Sunday, May 02, 2010

Patent Absurdity

 Ever hear how Amazon managed to patent the idea of "One-Click Shopping?"  That's right -- they were granted a patent for the idea of pre-entering your credit card info so when you clicked on the "Buy Now" button, you didn't have to re-enter all your financial data.  When Barnes and Noble later offered a similar service, Amazon sued for (get this) patent infringement.

Years later, large chunks of the original broad patent were thrown out, but not without a lot of money being flushed down the toilet that is occasionally our legal system. The European Patent Office refused to grant a patent.

This sort of nonsense abounds.

A couple of weeks ago, a new short documentary was released on-line entitled, "Patent Absurdity: how software patents broke the system." In it, independent filmmaker Luca Lucarini looks at how our current patent system has managed to screw by issuing patents on the flimsiest of premises and the history of how this sorry state of affairs has arisen.

Download or stream the video (Ogg Theora format) or view at DailyMotion (no YouTube version currently available that I am aware of).

Lawrence Lessig has written extensively on the current sorry state of software patents, copyright abuse and intellectual property, as has the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). If this sort of thing concerns you, I'd advise you to see what they have to say.

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