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
    Daniel (profile), 1 Sep 2006 @ 4:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Which is right

    commenting on the following:
    "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."
    Patents are not free market entities - they are monopolies granted by government fiat and based on coercion.

    Free markets say once I have something - be it a chair or an idea - I can do anything I want with it. I can sell it, give it away, modify it, or even break it up into its parts, figure out how it works and build another. Patents say that once I sell you something, I can still tell you what to do with it and if you try to do what YOU want, I'll have the government punish you.

    Another way of looking at this is by examining how they behave. In a free market, competition tends to cause prices to drop - especially as supply increases. NON free markets attempt to manipulate this in some way - usually artificially inflating prices, but sometimes in the other direction too. This can be done in various ways - e.g. by restricting competition, creating artificial demand (like making a purchase mandatory or forcing) or by artificially limiting the supply. Copyrights attempt to artificially increase the cost of an idea (which would by nature approach zero since supply is not limited) and as such, fall into the non free market sphere.

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