Terra Nullius: Grifters, settler colonialism and "intellectual property"


Nicely done rhetorical move of your own, with this parallel between settler colonialism and these kinds of appropriating grifters. I mean aside from, you know, the lack of actual genocide as part of what the latter are doing.


The genocide comes when the people who’ve grown these foods for millennia can’t afford to pay a market rate for the now-patented seeds and starve.


There is. It will not be televised.


How many different types of frontier can be recreated in the marketplace of ideas ?


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And how many such “frontiers” are morally reprehensible?

Perhaps most.


Am I mad, for wanting to hear about those other Helicopter Titans in a easy to digest video series? Something like Extra History.

Guess I will be picking up Kevin Kelly’s What Technology Wants. I’ve hear of this idea before, not sure were. It’s clear to me that until a tech is in many hands that when it leads to another new idea.

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Well, 1776, 1848, and 1917 come to mind.


I’ve been saying for years that “intellectual property” is merely the rationalization for conquistadores of humanity’s shared imagination. Imagine a limitless land where people have been freely finding and trading and recombining things for untold eons. Then one day, someone shows up in the middle of this, fences off a section, and insists that he or she owns what was once the birthright of everyone.

Though I grant you, Corey wrote it a lot more eloquently.



And, of course, this “new” invention was patented:


EDIT: wrong link, try https://patents.google.com/patent/DE102015116119A1/en instead


To be fair to Leaf Republic, they don’t appear to claim to have ‘invented’ anything - unless that appears in the video?

Their website makes no such claims.

They certainly don’t mention that it’s not exactly an original idea…

And their business doesn’t seem to be going that well:


Lots of complaints that backers aren’t getting their yearly delivery of plates but instead the company is asking for more funding…

The patent you linked to is also a bit different.

That is not taking a leaf or a couple of leaves and making them into a plate. It describes a process for taking wood or plant based refuse such as sawdust or seed husks, grinding them into dust and extrusion molding the material into whatever shape is desired.

I have to say I’m not sure what the ‘new art’ in that was (it all seems to follow from prior art) but it’s not what Leaf Republic and the many producers in India are doing. That seems to involve heat molding the leaves into shape.


Yup, I linked the wrong one. Here’s the Leaf Republic patent:



Same one again :slight_smile:

I think this is the relevant patent:


That definitely does not appear to contain anything new.


Google was playing tricks on me. :slightly_smiling_face:

Should be edited to a correct link now.


Apparently Google’s new motto is, “Do shit”.

Yup, that’s it.

The one I found is an earlier effort which still ‘required’ a plastic coated layer in between the plant layers.

Is this an improvement on prior art? I have no idea but patent offices appear to be satisfied with any old claim these days - which I suppose is Cory’s point.

It seems to be an invention which is over the top for it’s current use. Do we really need laminated plates? Can one use the laminated material for anything else?

It’s an interesting example. As people on twitter pointed out, the basic idea of using leaves as plates is not new. This method of making laminates out of plants may be ‘inventive’ but its current use doesn’t appear to massively improve on the existing “leaf as plate” technologies.

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If the German/EU patent office is anything like the USPTO, they’re understaffed and overworked and have for decades been in that state, such that they can’t rigorously examine every patent application in a timely fashion.

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For breakthrough fields, the comparison is always made with the Wild West: An empty, untamed, lawless uncontrolled frontier.

After you erase the idea that people had been living there for thousands of years.


I believe that’s the case.

My understanding is that is also what is intended. There’s a lot of pressure to grant patents and let the market sort it out if the patent is cobblers.

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