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Bizarre and Dangerous Patents

Patent Office - Herbert C. Hoover Building



Summary: Some new patent stories that show how harmful patents have become

THE patent system is not changing fast enough, at least not for the better. There is now a patent on how to cut meat, as explained here:



I first saw this story when it appeared on Matt Yglesias Moneybox blog on May 22. It has since been taken down, but you can Google the subject ("Oklahoma State University tries to patent a steak") and see that similar stories have been picked up by a lot of echoes.

Originally Matt Yglesias was joining the rest of us who cite ridiculous examples of patents and copyrights. In this one, he found that Oklahoma State University had applied for a patent on a cut of steak, or more exactly, how it is butchered.


There are also infamous patents on how to make a sandwich. Way to go, USPTO.

Here is another new article -- one highlighting the impact of patents on the autistic (mentioned here before):

Few apps available for the iPad sell for $300—and even fewer are considered a bargain at the price. But "Speak for Yourself" turned consumer-grade tablets into sophisticated Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices for those struggling to speak due to issues like autism; standalone hardware offering the same capabilities goes for up to $15,000.


And guess what? Patents on software killed this competition -- that which is intended to aid customers by lowering prices.

The same type of patent madness is killing some Android apps and Google's accumulation of patents (feeding propaganda from Microsoft and its boosters at Ars Technica) cannot quite help.

Those of us who eat (that's everyone) or develop and use apps (I do both) are affected by this whole patent madness because prices are being elevated and innovation is being forcibly removed from the market. How can anyone argue in favour of patents as the basis for innovation?

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