Haven't there been similar disputes in the past with Amazon.com? Anyhow many software patents are weird to say the least, and often very very general.
With the size and influence ebay has, I'd not be surprised if there were some serious reform to software patents in the near future. Something along the lines of requiring that the patented thing represents serious and top-level intellectual investment and not just an exercise in second-guessing.
These patents are ridiculous as will as frivolous. They are specifically applied to things things that cannot legally be patented (ideas). But since they involve "technology", they are granted by the not so tech-savvy USPO. Can you imagine these types of patents applied offline? A patent on the "express checkout" at the grocery store. A patent on the "red-tag" sales sticker. But if it's done in a virtual environment an idea is somehow patentable? Just add the word "electronically" to anything and it can be patented. Then you can hope to sue some deep pocketed company like ebay, if they "infringe" on your patent. Or you can take the approach of suing several small companies that don't have deep pockets for lawyers and hope to get a number of settlements. Only in the good old US, can you have a business model based upon litigation.
I thought the recent KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc [nytimes.com] decision by the US supreme court was meant to have brought this under some sort of control.
|If the combination results from nothing more than “ordinary innovation” and “does no more than yield predictable results,” the court said in a unanimous opinion, it is not entitled to the exclusive rights that patent protection conveys. “Were it otherwise,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in the opinion, “patents might stifle, rather than promote, the progress of useful arts.” |
I just patented "digg this" and "blog it now" so its illegal for anyone to comment or blog on anything anymore.
You can send your payments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Patents were created and maintained to encourage research and development. Does a "buy it now" patent do that even in the slightest?
You might as well patent the entire concept of selling things on the internet.
When I walk through a park I walk from NW corner to SE corner.. always. I start with my left foot and follow with my right. always. This process whereby you can traverse a park successfully was not an easy one to come by.....my innovative process must be protected.
For no-one would think to do this themselves and so if they do they must have gotten the idea from me.
Stop the insanity! (Wait can I say that without paying that bald lady?)
We need a serious review of what can be patented or not... this is reaching levels of ridiculousness so great that soon every time you come up with an efficient solution in code someone will be pointing to their patent of that process.
Members of "PATENT REFORM NOW", a loosely formed group of software developers who claim patents on obvious functionality stifle new software from reaching the market have been shut down as a judge ruled the term "PATENT REFORM NOW" infringes on a patent held by a software company which developed a web based poll specifically designed to elicit people's thoughts on whether there should or should not be any change to the current patent approval process.
|Members of "PATENT REFORM NOW", a loosely formed group of software developers who claim patents on obvious functionality stifle new software from reaching the market have been shut down as a judge ruled the term "PATENT REFORM NOW" infringes on a patent held by a software company which developed a web based poll specifically designed to elicit people's thoughts on whether there should or should not be any change to the current patent approval process. |
Post of the day!
I am still laughing over this.
Hey, maybe I can patent the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. Then whenever someone wants to invoke their "rights" they'll have to pay me a small fee. :)
I suggest you name your "invention":
"Method and Apparatus for Recalling Constitutional Amendments"
...why limit yourself to the U.S.
It sounds funny.. but I remember when "West Law" sued over lawyers and courts citing numbered pages in courthouse records -- in effect, by selling legal stationary and record books, West established a method and apparatus for recording (public) legal information and held that nobody could use the system without paying them.
I'm against patents. They are supposed to foster innovation but instead stifle it as the government profits at every turn with patent fees and court costs.
Then of course, you must trust that the "experts" at the patent office know enough about every invention to hand out patents with justice. I'm sure patent officers have really impressive degrees and that their own self interest is the interest of the public.