Web-related software patents
February 22, 2000 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Web-related software patents are starting to look like the new cyber-squatting equivalent. People are patenting all sorts of mundane things like "electronic shopping carts" and "making secure purchases via the internet." My guess is in 3 or 4 years, after many of these silly patents have been awarded, we'll see a restructuring of the US patent system.
posted by mathowie (2 comments total)
there was a GREAT article in the most recent edition of hbr about patents as strategic weapons in the new economy. they discussed patents in software, and in traditional products and markets, too.

my favorite anecdote: you know the gillette sensor razors? there are 22 patents on that razor, including one on the container! (it "had the proper masculine sound and feel when it was ripped", the say...). amazing.

(unfortunately, hbr only puts the first page or so of their stories online, so you'll have to get the mag to see the whole thing; it's about 12 pages worth, and well worth the read and cover price)

anyway, patents walls are definitely going to cause major issues, and anyone familiar with the u.s. patent process will tell you that it's about 40 years overdue for an overhaul. it's pretty much a joke at this point...
posted by mmanning at 1:31 PM on February 22, 2000

Well, I hate to sound paranoid, but they really are out to get us.

The rise of the internet, free software, and a wide open many-to-many distribution model is a serious threat to some very fat cash cows, and those who have been milking them are not pleased. So it's war. Their minions-in-armani-suits are pouring even now from the gates of Mordor. The question being, what's a hobbit to do...
posted by dinsdale at 8:53 PM on February 22, 2000

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