[Suggestion] Alternative patent system


I realize that the current patent system took a lot of work and is set up like this for a reason, but I think it might be nice to have a more powerful/realistic patent system, maybe just as an option that can be used in custom games.

Here’s what would be different about it:

Instead of patenting drugs, you patent cures*

Patents cannot be dodged with side effects or delivery methods - any drug containing that cure as an active effect is effected by the patent.

To patent a cure, you must be the only company producing a drug with that cure (to represent the way real life patents can only be made if you are the first company to invent a product).

Instead of totally stopping production of the patented drugs (or rather drugs with patented cures), competitors can choose to keep producing the drug and pay royalties to the patent-holder. To keep things simple, royalties are always enabled and the amount is fixed (not set by the patent holder). This discourages competitors from using patented drugs and rewards the patent holder if they continue to produce them.

If any company patents a drug with a certain cure, the cures tab for all companies shows that cure (and any prerequisite cures) as if they had produced it themselves. This mimics the real-world reason for patents (encouraging inventions to be made public) and makes it easier for other companies to produce the cure both while the patent is in effect (paying royalties) and after the patent has expired.

*The patent actually applies if the cure came from the same ingredient. This allows patent-dodging if (and only if) there are multiple ingredients with that cure.


Some interesting ideas… Some thoughts/questions on some parts:

Personally I currently like the alternate delivery method of getting around a patent. The power of patents would go way up (IMO) if it changed to this way.

I like this idea… if I could bleed down an AI of $ w/ this approach (not so much if AI did it to me).
Of course the AI would have to be capable of making the pay-royalty-decision.

“royalties are always enabled and the amount is fixed”
I assume fixed (at least in a particular game) the way ingredient cost and cure “basic value” is fixed.
From the code, I think they both are psudo-randomized w/in some predetermined range and launch of a particular game
sets each at a ‘fixed’ value for that game. I haven’t written either down but they appear to change (not just w/ upgrade either).
Meaning the higher level/value cures would have higher royalties.

Not sure I understand “the cures tab for all companies shows that cure”…is that the main “Cures” tab? the “Company” tab?

“(and any prerequisite cures) as if they had produced it themselves.”
So If I hold patent on lower-level cure in cure upgrade path, no one can patent “higher…post-requisite” cures until my patent expires?

Not understanding why you wouldn’t just do patent based on the cure itself, not the ingredient(s) that make it.
The game would have to display (for a patent) the cure and the ingredient(s) involved so that a player knows whether their ingredient is different/same.
What happens if a catalyst is needed for the patented cure? Only the particular ingredient that had the catalyst is covered by patent?
(and what if there was mixing , or several even, along the way… game has to track the source of the catalyst?.. and show it on a patented cure)


Underlined sections indicate suggestions which just occurred to be now but should be considered an addition to my original suggestion list.

Precisely. It’s too easy to dodge patents with alternate delivery. Pill form of a drug patented? Pop it in a creamer and instant patent dodge. That makes patents virtually useless unless the patent holder goes out of his way to patent as many delivery methods as possible.

By fixed I mean that the patent holder cannot choose how much to charge for royalties (like they usually can IRL). Instead the amount is based on the cure value. Maybe it’s a certain percentage of the current value of the cure, that seems like a logical way to do it. Otherwise it could be a certain percentage of the base cure value so that market fluctuations don’t affect it.

I mean the main cures tab, the one that shows the information about cures. As-is, the cures tab for your company shows only the cures that you have produced and the next level up. What I’m suggesting is that when a competitor patents a cure, that cure shows up in your cures tab even if you haven’t produced it.

IRL if a company patents an invention, information about that invention becomes publicly available (via the patent) so that other companies could replicate it (even if by law they are required not to). Once the patent expires, the information remains public, allowing other companies to take advantage of the patented invention. This is how patents drive innovation - by making inventions public.

In Big Pharma the information required to produce drugs is stored in the cures tab in the form of information about their upgrade path.

Another point I just thought up along the same lines is that analyzing a cure’s maximum concentration could be made a prerequisite for patenting and the max concentration could be made public when the cure is patented, thus saving other companies the cost of analyzing the drug. Analyzing the max concentration could actually be made the sole requirement for patenting because you need to have actually produced an effect to analyze it.

Not at all. What I’m saying is that if someone patents a high level cure, information about all the cures that are lower than it (prerequisite to it) is shown in your cures tab. After all, making all of those previous cures is part of the production process documented by the patent.

This is basically to say that what you are patenting is the chemical that is the active ingredient of the drug. If a different ingredient can treat the same disease I would assume that is has a different active ingredient (chemical). The way Big Pharma currently handles multiple ingredients with the same cure is more like two ingredients with the same active ingredient but that could be changed so that different ingredients with the same cures have separate cure trees with the same cures in them (the actual effects) but different upgrade requirements and active/max concentrations.

That would be handled by the separate cure trees for each ingredient as mentioned above. The patent would show up (and information would be revealed) only for the cure tree of the ingredient that was patented.

Which brings up another thing that should be revealed when a drug is patented - the location of its ingredient (unlocking it in the ingredient screen). That saves other companies from having to explore to find it.

The source of any catalysts would be ignored by the patent. By their nature catalysts simply facilitate reactions, not get involved in them, so multiple catalysts would all produce the same active ingredient.


Thanks for the reply - I think I understand what you meant on all points now.

So the Cures tab is really just displaying information on cure trees. Might be a bit confusing to know what player has created vs what a patent has ‘disclosed’ but I suppose some differing graphic could be used.

On the ‘fixed’ royalties… just verifying that I’m 99% certain that other variables w/in game are ‘fixed’ within a range based on effects.data file, so similar could be done w/ royalties (e.g. “baseValue” sets ‘value’ of a cure and “sensitivity” sets initial “# of suffers” for a cure)