Immoral Patents rev. 04.16.2009 Back to Lessons

Reference:, discussion threads at and cover story at

Also read Information Week's Editor in Chief Bob Evans' article, Business Technology: Here's One That's Just Patently Absurd Oct. 7, 2003

There is a critical issue brewing in the United States, and as it grows, it will threaten the entire economy, as well as any potential "recovery" from the recent declines....

In the October 21, 2003, issue of Information Week, Editor Stephanie Stahl, tells the story of an elderly passenger on an airplane telling, presumably, his grandson, to have an "open mind"....

"Having an open mind will keep your brain active, it will keep you smart, it will make you compassionate, it will help you understand and reason with others.... But don't open it up so much that your brains spill out!"

Great advice, and advice that should be heeded by the US Patent Office.
Here are some quotes from threads at InformationWeek....

Our legal community shall work together to stop unethical lawyers to victimize businesses, small or large by raging law suits for greedy business or individuals. There got to be major changes in our patent laws to stop awarding such generalized claims on using such common computer and Internet technology to do e-commerce. These technologies have been going through an accelerated phase of development, while our patent office is still using these totally obsolete 100 years old patent law inherited from the old continent.


I enjoyed the article "Small companies say they're being sued for employing common practices for doing business on the Net" By John Soat. I remember in the pre-2000 years there was patent on how to convert a 2 digit year to a 4 digits year, this was something taught in first year computer science classes and is rather easy. These guys are bullies preying on the lunch money of the small companies that can't defend themselves, of course with the way society works, these guys are on the fast track to being CEOs of the nation's large companies. Next thing you know someone will come up with a patent for crossing the street and we will have to put a quarter in a box on a corner every time we need to get to the other side.

And a potential solution:

To me, the solution seems obvious. If a company has already paid, there is not much one can do, however, for those companies considering a fight, I would create an organization of people that have been sued, and then add people that are even LIKELY to be sued. The purpose of said organization being :

  1. provide strength in numbers so anyone being attacked would be an attack on all,
  2. pool legal resources; one small company might not be able to afford a protracted legal battle so they pay up, but the resources of a hundred or a thousand companies, now that is something else,
  3. provide support to small businesses so they know they are not alone,
  4. Picture this: If 1000 companies each pay $100, that's $100,000 that can be used to nip this in the bud before these folks get too brazen and too big and decide to take on the big guys.
  5. Another possibility is have a sliding scale to join the "organization" based on company revenues.

Here I was, free-market advocate that I am, ready to look to my Senators and Representatives for help.... Ready to ask why the US Patent Office has not checked out its employees to see whether they understand the issues involved, and can tell the difference between a truly new "invention" and the application of a new technology [e.g., computers,] to implement solutions simply faster and easier.

Shame on me, but I'll be contacting my representatives, anyway.

rev. 10.21.2002 © Copyright 2002-2009 by plusaf. All rights reserved.