Patents and clogging conveyor belts


Really enjoying this game, but there are a few minor things that seem unnecessarily annoying.

Patents are a real bummer. I appreciate the added difficulty and strategy they bring to the table, but a couple things about them make them “unfun” to play with.

  • Whenever one of your current drugs becomes patented by an AI, your conveyor belt is clogged with useless medicine that cannot be sold. If you want to re-use that space, instead of being able to clear the belts of all drugs and ingredients, you have to delete all belts (at a cost of 50$ each) and make sure your machines are empty before restructuring the production line. Can’t there be a way to clear a belt of drugs so you can save money and not delete belts?

  • It is very difficult to determine what is and what is not patented at the moment. For example, I went through all the trouble of making a “tier 3” drug, and by the time I was finished - when the pill finally went to be sold, I was alerted there was a patent on it. Ten minutes of wasted time, 50$K or more in wasted money. Had to restart from a save.

I understand that you can view current patents by going to each individual company’s page and browsing every single patent to figure this out beforehand. It’s more of a “quality of life” thing. It would be really nice to have a readily available list of current patents before you engage in producing something so you can make decisions easier and faster. It’s just a pain in the butt to try and figure out currently.

Those are the big things that stand out to me. Also, they seem incredibly expensive to buy as a player - I wonder if the AI gets its money’s worth out of it.


Here is a suggestion for better indication of what drugs are patented:

This shows you that Relieves Hypertension, Eases Asthma, and Appetite Suppressant are patented when you check the Cures tab.


I like this idea, makes it easy to see at a glance. An additional thing would to be able to see how long the patent has left via a tool tip.


This is not actually how Patents work (though I think it would make more sense if it did). You don’t patent a cure, you patent a drug. Any drug that has the same set of effects is covered by the patent, but a drug with the same cure and different side effects or a drug with that cure along with another cure is not effected. This allows quite a bit of patent dodging. A drug with a high level cure is patented? Combine it with a low level cure do dodge the patent. Technically your new drug is different because it has two cures, even though it’s in competition with the patented drug.


Only a partial solution, but you can put an analyzer in your line. Still takes cost of analyzer, at least one belt deletion, the time to process
what is currently in your production line, plus you lose whatever you invested in your product, but may be an aternative to deleting belts/moving machines.

Somewhere (in scenarios.dat file, IIRC) the analyzer is referred to as “research_incinerator”.

I agree about the request to move belts instead of deleting them, though.


Actually this is an upcoming feature: … 4934792192


If this is true, then the way the notification is worded is confusing.

“ANY Pill with the following active effects” leads me to believe that if that active effect is on anywhere on any pill - it is patented.


Ah, cool. Good to hear.


No, it’s any Pill with only (and all of) the shown effects and nothing else. So in your picture’s case only Pills with Reduces Stroke Risk will be patented. If you add anything else, side effect or positive effect, it will bypass the patent. Or of course, if you turn it into Cream or a Syringe, it’ll bypass it.


Ya, I’ve since confirmed this in game.

In that case, I’d suggest changing the wording of the Patent alert dialogue for clarity:

“…any Pill with the following set of active effects.” (Changes marked in bold)

It’s very misleading otherwise.


Yeah, it could do with being a bit less ambiguous, but it is the first iteration. There’s bound to be some teething trouble.


Droidfreak36’s link to TimTC’s twitter shows me that you may be getting what you want sometime.

The tweet on 7 Aug appears to show graphic of what AI’s are currently Researching and what they’ve already completed in Research.
This is not exactly the same, b/c Research would just show that an AI has started the “National HQ/Patent” path and not individual patents, but some files have (as yet unused) “Industrial Espionage” such as:

{"code":"research_industrial_espionage","text":"Industrial Espionage"},
{"code":"research_industrial_espionage_desc","text":"Allows you to see what your competitors are up to:\n\nLevel 0: See competitor ingredients\nLevel 1: See competitor research\nLevel 2: See competitor product profit\nLevel 3: See exploration in-progress\nLevel 4: See research in-progress\nLevel 5: [b]See competitor patent progress[/b]"},

Doesn’t mean it will ever actually end up in the game, but I could envision some use of “Industrial Espionage” allowing you to see what patents an AI has in-work.

I would guess the graphic in the tweet referenced above may have to do with #4 (" See research in-progress).


OK, I’ve made this change, it will be in the next update.

I can confirm that the feature to delete drugs without deleting the belts/machines is in, again it’ll be in the next update.

I can also confirm that I’ve just finished adding ‘Industrial Espionage’ which at the highest upgrade level allows you to see what patents your opponents are working on and how far through they are.

In terms of identifying which cures are patented, as droidfreak36 pointed out, it’s not as simple as you think. You don’t patent a cure, you patent a product. The current system is the culmination of many hours of design and I believe it is the most efficient way to convey the information to you.

I might make it so AIs patent a bit less, they are a bit trigger happy at the moment and I think they waste a lot of money on patenting things that won’t give a return. I also have some other plans to do with the message system which will make it easier to see when an AI is moving in on your territory, see: viewtopic.php?f=49&t=13055.


I agree with all the points in regard of Patents and clogging conveyor belts.