by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 13th 2010 8:54am
Bas Grasmayer points us to the claim that the Austrian town of Frauenkirchen has apparently tried to patent the fact that it represents the geographical midpoint of Europe. Apparently, there are a few nearby places that have also made claims to being the geophysical center of Europe, and someone decided to go that extra kilometer and try to patent it. Unfortunately, the details are really sparse. Wikipedia notes that it holds the Austrian patent AM 7738/2003, but navigating the Austrian patent website didn't work very well (um... language barrier...). The only source cited by Wikipedia is a speech from a few years ago, which mentions in passing that
a woman's church the town had patented it (Update: the name Frauenkirchen apparently means "woman's church" so this is a bit of a translation error -- the guy was referring to the town). I don't quite see how such a thing is even remotely patentable, and I do wonder if they actually mean trademark -- so perhaps someone who's a bit more familiar with this can fill us in. Either way, it sounds pretty ridiculous to apply for (and potentially get) any sort of "intellectual property" monopoly privilege on the claim of being the geophysical center of Europe.
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