Letters to the Community & Opinion -> Opinions, Rants and Ponderings

Patent Law is out of control

posted at 7:59 am Sat Oct 21st, 2006 by Rene Churchill (rcc)

Patents have been spiraling out of control for the past decade or so but I think they've finally gone too far in a way that will cause a legal correction.

Patent law has been slowly creeping and expanding over the past decade or so, allowing sillier and siller things to be patented. (For example, Dunkin Donuts has a patent on a donuts that is half covered in frosting)

However, in the compter world, if someone is granted a patent on an obvious technique (such as Amazon.com's patent on one-click ordering, and several other companies attempts to patent the shopping cart) then the patent holder can legally prevent all other companies from using that technique. Sometimes they demand outragous licensing fees from other companies, sometimes they withhold permission in order to keep their competitve advantage.

According to this article in the International Herald Tribune, http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/19/business/norris20.php
some companies are dabbling in patenting their tax strategies.

From the article: "Could I get a patent on taking a deduction for dependents, so that every parent in America would have to pay a royalty to me to take advantage of the tax law passed by Congress?" So by following the tax law in a particular fashion, one could actually be breaking the law.

My fondest hope is now that patents are stepping on the toes of people with big money, that Congress will finally step in and rein in the out of control patent system.

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Waterbury, VT 05676 (Set as Local)

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