Friday, November 11, 2005


Why open source is the answer to health care reform

In June, the US Patent and Trademark Office ruled that Pfizer's patent for Lipitor, a $10 billion a year cholesterol drug, might be invalid. Did the pharmaceutical company "get punked by a non-profit?"

The decision was the latest in a string of successful initial rulings won by Dan Ravicher, a 30-year-old lawyer and crusader against thosepatents that he says are bad for the public. He has also used PTO procedures to shoot holes in patents held by Microsoft and Columbia University. Part vigilante, part gadfly, Mr Ravicher has quickly earned a reputation for being part of a new breed of patent lawyers, and one worth watching.

PubPat's method has been taken up by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco and the Washington-based Patients Not Profits is using similar tactics to scrutinise drug and software patents.

In case you have not made the connection, the hole idea of attacking patents was the brainchild of Richard Stallman, the real unacknowledged created of GNU Linux. Not only do you get a good operating system but healthcare reform in the same distribution...

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