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
    Susheel Daswani, 31 Aug 2006 @ 8:30pm

    Re: References

    If the USPTO followed the original purpose of the patent system, to only grant patents in the rarest of circumstances...

    Mike, I agree that Jefferson maybe thought patents should be given only rarely, but it probably isn't fair to say that was 'the original purpose of the patent system.'

    Also, patents were given out only rarely in the early days, but that could have been for a couple of reasons. First, the preference for rare patents was a response to government corruption. Second, the argument could be made that the pace of technological innovation was much slower when giving out patents was a rare thing. I'm sure there are other explanations too.

    Also, I'd like to say that I probably agree with Mike on most points when it comes to patent philosophy, but I've noticed that Mike has been a little sloppy with his patent postings lately. Given such a charged issue, it is important to be as precise as possible.

    Anyways, I believe that the general theory / architecture of a patent system makes sense. The problem with our patent system is in our implementation. At essence, our patentability bars, especially nonobviousness, are way too low.

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