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 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Which is right

    First, and I suppose I'm about to argue with Jefferson himself, but how exactly could a patent be unconstitutional when it is the Constitution that provides for patents in the first place:

    The Constitutional basis for federal patent and copyright systems is to be found in the Constitution of the United States Article 1, Section 8, clause 8 which states:

    "Congress shall have power ... to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. "

    I don't disagree with the spirit of your story submission, or most of the points in your latest reply. What got me typing in the first place was your characterization of the "original purpose of the patent system, to only grant patents in the rarest of circumstances". Maybe in China or Cuba, but not in any society based on a free-martket economy whose main motivator is profit.

    It's important to distinguish between "unique and/or innovative" and "the rarest of circumstances". Take for example, the little plastic doohicky on the ends of shoelaces: unique - yep, innovative - yep (revolutionized industry in more than one sense). In your "rarest of circumstances" scenario, does that doohicky even stand a chance? I can't see how, since it would clearly be competing with some much heavier weight for that rare patent.

    Besides, what would we do without Ron Popeil?

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