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. icon
    Mike (profile), 31 Aug 2006 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Original purpose of patent system?

    This is an interesting comment ... what exactly is the source of this statement?

    If you read the history of patents, such as in Britain, you see that early on, patents were given out in very specific circumstances, rather than thousands at a time. So, I was mostly referring to that. Patents were recognized as being a monopoly and thus were seen as being extremely powerful, and not just something to be handed out over some minor thing.

    However, it also is in reference to Jefferson's stated views on the patent system, as he made it clear he was not comfortable with granting patents. I gave this link the other day as it contains more details on his views about the dangers of patents... even as he was in charge of the patent system.

    It does seem clear that, while not everyone agreed, Jefferson recognized that patents were potentially damaging and therefore should only be granted in the rarest of circumstances where they actually were promoting, rather than hindering, innovation.

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