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 @ 6:52pm

    Re: 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:

    Susheel and I had this discussion the other day. You can read it here. But the basic point is that the Constitution makes it clear that Congress can grant exclusive rights *IF* it's for the purpose of promoting progress of science and useful arts.

    Therefore, if Congress is giving exclusive rights in cases when it DOES NOT promote such progress, then it would be unconstitutional.

    As for the question of the little plastic doohickey or Ron Popeil... why should they deserve monopoly protection rights? Why isn't just selling the product in the market incentive enough? As you claim, any economy based on the idea of the "free market" recognizes that you only submit to gov't regulation in cases of market failure. If the market can incentivize the innovations, then what market failure is there?

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