According to a study by the Boston University, 60% of the trials are made by patent trolls, and in 2011 in the USA the cost for businesses was of $ 30 billion. In order to make income, one comes to patent anything ...
Patent 6360393. Filed Dec 2, 1999. Granted. Published March 26, 2002.
A toy made of wood for an animal, for example a dog.
The patent describes the object as shown on the image on the left.
Patent 6080436. Filed July 14, 1999. Granted. Published June 27, 2000.
A method to refresh bread by baking at high temperature for more than a minute, i.e. a patent on toasted bread!
The figure on the left shows how the bread is toasted on the surface and not inside. This is also part of the invention!
Patent on the rotation of the image.
As shown in the picture to the left, the fact that an image goes from portrait to landscape mode would be an invention of Apple, when directed by thumbs. Look like they want to patent moves of the thumbs.
Patent 7963500. Filed Dec 6, 2006. Granted to Angela Holiday. Published Jun 21, 2011.
A mold for forming a snowman with spherical members comprised of plastic with overture to fill with snow.
Brevet 4022227. Granted to Frank & Donald Smith. Published Mai 10, 1977.
Method of concealing partial baldness.
A method of styling hair to cover partial baldness using only the hair on a person's head. The patent is very old, the patent joke is not something new.
Patent 6368227. Granted to Steven Olson. Published April 9, 2002.
Method of swinging on a swing
"A user positioned on a standard swing suspended by two chains from a tree branch induces side to side motion by pulling alternately on one chain and then the other".
Swinging on a swing would be the invention of Steven Olson, age 5. His father beeing itself lawyer had no fee to paid, he wanted him to learn how the patent system is working. But did not expected the patent to be validated.
Patent 5443036. Granted to Martin Abbott & Kevin Amiss. Published Novembre 2, 1993.
Method of exercising a cat
"Consists of directing a beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser onto the floor or wall in the vicinity of the cat, then moving the laser in an irregular way fascinating to cats."
Therefore using a bright spot to a cat deserved a patent.
Patent US20100175018. Application by Microsoft on January 7, 2009 (not granted yet).
Virtual page turn
"A page-turning gesture directed to a displayed page is recognized. Responsive to such recognition, a virtual page turn is displayed on the touch display. "
Even if I have already seen such graphical effect on personal computers as older as the Apple II. Here is a video of BeOs showing this same effect.
Patent 7788260. Filed 18/10/2004. Granted to Facebook. Published August 31, 2010.
Ranking search results based on the frequency of clicks on the search results
"Search results are generated in response to a query, and are marked based on frequency of clicks on the search results by members of social network. "
That makes Google jealous.
Brevet 8676045. Filled Nov 9, 2011. Granted to Amazon. Published March 18, 2014.
Take a photo on a white background
"A studio arrangement and a method of capturing images and/or video... A front light source aimed at a background, an image capture position located between the background and the front light source... "
Photographers are tearing their hair: they can not put their headlights as they would like without infringing a patent! Directing light onto the wall (which I do every day) is an invention.
- 3216423 Apparatus for faciliting birth by centrifugal force. (Australia)
- 5,251,294. Webvention claims $ 80,000 to any company using a dropdown menu.
- 5,838,906 on Interactive Web. Eolas firm, in fact a "Patent Troll" because it has no activity other that this, sued all actors of the Web for their pay hundreds of millions of dollars. The trial was held in Texas on Feb. 9 to which take part Google, Yahoo!, Amazon and even Tim Berners-Lee, considered the inventor of the Web. The jury quickly said the Eolas patents were invalid.
- 6757682. Alerting users to items of current interest.
- 4,873,662. British Telecom said it has filed a patent in 1976 on links in a page and that the patent was granted in 1986.
Following what it has sued the company Prodigy Internet December 13, 2000. The hyperlink patent case against Prodigy was lost by BT in 2002.
- Apple sentenced to pay 200 million dollars because of a patent (6 725 427) on a technology it used long before it was patented: Cover Flow.
- EOLAS. Microsoft sentenced to pay 520 million dollars for embedding objects in a Web page. The 5,838,906 patent is easy to bypass thus the interest to wait long before to sue!
- The United States Supreme Court was forced to invalidate a patent that referred to the application of laws of nature, after it has been accepted by the USPTO and all other authorities, before crashing in the highest authority in the country, which is still distressing.
Services againt patents
- Ask Patent. Established jointly by the USPTO and StackExchange this site answers questions and help find Prior Art.
- How to submit prior art to USPTO. To avoid a patent validated before it si too late. The prior art must follow some rules.
- Public Patent Foundation. A not-for-profit organization which fights against underserved patents.
- OPN Pledge. Google allows free use of certain patents provided they you do not pursue first. The interest is to give an advantage to the company that are not do trials. But it is useless against the patent trolls.
- Open Invention Network. A pool (including IBM, Novell, RedHat) created to protect Linux by filing patents to counterattack the firms that would sue Linux users.
- Swpat. Wiki about software patents.
- Innovator Patent Agreement. A project against patent trolls from Twitter.
- App developper Alliance. Pool including Google to fight patent trolls.
Documents and sites of interest
- Why we need to abolish software patents.
- The cost of patents. Too much money est used to protect against litigations, that could be used in innovation.
- When patents attack. About Intellectual Ventures and patents. An answer.
- Who is suying who? (Picture) The patent circus between mobiles makers...
- Patent office corruption. Maybe an explanation in this article from the Washington Post.