Bad Patents Go International

from the bad-news dept

We’ve had plenty of stories about ridiculous patents in the US, which are usually based on a blatantly obvious idea, and then used by a “licensing company” who doesn’t actually produce anything, to try to suck money out of companies that are actually adding something to the economy. It appears those sorts of patent scams also happen internationally. A Canadian company that claims to have patents on calculating a shipping cost and/or offering options to buy with different currencies is now threatening small e-commerce sites in New Zealand. They’re also trying to double bill by threatening any ISP that hosts any of these e-commerce sites, saying they also need to pay up. When will governments figure out that a patent system that allows this sort of activity is actively discouraging real innovation? They’re encouraging wasteful patent filings and useless legal activity, while slowing down the ability for companies to actually get innovative products into the market. Update: Upon reading this someone just emailed me a very good New Yorker article explaining why business model patents are bad. Basically, the argument is that competition is good for everyone. Patents slow down competition, and thus, slow down innovation. Business model patents are particularly bad, because they’re just patenting a concept – and not an actual “thing”. A good read.

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