Storyline Patents Put To The Test? Or Just Proving A Point Through Absurdism?
from the making-a-point? dept
Over the summer when the EU was arguing over software patents, Richard Stallman wrote up an opinion piece pointing out just how clueless the politicians involved were. In defending patents, one politician clearly didn't understand the difference between patents and copyrights, as the politician used Victor Hugo's written works as a reason to fight for patents. Stallman came back, noting that if patents covered storylines than Hugo never would have been able to write Les Miserables as the storyline would have been patented already. Well, now, that concept may be put to the test. Slashdot is pointing out that the USPTO is supposedly about to publish the first storyline patents. There are a few things about this story that (a) are wrong or (b) are unclear. The /. piece makes it sound like these patents have been granted. Instead, they're just being published, which is part of the regular patent process, before a decision is made one way or the other. There's still a very good chance that these patents won't get anywhere, because (one hopes) the patent office would recognize the ridiculousness of this all. The other thing worth noting is that the "source" for this is a press release from the guy who's applied for the patent. His website contains a long, and somewhat bizarre, legal defense behind the idea of patenting storylines, including some hilarious statements: "There is currently little motivation for artistic inventors to innovate new plots, themes, and methods of expression." Reading through the pages, you get the feeling that this is satire through patent application. There is, of course, the possibility that this guy is serious, but I'm hoping that this is more of an attempt by him to point out how ridiculous things like software patents are by taking the concept to the logical absurd extreme: patenting storylines. Of course, these days, with the way the patent office acts (and the way patent trolls abuse the system), what seems absurd has often actually been ridiculously serious in the past. Hopefully, this isn't one of those cases. Of course, even if this guy is doing it to prove a point about other patents, it's not clear if many will get the point or actually do anything to fix things like software patents.