Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Why not patent a movie?

A few months ago, I read this joke. Now, Andrew Knight wants to make it a reality.

Can someone tell me why this guy can't patent a movie? (link to Forbes magazine) The argument from the patent lawyers:

Patents generally cover "a machine, a process or a unique composition of matter," says William Heinze, an attorney with Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley in Atlanta who first wrote about Knight's idea on his Web site.

"Is a story line one of those? That would be a tough argument," Heinze says. "I'm all in favor of radical thinking, but that's a tough one."

So, that means that Andrew Knight can't patent the movie plot itself, but, what if the movie were part of a system involving a projector?

Richard Stallman described the idea of “literary patents” as a counter to the idea of software patents in June 2005. It was supposed to be a reduction to absurdity, and, his presentation of it probably wouldn't make it past anything but the sleepiest patent examiner (it could happen). But, as with reality television, it becomes ever harder to produce a satire of the US patent system. Now, we wait a couple of years to see if they reject the application.

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