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[英文擂台] 英文擂台第一期:《经济学家》高难挑战! [复制链接]

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发表于 2011-8-9 17:08:42 |显示全部楼层
学英文的人都知道,阅读是提高英语水平的最佳途径之一。
说到地道的英文阅读,有一本杂志不得不提,那就是大名鼎鼎的英国杂志the Economist(《经济学家》或《经济学人》),它已经日趋成为全球政要及高管的重要参考。
这本杂志的特色可以用一个字来概括:难!据说,人家报杂志的宗旨就是提供给高级人士看的,所以不会照顾普通英文阅读水平的人,更不会照顾到我们这些非英语国家的人!
在这里,偶要透露一下小秘密哦,据灰常灰常灰常可靠的小道消息,熟读《经济学家》,达到无障碍阅读水平,就可以考上中国外语类顶级学府——北京外国语大学!硕士博士烈士圣斗士任你挑!肿么样肿么样!想不想试一下?
我们本期的试题就是来自the Economist的一篇专利文章:Patents against prosperity
我们的规则是翻译五段即可,但为了保证翻译质量,我们鼓励您把全篇看完后再翻译。

本期试题:
Patents against prosperity
Aug 1st 2011, 16:37 by W.W. | IOWA CITY  THE ECONOMIST

AMERICA is still in denial, but among economists and wonks I think the hard truth is settling in: we're not as rich
as we thought we were and our prospects for future high growth rates aren't looking so great. America's last best
hope for breaking free from what Tyler Cowen has called "the great stagnation" is the discovery of new "disruptive"
technologies that would transform the possibilities of economic production in the way the fossil-fuel-powered
engine did. As it stands, growth, such as it is, depends largely on many thousands of small innovations increasing
efficiency incrementally along many thousands of margins. Innovation and invention is the key to continuing gains
in prosperity.
Zero-sum "win the future" rhetoric notwithstanding, it doesn't much matter whether the advances in new technology
occur in China, India or America. Nevertheless, it remains that America is the world's leader in technical
invention, and continues to attract many of the world's most inventive minds. That's why it is so important that
America remain especially conducive to innovation. And that's why America's intellectual-property system is a
travesty which threatens the wealth and welfare of the whole world. It may seem a recondite subject, but the stakes
couldn't be higher.
This recent episode of Planet Money, "When Patents Attack", is an informative and entertaining primer on the way
America's patent system squelches competition, slows innovation, and enables egregious predation through the legal
system. Please listen to this. And then tell me that Nathan Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures is not our age's
authentic villainous robber baron, making a fortune gaming America's dysfunctional patent-law system to shake down
would-be innovators.
Planet Money's programme explains everything better than I can, but the thrust of it is that it is next to
impossible to offer a new technology or software-driven service without getting sued for patent infringement. For
example, Spotify, an innovative, highly-praised music streaming and subscription service, became available in
America just a couple weeks ago. It took until last week for this to go down:
PacketVideo, a software company that enables wireless streaming of music and videos on mobile devices, filed the
suit against Spotify on Wednesday, claiming that the U.K.-based company violated a patent for "distribution of
music in digital form."
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————
The plaintiff cited a violation of U.S. patent 5,636,276 and says "Spotify USA has offered for sale, sold, and
imported products and/or services configured to infringe the '276 patent, and instructed and encouraged others to
use the '276 patent in an infringing manner."
"PacketVideo has a strong intellectual property portfolio, and will take any necessary action needed to protect its
intellectual property and prevent the misuse of its patents," says Joel Espelien, general counsel and vice
president of strategic relationships.
This is apparently a patent on streaming music over the internet. Naturally, you are familiar with PacketVideo's
popular music streaming service. Oh, you're not? I guess that's because they don't offer one. So, Spotify is trying
to make money offering a service that will make consumers happy. (I'm using it right now. I think it's terrific.)
PacketVideo is trying to make money doing what? Shaking down Spotify?
Here's where Mr Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures comes in. Intellectual Ventures owns a huge portfolio of patents.
Quite possibly they also have some sort of patent that covers streaming music over the internet. Intellectual
Ventures makes money through a sort of protection racket that helps Spotify defend themselves against companies
like PacketVideo. For a considerable fee, a company can access Intellectual Venture's storehouse of patents and use
them defensively against companies claiming patent infringement. Julian Sanchez lucidly explains how the very
existence of "defensive patents", and of companies in the business of selling them, is proof of a badly broken
intellectual property system:
[T]hink about how defensive patents work. Companies aren’t buying them—or buying into the services of companies
like Intellectual Ventures—because they provide otherwise unavailable technical insights. The point, rather, is to
acquire (or have access to) a bundle of patents that any potential litigant who sues you is likely to be
“infringing” in their own products. ...
This only works, however, if other companies are almost certain to have independently come up with the same idea. A
patent that is truly so original that somebody else wouldn’t arrive at the same solution by applying normal
engineering skill is useless as a defensive patent. ...
[E]very patent granted for an idea that any number of suitably skilled engineers could have (and would have, and
did) come up with is a patent that probably shouldn’t be granted—a pure deadweight loss that’s actually
compounded by the squandering of resources on the “arms race,” with no compensating dynamic gain. Actually, there
’s probably a dynamic loss: You end up creating a huge incentive for smart and skilled people to spend their time
and energy not coming up with a brilliant idea that nobody else would have, but instead trying to be the first to
put on paper ideas that are obvious (to a properly trained and up-to-date person) but haven’t been locked down yet
—the solution, again, that almost any professional would have come up with once they were actually trying to
implement the relevant technology. A sector where investment in defensive patents is so massive, then, is a sector
where—even if some of them do genuinely add value—patents are probably doing more harm than good on net.
A new paper on "The Myth of the Sole Inventor" by Mark Lemley, a professor of law at Stanford, reinforces Mr
Sanchez's point.
[S]urveys of hundreds of significant new technologies show that almost all of them are invented simultaneously or
nearly simultaneously by two or more teams working independently of each other. Invention appears in significant
part to be a social, not an individual, phenomenon. Inventors build on the work of those who came before, and new
ideas are often "in the air," or result from changes in market demand or the availability of new or cheaper
starting materials. ...
The result is a real problem for classic theories of patent law. If we are supposed to be encouraging only
inventions that others in the field couldn’t have made, we should be paying a lot more attention than we currently
do to simultaneous invention. We should be issuing very few patents – surely not the 200,000 per year we do today.
And we should be denying patents on the vast majority of the most important inventions, since most seem to involve
near-simultaneous invention.
At a time when our future affluence depends so heavily on innovation, we have drifted toward a patent regime that
not only fails to fulfil its justifying function, to incentivise innovation, but actively impedes innovation. We
rarely directly confront the effects of this immense waste of resources and brainpower and the attendant
retardation of the pace of discovery, but it affect us all the same. It makes us all poorer and helps keep us stuck
in the great stagnation.


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发表于 2011-8-11 09:32:53 |显示全部楼层
......楼主出的题目太难了吧

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发表于 2011-9-26 18:06:34 |显示全部楼层
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发表于 2013-3-18 08:44:22 |显示全部楼层
好,值得细看,佩服












万界永仙

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