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Death of a patent system

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Read my lips: The American Patent System (TAPS) is dead.

Not “dead man’s bluff” dead. I mean “deader than a doornail” dead. Tomorrow morning, play taps for TAPS. And tomorrow afternoon, cut a deal for a one-time right to use that cute “He’s dead, Jim” browser-crash screen. Do be sure to tinker with it, though, to say “He’s dead, Tom.” In deference to Jefferson. Now there was a guy who “got” patents. As facilely as he got democracy. Unlike a few thought leaders of the early twenty-first century.

No matter. We didn’t need TAPS anyway. I guess. Not any more than we needed hard-nosed banking system regulation (whose silly idea was that?) or net neutrality (what nonsense) or social security (yes, social security).

I know. You think I’m Chicken-Little-ing this thing. But I’m not. If you doubt me, you haven’t pored over the recent (what seem like)  “we’re not sure we can explain why, but we’re sure patents are the devil in disguise” court opinions. Or the congress-sponsored “six ways to shoot patents in a barrel” patent reform legislation.

Brace yourself. There’s not much left to be done now before the lights are shot out and the gates locked. And ask yourself some questions. Will this spell the end of patents coming out of the patent office? It’s a good stream now, but will it soon be a trickle, and before long nothing? Will trouncing the patents that sneak out before the gates are shut require only a few hundred more of those “I can kill your patent faster than you can say America Invents Act” battles in the patent office? Will peace then  reign forever? Will hope dwindle of successful court enforcement of any patent that—by an odd miracle—survives the wars? And if the new regime gives signs of going AWOL, will more patent smashing legislation be on its way?

Who killed TAPS? Was it the kind of folk who might have missed seeing a socially useful economic incentive even if they had run it over on El Camino? Did they think of patents as nothing more than trivial road kill? Not worth a second glance in the rear view mirror?

TAPS never had a chance.

Why did we let this happen? Were we—the rag tag supporters of TAPS—too often looking the other way? Or too poor to protest? Or as fearful as young Alice when confronted by the Queen in Alice in Wonderland:

“… the Queen was in a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting `Off with his head!’ or `Off with her head!’ about once in a minute. Alice began to feel very uneasy: to be sure, she had not as yet had any dispute with the Queen, but she knew that it might happen any minute, `and then,’ thought she, `what would become of me? They’re dreadfully fond of beheading people here; the great wonder is, that there’s any one left alive!’”

Scary, of course. Too bad that we forgot how confidence and straight talk could have saved the day:

“The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at [Alice] for a moment like a wild beast, screamed `Off with her head! Off–‘ `Nonsense!’ said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.”

Maybe next time.

Just my two cents.

Written by thinker

November 30th, 2014 at 8:55 am