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Re: patent jokes?



Yup, US Patent 5,443,036 is my all-time favorite. Read the claims.  It
covers the act of using a laser pointer to tease a cat. Not the
specific design of a particular laser pointer particularly well suited
for teasing a cat, but the actual *act* of teasing a cat with *any*
laser pointer. Check it out:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1='5,443,036'.WKU.&OS=PN/5,443,036&RS=PN/5,443,036

I'm proud to say that I regularly infringe this particular patent
every day with Hal, our black American shorthair. I and many other
people have done it ever since the first laser points were sold, long
before this novel "invention" was ever filed with the patent office.

A long time ago, when I was young and naive aspiring engineer, I used
to think that having a patent actually meant you were smart and had
created something new and useful that actually worked. Now I know
better: the patent system rivals nuclear weapons as a threat to modern
civilization.

The system does serve a useful purpose, though, when it covers truly
bad ideas that people *should* be prevented from using. Check out
Harold Walker's patents on his "VPSK" and "VMSK" modulation schemes,
e.g., 4,742,532; 5,185,765 and 5,930,303, and Feher's patent on Ultra
High Spectral Efficiency Feher Keying, 6,198,777.

Supposedly the PTO won't grant patents on perpetual motion machines,
but the morons at the PTO who approved these patents apparently didn't
realize that what they claim is just as impossible as perpetual
motion.  Maybe they just slept through all their EE courses.  After
all, the guys I knew from college who became patent examiners spent
their college years continually stoned, and they couldn't get jobs
anywhere else.

Phil

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