not needed. The counterargument is that both the patentee and second person were motivated by patents. Only one patent can be granted on an invention, so number 2 loses out. But number 2 was motivated by patents, too.


          The Lemleys still argue that you can’t so a “but for” with patents.

          The argument about being a few days behind is ridiculous as are almost all Lemley arguments. It would be like saying that all those football players would be doing what they do without the Super Bowl.


            Another fallacy (and one pushed heavily by the departed Malcom Mooney) was that somehow patents were only “real” for innovations that required large expenses to develop and put products on the market.

            We see a tangent “flag bearer” of late from Paul (I know, shockers).

            Such may be “one of” the reasons for patents but by no means (ever) was such either a primary reason, much less a requirement.

            It is inte11ectually dishonest to pretend otherwise.


              re: MM: So you’re saying we can sing like the Munchkins after Dorothy throws the water on the witch?


                The only verification that I have is his absence.

                But after fifteen years of incessant blight, that absence is a bigger storm than the one that dropped the house.


          You have to realize, though, that the anti-patent sentiment comes in two distinct flavors. The socialist academic variety that thinks that there should be no personal possessions and that patents are inherently bad. The second flavor is just raw greed that is fueled by SV. You have to realize too that many of the professors are people of ordinary skill that have been lifted up by the support of SV. Lemley is one and so is Chen out of San Jose.

          The fact is that they have been winning big time.


            Sadly, I concur.

            (also, my past writings on ‘Attacks from the Left and from the Right’ mirror what you say here — the big squeeze of course is on the little guy in the middle, oft times the creator of market re-setting innovation)

    2. 3.2

      Had today’s court been around in 1980, the biotech industry would likely be much smaller than it is now…

      Good point. It is hard to sustain a biotech industry without US patent protection, as we are learning to our detriment post-Myriad.

  2. 2

    Ananda — one willing to stand up and fight the good fight.

    Biotech / pharma owe you one big thank you.

    God bless you and your family.

  3. 1

    Diamond v. Chakrabarty (Sup. Ct. 1980) is a great case. But perhaps the most misquoted patent case ever. Immediately after the wonderful famous patenting scope of “everything under the sun made by man” are it’s express limitations so often deliberately left out of the full quotation: “”This is not to suggest that § 101 has no limits or that it embraces every discovery. The laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas have been held not patentable. See Parker v. Flook, 437 U.S. 584, 98 S.Ct. 2522, 57 L.Ed.2d 451 (1978); Gottschalk v. Benson, 409 U.S. 63, 67, 93 S.Ct. 253, 255, 34 L.Ed.2d 273 (1972); Funk Brothers Seed Co. v. Kalo Inoculant Co., 333 U.S. 127, 130, 68 S.Ct. 440, 441, 92 L.Ed. 588 (1948); O’Reilly v. Morse, 15 How. 62, 112-121, 14 L.Ed. 601 (1854); Le Roy v. Tatham, 14 How. 156, 175, 14 L.Ed. 367 (1853). “

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