by Mike Masnick

Patent Nonsense

from the i-should-patent-the-combination-of-tech-and-dirt dept

A column in the SJ Merc about one of my favorite subjects: the ridiculousness of business model patents. Everyone in the valley seems to be getting these patents for no other reasons than (1) everyone else is doing it and (2) PR value of saying you have a patent. In almost all cases these patents should not be issued. They are not particularly new or novel ideas, and all they do is cause problems for other companies in the long run. They certainly don't server their purpose of encouraging new inventions. When are we going to reform our patent process?

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  • identicon
    Chris, 17 Aug 1999 @ 3:08pm

    a third reason for getting patents

    I think another reason that companies are
    filing for patents like there's no tomorrow
    is that there's a lot of money to be made
    from suing people over patent infringement.
    I remember an article on a similar web site
    a few weeks back discussing a company that seemed to have no other purpose other than to file patents and then wait to sue other companies
    who actually implemented similar ideas...

    Personally, I think this whole business of patenting mathematical formulas and algorithms (like RSA did a few years back for cryptography) and registering/copyrighting plain English words
    and phrases (like AOL just tried to do with "Buddy List" and "You've Got Mail") is not only stupid, but (like you said) hurts other businesses AND THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE (including consumers) in the long run...

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 17 Aug 1999 @ 3:44pm

      Re: a third reason for getting patents

      Yes, I agree with that third reason, though I think mentally I kinda included that in my head as the obvious reason. It's those companies (the patent and wait for licensing fees/lawsuits companies) that make this situation even worse. How exactly does that help stimulate industry and innovation? Obviously there's a problem.

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

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