Overhype

by Mike Masnick




You Cannot Create A Database Of All Obvious Ideas

from the obviously dept

As the legal debate over "obviousness" in patents continues, one idea that keeps coming back up is the idea that a bunch of techies should just get together and write down everything obvious they can think of to use as prior art against obvious patents. However, there are a number of problems with this idea, and it could turn out to be more dangerous than helpful. First of all, the number of "obvious" ideas out there is basically infinite -- and the problem with most obvious ideas found in patents is simply that they're so obvious no one even thinks of writing them down for the sake of prior art. Part of the problem is this specific idea that something that's "obvious" needs "prior art." Obvious doesn't necessarily need prior art if it's either the natural progression of development or something that people simply have always assumed. By trying to set up this "database" of prior art, it is likely to end up being used in favor of obvious patents -- as they'll be able to point to it and say that since so many people are writing down obvious ideas, and this one wasn't included, then clearly it's not obvious. It's great that people are trying to come up with better ways to stop obvious patents from being granted (or abused), but separating prior art from obviousness is important, and such a database does the opposite.

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  1. identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, 31 Aug 2006 @ 9:14pm

    Patent Filing

    I'm calling a patent attorney tomorrow and asking him to start paper work on "Method for creating a database of all obvious ideas *on the internet*" and "Method for creating a database of all obvious ideas *on a wireless network*".

    Let's see now, what recent *tack on to an existing idea* suffixes have I forgotten? How about "Method for creating a database of all obvious ideas *using Google.com*" and "Method for creating a database of all obvious ideas *using MySpace.com*".

    If someone else wants to file for "Method for creating a database of all obvious ideas *using YouTube*" I'll let you have that one - because that one is *just silly*...

    If only I could come up with a way to work in either Apple or iPod that would be sweet...

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