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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
01-16-2011, 04:03 PM
Originally Posted by USS Parallax
Why don't we rework the crappy system.

It's basically a free-for-all grab what you can battle. It's a tool for stupid lawsuits. Most patents, yes most, are idiotic and shouldn't be allowed.

Marvel and DC own the word "superhero" through trademark...

Magic the Gathering's Wizard's of the Coast owns "tapping" cards. Yes, they own the act of turning a card ninety degrees. They've literally SUED a lot of people because they turn things ninety degrees too.

The fact that expired patents can be grabbed and repatented by anyone so easily is ridiculous. This leads to pure crap like...
Patenting an action that's thousands of years old. I know someone who made jewelry and there's a certain technique that is thousands of years that she used to make some of her jewelry. Literally thousands of years old. Well, someone patented it so she couldn't do it anymore!

Not to mention that companies sometimes horde patents that would be hugely beneficial to society just to protect their profits. That should be a criminal offense with a life sentence.

I recognize the need for patents and trademarks but the laws behind them are too often stupid.

According to Title 35 of the United States Code an invention must meet several requirements to be eligible for a patent. The invention must concern patentable subject matter (section 101). The invention must be novel and the application for a patent on the invention must be timely (section 102). The invention must be non-obvious (section 103). Finally, the invention must be sufficiently documented (section 112).

This means that while you can file for, and maybe even mistakenly be awarded a patent, the patent will not hold up in court if it is a previously existing invention.

As far as extensions, very particular criteria have to be met for an extension to be granted, a delay in FDA aproval would be an example. These are generally legit and are needed.

Any loss in benefits from not having intellectual properties immediately open to the public is completely offset by the increased level of investment in developing these properties, which would be lost if there was no means to see a return on investment.

Trademarks are a slighlty different animal. For a trademark to be valid and then remain valid the owner has to maintain their claim of excusivity. In other words they cannot allow their trademark to become generic or they will lose the claim upon said trademark. If the trademark is already generic, then it is not valid from the begining. At the time that Marvel and DC filed their claim upon the term superhero as a trademark they had legitimate claim upon that term being the only producers of superhero related material at the time that trademark was granted. How long they will be able to retain control of that trademark is in question, but having that trademark requires them to vigorously defend it or they will lose it, and even then if the courts determine that it has become generic enough they lose it.

An important note about trademarks, they are very limited as to what constitutes a claim, fair usage is very murky, but you can be pretty certain that you will be safe using the term in everyday conversation or even on the internet or in an article, as long as you are not using the term to push a competing product or in a way that would otherwise dilute the trademark.

The laws themselves are intelligent and necessary, it is the way some people try to manipulate them that is stupid.