VentureBeat has news on two "startups" (which neither really are) that could possibly "upend" intellectual property laws: Qentis (copyright) and Cloem (patents).
The first, Qentis, was covered here previously. Qentis isn't actually a company. It appears to be the trolling byproduct of artist Marco Marcovici. The "company" claims to be algorithmically generating millions of photos and pages of text at a rate that will soon see it creating copyrighted material faster than the creators themselves. At some point, Qentis will hold the copyright of everything that can possibly be created, making every new creation instantly infringing.
Never mind the fact that no one has the computing power to generate photos and text at the rate Qentis is claiming it can, or the fact that algorithmically banging out creative works in advance of others doesn't make independent creations automatically infringing. Never mind pretty much all of it because the claims are so blatantly false as to be laughable, especially considering the source.
On the other hand, Cloem's business model seems a bit more grounded in reality. VentureBeat describes Cloem -- and its aims -- this way:
[A] company that provides software (not satirically, it appears) to linguistically manipulate a seed set of a client’s patent claims by, for example, substituting in synonyms or reordering steps in a process, thereby generating tens of thousands of potentially patentable inventions.
Cloem describes its team
as a mixture of patent experts and "computer linguistic specialists." The key element of its potentially-patentable variations lies within "seed lists," which draw from a variety of sources, including (according to Cloem) "70,000,000 patent documents." Its algorithms then brute force together lists of "new" patent claims, which can then be filed and used offensively or defensively.
Cloem's business model seems custom-built for patent trolls
, who will be able to "expand" their already-broad patents to nail down even more IP turf. Cloem's service also makes it easy for non-inventors to jam up patent offices with me-too "inventions" based on minor iterations of existing patents. While there's a good chance some of these will be tossed due to prior art, more than a few will inevitably make their way past examiners. With millions of patents just waiting to be iterated into "new" methods, Cloem's service further separates "inventing" from "invention."
It's a system that's built for abuse, but Cloem doesn't see it that way. In response to a somewhat critical post at RatioIP
, Cloem's rep offers up the defense of "Hey, we just make the tool. We can't control how it's used."
In our view, Cloem is a logical and natural evolution of the patent system. The technology in itself is neutral. Like a tool, we can use it in many ways, both offensive and defensive. It may well be that we could help to “raise the bar” and get rid of undue patents. Some see our system as an embodiment of the “skilled person” (i.e. which indicates what “routine work” can produce and reach), although we do think that cloem texts can be inventive, that is not excluded from patentability.
And that's mostly true. Entities wishing to protect their prior inventions could
"fence off" adjacent territory and deter future lawsuits by producing and filing very closely-related patents. But a tool like this -- if it creates anything patentable at all -- will always be more attractive to the "offensive" side of the equation.
sets the company at the forefront of an IP revolution, but its envisioned future is no more heartening than Qentis' dystopian, IP-generating machines of loving grace
. At least Qentis is a joke. Cloem's taglines only read
With Cloem, you can invent more, faster and cheaper.
Except there's no "invention" taking place. Nothing generated by Cloem's algorithms will be any more "inventive" than all the re-skins and palette swaps clogging up the "Games" section in mobile app stores. Cloem hopes to bridge the gap between its "silos of knowledge" and its silos of synonyms, somehow coming up with worthwhile patents in the process. Sure, previous knowledge always informs new creations, but it takes more than swapping the sentence
"a plurality of discrete content items arranged chronologically" around in the method description to generate inventive, worthwhile patents.