Because Without The Patent System No One Would Ever Think To Barter Online
from the well,-why-not? dept
Just yesterday we were discussing why societies tended to move away from bartering and to a monetary-based transaction system because it was more efficient. Specifically, we were discussing why the idea behind Peerflix and the multitude of other online bartering sites seem unlikely to become particularly compelling businesses. However, there was one other point, not covered in the original article on Peerflix's move away from a strict barter site. It appears that the company is excited to start enforcing a patent it recently bought that covers method of exchanging goods over the internet. Effectively, the patent covers a computer-based bartering system. It takes the concept of bartering, puts it on a network, and voila, it's suddenly patentable, despite thousands upon thousands of years of history concerning how barter systems work. The fact that there have been a ton of online bartering companies over the years apparently isn't evidence enough that this is hardly a "non-obvious" idea. But, of course, now that Peerflix owns the patent, they might as well use it: "There would be no reason to own the patent unless we intended to flex our muscles around it," claims the company's CEO. Given the failure of the company's original business model (similar to the failures of every other bartering-based business models) this looks like yet another case of failed companies falling back on patent lawsuits.