Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Patents out of hand?

I don't know if I'm the only one that has this view, but the USPTO has really gotten out of hand.  I think that the people granting Patents over there don't know their own rules. 

Patents cannot be:
-Laws of nature
-Physical phenomena
-Abstract ideas
-Literary works (these are copyrighted)
-Not useful
-Offensive to public morality

The invention must also be:
-Novel
-Nonobvious
-Adequately described or enabled
-Claimed by the inventor in clear and definate terms.

Granted the Microsoft/Eloas patent did fall into these categories, however it wasn't "Novel" in that the prior art already existed.  In the SightSound/CDNow case though the following statement is hardly "Novel", "Nonobvious", or "Adequately described".  It also is largely an "Abstract Idea" which patents can not be.

I quote from the recent CNet Article
'The patents--granted to SightSound in 1992--give the company control over a technique for "electronic sales and distribution of digital audio or video signals," specifically over a "telecommunications line."'

Electronic sales and distribution of digital audio or video signals over a telecommunications line?  How vague can you be?  The only saving grace that I have to imagine that this falls as a "Design patent" and is only in effect for 14 years.  Assuming a filing date of 1989 (quantified as late 80's), it's got to be set to run out soon.

Am I alone in thinking these patents that are floating around out there are ludicrous, or has the PTO gotten out of hand?

Elephant
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

PTO examiners work on a quota system. The fastest way to clear a patent is to approve it.

You do the math.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

http://golfsgoofiestgadgets.com/archive.htm -- seems there was a huge backlog in this department...

Dreamcatcher
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home