May 28, 2003

Patent Ripoff

This guy Woolston has an idea for selling stuff on the internet. Then he does what any average systems analyst does everyday and comes up with a method of carrying out his idea using lots of different pre-existing tools (pcs, databases, networks, etc). And for this he gets a patent and wins a verdict in a suit against Ebay with an initial judgement of $35 million???? Hopefully this will be overturned on appeal.

You can read one of the related patents here though you might start giggling pretty quickly at the fact that our current patent policy is so broken that it issued this patent.

More background material on this type of patent is here and the noted Jefferson letter on the subject of ideas as patents is here:

I assume it is a Lemma, that it is the invention of the machine itself, which is to give a patent right, and not the application of it to any particular purpose, of which it is susceptible. If one person invents a knife convenient for pointing our pens, another cannot have a patent right for the same knife to point our pencils.

Posted by Steve on May 28, 2003
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