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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    Mike (profile), 31 Aug 2006 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: References

    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.'

    Why not? The original purpose of the patent system is 100% clear: to promote the progress of science and useful arts.

    Any use of patents that does not do that is outside the original purpose of the patent system. On top of that, the number of patents that do successfully promote that progress is pretty small, so I believe that it's perfectly reasonable to say the original purpose of the patent system was that patents should only be granted rarely.

    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.

    Hmm. We've had numerous discussions in my last few posts on patents where you've suggested I was sloppy, but in each case, by the end of the thread you haven't shown any actual sloppiness.

    I'll grant you that on this particular posting I could have explained the "rarest of circumstances" more clearly, but I still think it's supported by the facts.

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