Friday, July 30, 2010

Patent stupidity!

And yes, the title of this post is a deliberate pun! The issue in question is that of the ability to patent software and its associated ideas. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hands these things out like candy, frequently forgetting that a patent is supposed to be an original idea, not just an implementation of one or more existing ideas.

This issue has been bubbling for some time now, and will continue to do so for a long time. Today, however, I discovered that a jury has struck a patent down - specifically, it's Patent #7139761, "Dynamic association of electronically stored information with iterative workflow changes." You don't even have to read the patent itself - thanks to Google Patents, you can read a summary of what is apparently "claimed." Fun stuff, especially for insomniacs. Try reading the "claim" section out loud - after a few seconds it starts to sound pretty hilarious. Pure bafflegab. Enjoy!

Oh, you want more? Not asleep yet? Let's try one unrelated to software - #6179088, "Interlinked watercourses for sushi boats." Yes, that's right - sushi boats!!!

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