Even with the Supreme Court helping to put some common sense
back into the patent system, there are still plenty of people who clearly want to stretch the purpose of the patent system for beyond its constitutional purpose. The latest is highlighted by Justin Levine at Against Monopoly
. He points to a fascinating and amusing LA Times article about the rough-and-tumble, cut-throat world of street corner sign spinning
. You've probably seen the folks, standing on street corners with big cardboard signs, advertising homes for sale or a new tanning salon or whatever. Apparently, it's a big business and a very competitive one. However, the point Justin highlights shows to the extreme it's reached:
Aarrow keeps dozens of moves in a "trick-tionary," which only a handful of people have seen, said co-founder Mike Kenny. The company records spinners' movements and sends them in batches to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. "We have to take our intellectual property pretty seriously," he said.
Read that again. The company is trying to protect the way street corner advertisers spin their signs. Thomas Jefferson is rolling over in his grave.