Communication Ethics book part for Non-Communication Intellectual Property . (This is an automatically generated summary to avoid having huge posts on this page. Click through to read this post.)
in Communication Ethics
Not everything that is currently called intellectual property fits into my communication model.
Patents do not fall under the domain of communication (except software patents as described earlier); physical patents can be cast in terms of communicating how to build something but they are clearly intended as protecting physical objects, not the communication itself since the entire patent application is publically and freely available to all. Physical patents contribute to the belief that "intellectual property" is a good concept because it seems like they can indeed be treated as property much more accurately then communication, because they can be truly bought and sold in a way that often deprives the original owner of all rights. Physical patents do not fit in with the other IP concepts, though, because they are not communication related. Instead, a physical patent is the right to tell someone to stop manufacturing something.
I use the term "physical patent" to distinguish it from a "software patent", which is communication related as discussed in the Patent chapter. As software becomes more and more powerful, it may be the case that all patents will become software patents, in the sense that they all become programs running on some powerful robot. In that case, the concept of a patent will become obsoleted, being supplanted by communication-based models.