Sunday, March 19, 2006

Patenting absurdities

Update (22 March 2006): NYTimes has an editorial on the need to fix the US patent system.

I wanted to end this essay by telling a story about how current rulings hurt us, but the patent for "ending an essay with an anecdote" is owned. So I thought to end with a quotation from a famous person, but that strategy is patented, too. I then decided to end abruptly, but "abrupt ending for dramatic effect" is also patented. Finally, I decided to pay the "end with summary" patent fee, since it was the least expensive. [...]

Oh, and by the way: I own the patent for "essay or letter criticizing a previous publication." So anyone who criticizes what I have said here had better pay a royalty first, or I'll see you in court.

That's Michael Crichton, arguing strongly for dismantling the current US system that allows patenting of broad strategies.