IP Madness

I hope that whoever’s behind the story to which David pointed yesterday has made a big mistake, or that the patent office (not having evaluated the patent application yet) will dismiss it outright. But the fact that someone might think it plausible to patent a story line — just throw in the actions against Google Print, and these cases amply illustrate the chilling winds generated by recent IP laws and decisions.

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  1. The press release exaggerates the importance of the fact that this patent application is going to be published. Any one can file a patent application that claims anything and the Patent Office, if the applicant does not object, will publish the application as a matter of course at 18 months since filing.

    In terms of IP rights, publication of a patent application does not mean anything unless and until the Patent Office actually grants a patent, and as far as I can tell the Patent Office haven’t even examined it on the merits yet. (When they do, the applicant will have to come up with some reason why the “printed matter doctrine,” which generally forbids this kind of stuff, does not apply.)

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