Netflix Granted Patent On DVD Rental Service
from the silly-obvious-patents dept
What is it with all the good e-commerce sites patenting the most obvious business models? Amazon has a history of patenting everything, and now we find out that Netflix has been granted a patent for their DVD subscription service. That’s right. The idea that you can “subscribe” to a monthly service that will deliver DVDs to you is patentable, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office. Now, of course, Netflix will use this patent to try to fight off competition from Wal-Mart and Blockbuster – though, it’s likely those company will try to fight the patent, pointing out that it’s fairly obvious.
Comments on “Netflix Granted Patent On DVD Rental Service”
My IP Law knowledge is pretty limited, but if you reveal your IP before you file the patent, doesn’t that seriously weaken your claim to the patent?
Does anyone know when the patent was filed in relation to when they actually started advertising their service?
Re: IANAL, but...
If memory serves correct you have a year from the time you say anything in public until you file, after which it becomes public domain (but I am not a lawyer, so don’t quote me on it. I did file my own biz patent during the boom years, which did move forward before my company went belly up. Since no further fees were paid to move it along, the patent died in review).
The biggest threat would be “prior art” – anything that resembles the patent that is out there before you filed it – and as the article mentioned, anything “obvious” shouldn’t get a patent in the first place.
I think finding “prior art” would be pretty easy in this case. It’s not like there were no mail rental businesses before this company came along.