Microsoft Wants A Patent For Conjugating Verbs

from the I-Am-You-Are-He-She-It-Is dept

theodp writes "Microsoft's just goofing on us, right? Its latest batch of published patent applications includes one for Conjugating a Verb." Sort of reminds me of the Onion's satirical piece on Microsoft patenting 1s and 0s -- but this one is for real. It's just an application, so it hasn't been granted -- but it says something about how easy it is to get a patent these days that Microsoft and its lawyers would even think this is worth applying for. When so many bogus patents get approved, and the awards for enforcing them are so high, it only encourages more ridiculous patents to be filed -- which probably contributes a lot more to the supposed staffing problem at the patent office than anything else. If the USPTO followed the original purpose of the patent system, to only grant patents in the rarest of circumstances, then the issue of hiring more patent examiners wouldn't even be up for discussion at all.

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  1. identicon
    Brian, 31 Aug 2006 @ 4:50pm


    It's because there are no sources to cite. Despite Jefferson's pro/con view of patents, he administered the first patent laws in the US and then drafted their more liberal replacement. The Colonies as a whole were VERY pro-patent legislation that protected IP and compensated the patent-holder...

    see also:

    (emphasis is mine) ...The first United States Patent Act, that of 1790 was a short act of seven sections only entitled "An act to promote the Progress of Useful Arts". [12] Under its terms any two of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War and the Attorney General were empowered to grant patents for terms of up to fourteen years for inventions that were "sufficiently useful and important" provided that the grantee submitted a specification describing the invention (and where appropriate a model thereof) to the Secretary of State at the time of the grant.

    In 1793 this act was repealed and replaced by a slightly longer act, the drafting of which is largely attributed to Thomas Jefferson, who was at the time Secretary of State and therefore intimately involved in the administration of the 1790 Act. The Act is notable for its definition of what constitutes patentable subject matter in the United States, which definition is almost unchanged up to now:

    "any new and useful art, machine, manufacture or composition of matter and any new and useful improvement on any art, machine, manufacture or composition of matter."

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