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), 1 Sep 2006 @ 12:20am

    Re:

    You also assumed that the link you've recently cited can be trusted to support your contention that Jefferson thought that the patent system was unconstitutional. That links seems suspect - I think it really clarify the situation if you produced something more substantive.

    Susheel, I'm surprised at this claim. I did not say that the link was the only source of support on this. Go back and read what I wrote. I noted that it wasn't well supported in that article alone, and then explained what I had been told were the origins of his view that patents were against the Constitution. I didn't realize you required a specific citation.

    However, there is plenty of support concerning Jefferson's questions about giving inventors monopoly rights in the Constitution. He expressed specific concern to James Madison in a letter he wrote raising his concerns with the constitution, including suggesting monopolies should be banned, noting that the benefit of even limited monopolies is doubtful.

    He also expressed repeatedly in numerous writings his concerns about the patent system and the idea of locking up ideas. This is all well established.

    All of that said, this particular aspect of the debate seems fairly academic. Jefferson's views on patents are good to know, as a historical basis, but given the vast amount of research that we have on hand *today* showing the actual (often detrimental) impact of the patent system is much more important.

    The reason to invoke Jefferson's history is basically as a counterclaim to those who like to point to today's patent system as clearly being exactly what the founder's intended. That's clearly untrue. However, once that's proven, then debating the specifics of exactly what Jefferson did or did not believe is fairly pointless. The only one who knows that for sure has been dead for nearly two centuries.

    With that said, the more important point is to focus on the system today, and why it's causing plenty of harm. And, on that point, there continues to be considerable evidence, often discussed here. So, again, I disagree with the charge of "sloppy." I think I've been fairly thorough in backing up each point I've made when asked. As we agreed in the past, I may have left out some of the details due to the nature of the blog post, but that is not out of sloppiness, but the nature of keeping the blog brief.

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