News, , comedy, funny, grant, parody, patent, patent office, prior art, us, us patent — October 27, 2010 19:06 — 1 Comment
US Patent Office Patented, Forced to Close
Last month the US Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent last for the US Patent Office, in a display of institutional incompetence that surprised virtually no one. Now, due to lawsuit from Leon Montiero, a sales clerk in Jefferson Springs, WI, the patent office itself has been found in violation of this patent, and been ordered by a Wisconsin state judge to shut down, effective immediately.
Patent #6,433,927, “A system to allow for the awarding of original product design and creation, with a mechanism to grant the exclusive right to product said design, for a specified period of time,” was granted to Mr. Montiero despite the obvious fact that such a system already exists, and the fact that the part-time clerk could offer no evidence that he was, in fact, the creator of such a system.
“They never told me to prove nothin’.” Mr. Montiero said, during his morning break. “I just filled out the form and they said okay.”
The US Patent Office had long come under fire from a host of advocacy groups and corporate interests, who charge that it’s become an irrelevant joke, serving more to stifle innovation than to foster it, as was its original goal. Evidence of this can be found everywhere, according to opponents, and frequently manifests itself in the form of patents granted for naturally occurring plants and animals, products already on the market, and human DNA.
According to David Kappos, director of the now-defunct USPTO, granting a patent for the patent office itself was an error. “It’s something we should have caught, obviously. We usually do a prior art check on patent claims — well, most of the time we do, when Mary’s in the office — but this one must have slipped through the cracks. I’m pretty embarrassed by it, really.” Kappos said. “The worst part of all this is that we have the grounds to appeal the validity of the patent, because our existence itself is the prior art, but now that the office is closed, we have nowhere to appeal the decision.”
Former Director Kappos also responded to questions about why the USPTO didn’t simply license the right to run a patent office from Mr. Montiero, a lower-middle class worker with few prospects for the future: “We tried to license ourself from him; we offered him a lot of money, but even though he’s in very obvious need of additional income, he refused. He just mumbled ‘It’s better this way’ and walked out of the conference room, clutching a half-eaten bagel.”
Reactions to the closure of the Patent office have been largely positive: watchdog groups are calling this the best accidental step toward intellectual property protections in the last 50 years, while programmers the world over are celebrating a return to an era where they can make their applications look however they’d like, whether or not Apple or Microsoft has already used a completely obvious user interface element in the past.
When asked what Mr. Montiero planned to do with his newly awarded patent, the illiterate high-school dropout shuffled his feet slowly, describing a desire to go to the Dollar Wing night at a local Hooters.