Who patents social networks anyway? Well many people do as there are over 7,000 patents pending out there relating to the formula of social networking, what you didn’t know there’s a special sauce to the relationship you and your friends have and oh you forgot to pay your monthly licensing fees to the bureau of friendship? Yes folks we in the United States and Europe have gone patent and copyright crazy if you will.
As the patent started out as all good, it was a means for someone who came up with a unique physical application of a concept to protect their idea for a set period of time, which in turn warranted a company’s investment in research. However invest they did and the obvious happened of course as all good things go, instead of registering actual things, it somehow lost its way to a place of generalities and vagaries and since it has a congressional over sight committee one can just guess how that happened.
As one story which I remember goes is that of the weed whip, basically the original was a tin tuna can with monofilament fishing line attached. However the inventor after Applying for a patent was told, it was to plain to receive one because it wasn’t a unique application. Ok, if combining a tin can and fishing line together to cut grass isn’t unique, then what is?
In fact many years of my life were spent dodging the infamous telecommunication ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) debacle where a person was issued a patent for the concept. Ok, how can one patent something again so general in nature and tie up the entire commercial world, what happened to the application part of the equation.
Speaking of equations, how does one patent those? Just think of the world if Einstein would have patented relativity as anyone who used one of those many formula’s would have to have paid a fee and with that a lot of things in the world today would not exist because it is such a fundamental part of the of the world we live in. Also is mathematics even patentable in the first place? As would this not be a kin to patenting the natural world as in saying an Oak tree is patentable?
This in turn leads to the concept that life itself is patentable as we do it all day long with hybrid species in the agra-business area. While one can understand part of this as companies who invest heavily in this want to protect their potential for returns, however one has to ask at what costs as what made the American farmer so strong is now gone as they can no longer practically own their own seed stock as the hybrid genes which are patented have crossed over into the main stream gene pool making those also controlled under the domain of the patented hybrids. Yes talk about the ultimate risk, our basic food sources are in essence controlled under the domain of patents and if you want to eat, you have to pay the price.
One of the things which is interesting to do is sign up for a mailing list of new patents, there are tons of them each day and its rather interesting to see some of them as it’s like the days of the gold rush. People running to stake a claim in the wild west of the idea world hoping one day to pounce for their fortune by either hook or crook within an over burdened legal system at the expense of the tax payer. Remember, information is expensive and therefore it wants to be free…