Saturday, February 08, 2003

Intellectual property run wild

I'm sure that there's a bit of good business sense applied here, but I was kind of saddened when I saw the following. What we can't copyright, we patent. What we can't patent, we trademark. What we can't trademark, we copyright.

Next time you throw together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, remember that if you had applied for the patent before 1995, you could have been there first.

And while a lighter manufacturer was able to get a trademark for the shape of their lighters, you wonder who else will follow that route. Maybe a tire manufacturer can get a trademark for the shape of their tires?

If copyright law can be used to keep people from making replacement toner cartridges for printers, why not?

It strikes me that any of the above could have easily been used five years ago as companion pieces to a 1998 Onion article called Microsoft patents Ones, Zeros.

I am inspired to come out with a new line of foods after reading them though. One package would contain milk and cookies. Another would have donuts and coffee. I'm thinking of calling them "dunkables." I hope someone doesn't have the patent yet. Don't worry, you'll still be able to dunk in the privacy of your own home without having to send me a check.

No comments: