Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 30th Jun 2012 19:34 UTC
Legal Yesterday, we were treated to another preliminary injunction on a product due to patent trolling. Over the past few years, some companies have resorted to patent trolling instead of competing on merit, using frivolous and obvious software and design patents to block competitors - even though this obviously shouldn't be legal. The fact that this is, in fact, legal, is baffling, and up until a few months ago, a regular topic here on OSNews. At some point - I stopped reporting on the matter. The reason for this is simple: I realised that intellectual property law exists outside of regular democratic processes and is, in fact, wholly and utterly totalitarian. What's the point in reporting on something we can't change via legal means?
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No, the problem is software patents.

While you are right with respect to the question you answered, in the big picture, the other two IP systems, copyright and trademark, are flawed too.

Copyright lasts way too long. After the author's death? Why? How come people who had nothing to do with the work in question are entitled to royalties? My great-grandchildren won't get a penny from my current employer, and that's how it should be. Imagine if all companies had an obligation to pay your salary to your grandchildren, 70 years after you are gone. Plus extensions. And also in that time, nobody would be allowed to fill your job (OK, this last one is not entirely accurate).

Trademark is no better. From the Wikipedia page : "The Walt Disney Company currently has a trademark application pending with the US Patent and Trademark Office, filed November 19, 2008, for the name "Snow White" that would cover all live and recorded movie, television, radio, stage, computer, Internet, news, and photographic entertainment uses, except literature works of fiction and nonfiction."

So it's OK to write a story about Snow White, -- maybe not on the Internet, though, -- but creating a TV series or drama act is not? How can a company have an exclusive trademark for a name that was invented by someone else probably centuries ago, (two times, no less,) when even the copyright for the Brothers Grimm's book has long since expired?

(And sadly, judging from how they treat software patents, I have not a second's doubt that the UPSTO will grant the trademark.)

Edited 2012-07-02 07:33 UTC

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