EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.07.08

On Marriage Patents, Software Patents and Thought Patents

Posted in America, Australia, Europe, Novell, Patents, Samba at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The subject of Free software is closely related to the subject of software patents, which are a great threat to it. In order to illustrate just what sort of mess Novell has committed itself to, we continue to present some examples of the system’s failure and beneath lie some of the very latest.

Business Methods and… Marriage Methods Patents?!?!

This one is really spooky. It’s titled “Method and instrument for proposing marriage to an individual” [via Groklaw] and it had me check the Web browser’s address bar because it’s almost too bizarre to be true (none yet beats “Method of swinging on a swing” though). Alas, it turns out that this one is no forgery and it is actually filed in the USPTO. Here is the abstract:

The purpose of this invention is to provide an improved method of proposing marriage to an individual. The method of proposing to an individual generally comprising the steps of meeting the individual; exchanging names with the individual; dating the individual (not necessary); drafting a government document having a proposal to marry the individual incorporated therein; and showing the government document to the individual. The government document may be a patent application. The patent application may claim the method by which the proposor will make a marriage proposal to the individual. The proposor could then use the method claimed in the patent application to propose to the individual. The patent application could be the actual marriage proposal.

Be careful. And be very afraid of the ‘marriage police’ (see the recent CeBit incident). They could storm into the restaurant and confiscate your golden ring if you ‘dare’ to propose without paying for a licence. Sarcasm aside, business methods in Australia and Europe are not an impossibility either. Digital Majority has just found this paper. From the abstract:

This paper reviews the availability of business method patents in Australia in light of the 2006 decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court in Grant v Commissioner of Patents,5 which confirmed the need in Australia for a ‘useful product’ to issue from the working of a method (business or otherwise) in order for the method to be patentable.

It hardly gets as bad as business and tax patents (how about patents that kill?), but fortunately there might be some reversals in the United States.

Australia Receives Lesson in Software Patents

Tridgell, of Samba fame, has served some ministers justice down there in Australia where decision makers gathered to discuss Free software. Here is a quote-worthy bit from a much larger article.

“The key issue that needs to be solved is independent invention. IP doesn’t cope with the commonly occurring ‘idea whose time has come’ – the patent system considers that a crime,” Tridgell said.

There is a similar situation down in South Africa (down as in “southern hemisphere”, just to be clear). It will be presented in the next post.

Bilski Case Revisited

A reader sent us a headsup with the following press release, adding: “Bilski is a case that is being closely watched by the Patent Bar.”


> http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/gen/34784prs20080404.html
> http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/freespeech/in_re_bilski_aclu_amicus.pdf [PDF]

ACLU Introduces First Amendment Argument In Key Patent Law Case
(4/4/2008)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: (212)549-2666; media@aclu.org

Patenting Abstract Ideas Violates The Constitution, Group Says

WASHINGTON – Introducing a rare argument applying the First Amendment
to patent law, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend of
the court brief today urging a federal court to uphold the denial of a
patent that would, if awarded, violate freedom of speech. In the
brief, the ACLU argues that Bernard L. Bilski is seeking a patent for
an abstract idea, and that abstract ideas are not patentable under the
First Amendment.

“The court must ensure that any test it uses in determining whether to
award a patent is in line with the Constitution,” said Christopher
Hansen, senior staff attorney with the ACLU First Amendment Working
Group, who filed the brief. “If the government had the authority to
grant exclusive rights to an idea, the fundamental purpose of the
First Amendment – to protect an individual’s right to thought and
expression – would be rendered meaningless.”

In 2006, Bilski sought a patent for his idea that the weather risk
involved in buying and selling commodities could be minimized if
sellers had conversations with two buyers instead of one. The U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office denied his request and the Board of Patent
Appeals and Interferences affirmed the denial. Bilski appealed that
decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the
court has agreed to hear the case in a single joint session in May.

“Patent law prohibits the patenting of abstract ideas, but recently
the courts and the patent office have been granting patents that
consist essentially of speech or thought,” said Hansen. “If the
government continues to allow patents of speech or thought it risks
violating the First Amendment. No one can have a monopoly on an idea
or prohibit speech on a particular subject.”

The ACLU’s brief is available online here:
www.aclu.org/freespeech/gen/34783lgl20080403.html


Pay-to-think schemes, eh? Where does one pay the toll?

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 27/1/2020: Linux 5.5 is Out, Work on Linux 5.6 Commences, New Solus and Award for Andrew Tridgell

    Links for the day



  2. EPO: Goodbye to the Rule of Law and Hey Hi, AI!

    The EPO’s embrace of buzzwords — no longer a unique EPO strategy (it has already spread elsewhere) — puts examiners in a very bad position and they’re grappling with nerve- and mind-racking dilemmas (risk of unemployment for truly upholding the EPC)



  3. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 26, 2020



  4. Links 26/1/2020: MuseScore 3.4 Released, New Kate Icon and Solus 4.1 Fortitude Available

    Links for the day



  5. MIT and Microsoft Have Done Nothing to Actually Tackle Pedophilia and Ephebophilia

    MIT never actually resolved the issue that caused Joi Ito, Richard Stallman and others to be ejected; Microsoft meanwhile continues to profit from life-changing abuse (while seeding puff pieces in friendly media, just to pretend otherwise)



  6. Opinion: If You Advocate Population Control and You Are Yourself Doubling in One Single Generation, Then You Might be Hypocritical

    People with 3-5 children (each) tell us that the world has an overpopulation problem; while the growth of the population certainly poses a risk, these people lack the moral authority to lecture us about that (unless they adopt a eugenicist worldview, wherein only particular people are permitted to reproduce)



  7. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 25, 2020



  8. Nothing Has Truly Changed Since Netscape and Antitrust

    The same old crimes persist, as well as the blatantly anticompetitive behaviour



  9. When the Monopolists and the Patent Litigation Industry Hijack the News They Control the Narrative

    Money buys perception and litigation firms have certainly 'bought' the media coverage, which fails to convey the issue at stake and instead paints a rational court decision as tragedy for "innovation" (by "innovation" they mean monopolies on nature and on life)



  10. Links 25/1/2020: OPNsense 20.1 RC1 and DXVK 1.5.2

    Links for the day



  11. The Linux Kernel is No Longer Free Software?

    Gardiner Bryant, the creator of The Linux Gamer as well as The Off Topical Podcast, reacts to our articles about DRM in Linux (he even pronounced my name correctly)



  12. Sometimes Proprietary Software is Proprietary (Secret) Simply Because It is Not Good and Obfuscation Helps Hide Just How Ugly It Is

    Why nonfree (or proprietary) software generally fails to catch up with Free/libre software — at least on technical grounds — and then makes up for it with marketing and FUD offensives (discrediting perfectly-functioning things, based on their perceived cost)



  13. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, January 24, 2020



  14. Links 24/1/2020: GNU/Linux in Russia and More New Openings

    Links for the day



  15. When EPO Press Coverage Boils Down to Lobbying, Press Releases, EPO Lies, and Bribery

    Any attempts to properly assess and explain what happens in Europe's patent landscape are being drowned out by EPO-bribed and law firms-connected media; to make matters worse, the EPO's bribes have expanded to academia, so even scholarly work in this domain is corrupted by money of special interest groups



  16. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 23, 2020



  17. Links 23/1/2020: Qubes OS 4.0.3, EasyOS 2.2.5, GhostBSD 20.01

    Links for the day



  18. Passion of the Microsoft

    A rough timeline of Microsoft’s interactions with Linux and the Linux Foundation since 2015



  19. The Patent Microcosm is Really Panicking as European Patents on Life and Other Spurious Junk (Invalid Patents) Are Successfully Rejected

    European Patents (EPs) may be revoked en masse if what we're seeing is the gradual emergence of 'European Mayo' (and maybe soon 'European Alice')



  20. Distractions From Microsoft's Gigantic Tax Evasion and Contribution to Denial of Climate Science

    Microsoft (connected to oil companies) wants us to think of it as a "green" company; not only does it contribute to climate denial but it also evades tax, which is a serious crime that costs tens of billions of dollars (the public pays this money instead)



  21. Confirmation: System1/Startpage Offered Pay to People Who Pushed for (Re)Listing in Privacy Directories

    The debate is now settled; those arguing in favour of listing Startpage as privacy-respecting are in fact secretly 'compensated' by Startpage (in other words, they're Startpage 'shills')



  22. Vandana Shiva: “Bill Gates is Continuing the Work of Monsanto”

    A recent interview on what Bill Gates is really up to in that sham ‘charity’ of his



  23. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 22, 2020



  24. Extending Linux With DRM, Azure and exFAT

    An insufficiently 'conservative' Linux ceases to be freedom-respecting



  25. Linux Foundation (LF) Now Dominated by Lots of Microsoft People and LF Chiefs Join Microsoft in Smearing GPL/Copyleft

    We continue to see additional evidence which serves towards reinforcing our view that the so-called 'Linux' Foundation is actually hostile towards many things that are associated with Linux (unlike those looking to exploit/hijack Linux for proprietary ends)



  26. Links 22/1/2020: Wayland 1.18 Alpha, ODF 1.3 Approved

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 21, 2020



  28. Poor Excuses for Granting Poor (and Often Illegal/Invalid) Patents

    A quick look at some of the latest examples of software patents advocacy (not by actual software professionals, obviously) and why it's deeply misguided (or guided solely by greedy law firms)



  29. A Simple Plan For a Universal Free Software Community

    "For software to be free as in freedom, we need more people to care personally about software freedom."



  30. Links 21/1/2020: Wine 5.0 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 Beta

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts