What do you think when you think of the World Wide Web? You think of images and text and sound and video files? Well, too bad. Because you just trampled all over somebody's private property.
Whenever I read about some Internet patent, I think about how that patent would work in the real world. If I read something that says, "Method for transfer of data utilizing electronic media," I can't help but wonder WTF the Patent Office registrar was thinking when the patent application was approved. I've been transferring data since I was born. And I've been doing it electronically since I was stung by a radioactive lightning bug and became the superhero known to you as "Firefly Man."
It's like companies apply for patents for everything that didn't already happen to have a patent number. Like someone just searches some keywords and if they don't see a patent, they file one.... "Let's see 'process for third-party temporary remote data storage'.. Awesome! There's no patent listed for that! Quick! File for it!"
So what do you think I thought when I saw these next actual patents?
"Alerting Users to Items of Current Interest."I think of patents as things. And improvements on things. I don't think of patents as things we already have but are now available online so that makes them unique. To me, "building a better mousetrap" does not mean describing a method for building a better mousetrap unless the mousetrap is behind the couch catching mice. And the mousetrap isn't a cat.
"Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device."
"Browser for Use in Navigating a Body of Information, With Particular Application to Browsing Information Represented By Audiovisual Data."
But all these patents make me think of cats. They are things that exist or are necessary components of other things that exist. It's like you patented the steps on a ladder. Some other company makes the ladder, but you own the patent for the "Laterally installed devices in a ladder which allow for a human to achieve vertical movement."
But since most people don't understand the components of a software program, if someone claims that their software does something unique, we often believe them. It doesn't matter if it's a bullshit claim.
And it these cases, the companies accused of the violation are virtually a Who's Who of every huge internet company. So that in itself should be clue.
If you claim that so many others are violating your patent, then that supports the argument that your patent is for something that's so naturally a part of the function of the whole that it's absurd and should never have been allowed to become patented.
So I wonder how the Internet is able to function at all. I guess it can't if everyone keeps running around yelling, "Mine! Mine! Mine!"
Here is my patent application for which I expect approval: "Method for applying or 'spreading' butter or margarine to toast to increase its deliciousness." That's mine. I own it. And that includes croissants. So all you bastards owe me money.
If patents like these survive challenges, the we should all file class action suits against the owners:
Complaint: That the product, "Attention Manager for Occupying the Peripheral Attention of a Person in the Vicinity of a Display Device" has wasted everyone's TIME.
That individual and corporate productivity has decreased 30-55% due to the direct interference of this invention at a collective cost to individuals and corporations of $465 billion over the last 19 years. Our complaint accuses the inventor and/or patent holder of wasting our precious time by "occupying our peripheral attention" when we had important shit to do.
So we are asking for the full $465 billion in lost productivity plus punitive damages of $2 trillion.