Sunday, 31 July 2011

software patents(tm)

Below is a copy of my entry in Webook's Daily Deal Write-up Challenge, this month's writing challenge. I don't expect it to win or even come close, because the standard this month has been very high, but at least I got it off my chest.

I wasn't able to say everything I wanted to because of the word limit, so here's a few additional links for background:

And here's the Webook entry:
software patents(tm)

Tired of other people being richer and more successful than you? Want to bring them crashing down to Earth? Well now you can, with Software Patents(tm)!

You may think you've missed the boat, with patents existing already  for buying with one click (U.S. patent  5,960,411), hiding a page while it's being built (also known as double buffering, used in just about every game ever) (5,889,522), having a search engine that ranks sites according to the number of links between them (7,987,195), drawing a box round something to select it with 'handles' at the corners for moving and resizing (6,891,551), and displaying a document with associated images just like every web browser does (5,778,372). However, these are only scratching the surface.

Why should your old professor get all the respect? By going though the lecture notes he provided, and patenting everything in them, YOU become top dog! So what if he couldn't patent his ideas even if he had wanted to, because in his day people took seriously the law (never rescinded) that software couldn't be patented? His loss is your gain! It's a no holds barred, first-come, first-served, feeding frenzy!

(Don't bother with ancient computer science textbooks, though. We've scoured the index of every single one, and patented every algorithm.)

Alternatively,  go for something totally generic. For instance, patent music streaming, and YOU can sue Spotify out of existence! (Oh wait, somebody's already doing that). Patent the idea of having a hedgehog in a video game, and YOU can be king of the gaming world! So what if Sega trademarked "Sonic the Hedgehog"? Patents trump trademarks. So what if hedgehogs have been in video games for years? That sort of thing has never hindered any other patent application. Just be resolute, and you can't lose.
Just buy the idea of softare patents! It's a  goldmine!

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