Current State of IP is a Joke
Whatever your feelings towards intellectual property (IP), I think it's obvious that IP law around the world, and especially the United States is in dire need of serious reform (unlikely, says Stephan Kinsella). Patent and copyright limits need to be reduced substantially, as well as what is and isn't patentable. From the the Against Monopoly blog comes this list of outrageous patents (click through for outrageous judgements too):
- Amazon's "one-click" patent, asserted against rival Barnes & Noble
- Cendant's assertion that Amazon violated Cendant's patent monopoly on recommending books to customers (since settled)
- The attempt of Dustin Stamper, Bush's Top Economist, to secure a patent regarding an application for a System And Method For Multi-State Tax Analysis, which claims "a method, comprising: creating one or more alternate entity structures based on a base entity structure, the base entity structure comprising one or more entities; determining a tax liability for each alternate entity structure and the base entity structure; and generating a result based on comparing each of the determined tax liabilities"
- Apple's patent application for digital Karaoke
- the suit against Facebook by the holder of a patent for a "system for creating a community for users with common interests to interact in"
- the "absurdly broad patent [issued to Blackboard] for common uses of technology if that technology is employed in the context of education" (see also Patent Office Rejects Blackboard E-Learning Patent One Month After It Wins Lawsuit, Techdirt (Mar. 31, 2008)
- Compton's (now Encyclopedia Britannica's) patent that "broadly cover[s] any multimedia database allowing users to simultaneously search for text, graphics, and sounds basic features found in virtually every multimedia product on the market"
- Carfax's patent on a "method for perusing selected vehicles having a clean title history"
- Acacia's patent for putting a unique transaction number on a receipt
- Pat. No. 6,368,227, covering swinging sideways on a swing