Could You Patent Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Finds Girl?

from the patently-absurd dept

Two years ago, we wrote about a guy who was trying to patent a storyline. This seemed absurd. After all, written stories are covered by copyright, but story ideas shouldn't be restricted. Just the fact that there are so many different interpretations on the same basic storyline should be reason enough to explain why. In fact, we were wondering if that patent application could simply be an attempt to prove the point through the simple absurdity of the patent. However, it seems the idea of patenting storylines is getting more attention as well-known patent guy Greg Aharonian, who apparently gave a recent presentation explaining why movie scripts should be patentable, noting that it basically fits the same criteria as both software patents and business model patents. Of course, for most of us, this should simply reinforce why both software patents and business model patents don't make any sense and go against the entire purpose of the patent system. You might hope that Aharonian is also trying to prove the absurdity of the patent system with such a claim, but that may not be true either. He's the same guy who filed a lawsuit a few years ago insisting that software should only receive patent protection rather than copyright protection. As an aside, his presentation did point to a patent application I had not seen before, of someone trying to patent the process of patenting a joke in order to protect it. Talk about a joke! That one's hilarious.
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Filed Under: movie scripts, patents


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  1. identicon
    jLl, 15 Aug 2007 @ 1:00pm

    I hope the joke carries...

    It's going to prove interesting if the USPTO actually approves the application...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Vincent Clement, 15 Aug 2007 @ 1:03pm

    I do see one upside to patent protection for software: a shorter term of monopoly protection.

    What you are seeing is a small group of people trying to create value where none exists. It's been said before: an idea, such as a patent, has no value unless it is marketed properly. Patent trolls want to extract that value without spending a penny on marketing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2007 @ 1:26pm

    Bag's The Back Seat

    "What you are seeing is a small group of people trying to create value where none exists."

    Who says there's no value there, if we get on a bus and I say I Bags the Back Seat, then I've got something I can sell, control of the back seat. After all I 'bags'd it first'.

    See American does have an economy, the economy of 'I bags that'. That'll work, yeh sure all we're doing is tying up companies in lawsuits, but heh, lawyer pay taxes too!

    And legal insurance, that's a booming business! I bags that too, that and the back seat of the bus.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    TG, 15 Aug 2007 @ 1:38pm

    Wouldn't Shakespeare have prior art on every single plotline imaginable?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2007 @ 3:34pm

    I'm going to paten the idea of patenting ideas...ffs, The USPO needs to get their shit together if someone can paten this idea, Jesus Christ.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonynous Coward, 15 Aug 2007 @ 5:50pm

    Hows that?

    Err, copyright doesn't give monopoly protection. As long as you don't literally copy the program, in the absense of a patent, you can implement the same function without violating anyone's rights. A decent programmer doesn't have to copy the code. True, if he is free to copy the code (if, for instance, the code was released under the GPL or other free license), then it is more efficient to copy the code, but just having a progrom copyrighted under a typical restrictive license doesn't impose any monopoly.

    So if you are defending the idea of giving up software copyrights in favor of patents, that isn't moving in the direction of shorter monopoly protection. Please reconsider if you think it is. If I misunderstood the point you were trying to make, I'm sorry -- please clarify.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2007 @ 6:06pm

    I'm thinking of patenting the process of commenting on posts relating to patent issues. I'll make a fortune.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2007 @ 8:54pm

    Re:

    no, you'll just stop people from commenting on posts related to patent issues...which might be the most appropriate analogy to what's actually happening

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Celes, 16 Aug 2007 @ 6:43am

    Re:

    Only those he didn't get from older stories (example: Pyramus and Thisbe -> Romeo and Juliet).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Aug 2007 @ 12:03am

    What's next?

    I'm thinking recipes. Imagine California Pizza Kitchen barbecue chicken pizza (patent pending). (Who cares if there was prior art.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 18 Aug 2007 @ 4:48am

    Re: Re:

    That doesn't matter, the mere existence of any prior art would be enough. Since virtually every storyline has been used before, there would be enough prior art for virtually any script patent to be overturned. Only weird, art house films would be patentable, and there is no point copying them anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    deusdiabolus, 25 Aug 2007 @ 2:17am

    The one possible advantage of this....

    ...is that we might finally start seeing more original ideas and fewer re-hashes of worn out plots. Not to mention finally kicking our "remake of a popular television series with a twist" addiction of late.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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