Could You Patent Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Finds Girl?

from the patently-absurd dept

Two years ago, we wrote about a guy who was trying to patent a storyline. This seemed absurd. After all, written stories are covered by copyright, but story ideas shouldn’t be restricted. Just the fact that there are so many different interpretations on the same basic storyline should be reason enough to explain why. In fact, we were wondering if that patent application could simply be an attempt to prove the point through the simple absurdity of the patent. However, it seems the idea of patenting storylines is getting more attention as well-known patent guy Greg Aharonian, who apparently gave a recent presentation explaining why movie scripts should be patentable, noting that it basically fits the same criteria as both software patents and business model patents. Of course, for most of us, this should simply reinforce why both software patents and business model patents don’t make any sense and go against the entire purpose of the patent system. You might hope that Aharonian is also trying to prove the absurdity of the patent system with such a claim, but that may not be true either. He’s the same guy who filed a lawsuit a few years ago insisting that software should only receive patent protection rather than copyright protection. As an aside, his presentation did point to a patent application I had not seen before, of someone trying to patent the process of patenting a joke in order to protect it. Talk about a joke! That one’s hilarious.

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Comments on “Could You Patent Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Finds Girl?”

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Vincent Clement says:

I do see one upside to patent protection for software: a shorter term of monopoly protection.

What you are seeing is a small group of people trying to create value where none exists. It’s been said before: an idea, such as a patent, has no value unless it is marketed properly. Patent trolls want to extract that value without spending a penny on marketing.

Anonynous Coward says:

Re: Hows that?

Err, copyright doesn’t give monopoly protection. As long as you don’t literally copy the program, in the absense of a patent, you can implement the same function without violating anyone’s rights. A decent programmer doesn’t have to copy the code. True, if he is free to copy the code (if, for instance, the code was released under the GPL or other free license), then it is more efficient to copy the code, but just having a progrom copyrighted under a typical restrictive license doesn’t impose any monopoly.

So if you are defending the idea of giving up software copyrights in favor of patents, that isn’t moving in the direction of shorter monopoly protection. Please reconsider if you think it is. If I misunderstood the point you were trying to make, I’m sorry — please clarify.

Anonymous Coward says:

Bag's The Back Seat

“What you are seeing is a small group of people trying to create value where none exists.”

Who says there’s no value there, if we get on a bus and I say I Bags the Back Seat, then I’ve got something I can sell, control of the back seat. After all I ‘bags’d it first’.

See American does have an economy, the economy of ‘I bags that’. That’ll work, yeh sure all we’re doing is tying up companies in lawsuits, but heh, lawyer pay taxes too!

And legal insurance, that’s a booming business! I bags that too, that and the back seat of the bus.

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