OK, Its Time to Fix Internet Patents (or Maybe Just Put Them Down)

A patent troll company thinks it owns exclusive rights to rollover messages on web sites, among many other common features as outlined in the brazenly, ridiculously general patent entitled "Accessing, assembling, and using bodies of information."    I am just waiting for the patent on breathing or metabolizing food.  Story here, via Overlawyered.


  1. EvilRedScandi:

    It's not just Internet patents - people in general have figured out that if they spam the patent office with crap applications a profitable percentage will get through.

  2. John Moore:

    Not just internet patents, but software patents, too. The modern patent system, which is enacted by lawyers with no engineering training, is threatening to strangle innovation in software.

    For those familiar, the Oracle suit against Google's Android software is a good example. The patents, granted by our clueless patent office, almost all fail the obviousness test - each of them would be easily invented by a college computer science student if given the problem on a test. But that doesn't keep the government from granting a 17 year monopoly on the use of these obvious ideas.

    Of course, copyrights are even worse (the term of a copyright is as long as Disney can keep buying congressmen, in spite of the clear violation of its Constitutional purpose).

  3. Ben S:

    On the subject of trolls:


    An enjoyable read.

  4. Matthew Brown:

    A lot of the problem is that the patent office allows patents to be granted with extremely general, fuzzy language in them, and they don't apply nearly enough paranoid analysis of what that claim could actually, potentially cover.

    I'm not against patents in principle, but they should be for very specific innovations, not for "I'll patent the idea of combining idea A and idea B, which I did not invent." The patent office should be a lot more combative against over-general patents, and I think that the review process should be raised a lot higher than it previously has. People should be able to publicly comment and criticize in-process patents (and those already granted) and the patent office should listen.

    Unfortunately, the patent office is just another form of regulatory capture; its bureaucrats think its job is to crank out patents for people that want to patent things, as fast and painless as possibly can be done, and at the lowest cost so that it's a profit center. I'm inclined to think such a beast may not be capable of reform.

  5. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    > Of course, copyrights are even worse (the term of a copyright is as long as Disney can keep buying congressmen, in spite of the clear violation of its Constitutional purpose)

    Indeed. I don't hesitate to pirate anything. F*** Disney and the rest of those thieving middlemen.

    (from the 1990s):
    "...the stated purpose of the [new digital recording equipment tax] law is to
    'compensate' musicians for home copying. But the law diverts FIFTY-SEVEN
    percent of the funds to record companies and music publishers, leaving less
    than half for the people who participate in the creative process. Most of the
    remaining funds will go to musical superstars, and thus do little to encourage
    or assist musical creativity."
    - Richard Stallman -

    There are makers, takers, and fakers, and right now, the latter two
    outnumber (and outvote) the makers by a large margin.

    "Little by little, the pimps have taken over the world. They don't do
    anything. They don't make anything. They just stand there and take their

    - Jean Giraudoux -

    OK, I paid -- twice, as I recall -- to see "Terminator 2" in the theaters. I paid for it again, "subtly", to see it at the 1992 WorldCon. I bought a copy of the Director's cut on DVD. I've resisted the "Limited Edition DC", the "10th Anniversary LE DC" and so forth...

    I should now pay a *premium* price for it again on Blu-Ray? What about the format(s) which will inevitably follow -- "Super HD" (oh, what, 2048 pixels per screen?), "Ultra HD" (oh, 8096 pixels per screen), and "PhotoX Grade" (at "the original film resolution")... and then, since that's 25 or so years from now, "Digitially Enhanced PhotoX grade" (3x the original film resolution, specially processed by a bank of 1000 Intel Core1K processors to increase it to 200 frames per second)...?

    How many times do they get to charge and re-charge me for the exact same *content* created 40 years before? I expect to pay something for the effort involved in actually "upgrading" the media -- both the cost of the new equipment (both mine and any duplication/enhancement equipment and employees required to do the job -- So please grasp, I'm not demanding something for nothing here... there ARE clearly expenses tied to "enhancing" old IP products... but they damned sure don't add up to US$40 per movie.

    Copyright should be something like 5 years, after which a diminishing returns clause is invoked, until 15 years down the line you get a penny from me when I watch something you've created.

    THIS "promotes the sciences and the arts" -- How many people think Paul McCartney's work as "Wings" is as good as his Beatles' stuff? And even more so since Wings broke up...? Has McCartney done ANYTHING of note now that he's gotten very, very, very rich? Why should he? He's not HUNGRY any more. Very few artists actually produce anything but garbage after they get famous and rich...

    And this isn't just music -- Nicholson and De Niro have been phoning it in for more than a decade. Hoffman's been doing it for even longer, as has Eddie Murphy.

    Eddie Vedder, of Pearl Jam, OTOH, is one of the few exceptions I can think of. :-/

    About the only way to avoid this fate is to join the ranks of Belushi, Morrison, and Mozart.