I’ve written here multiple times about screwed up the intellectual property system is in the United States. Particularly since a U.S. Appeals court decided in 1998 that business methods could be patented, the system has completely broken down. The very premise that a business method is an invention is so utterly stupid that any judge that would actually decide such a thing is clearly either too corrupt or too stupid to be on the bench. Every year the system just gets worse, and the cost to society increases.
The latest ridiculous abuse of the system comes from tax attorneys and accountants. As tax laws have become increasingly complex, lawyers and accountants have had to come up with new ways to help their clients avoid paying their fair share. So those same lawyers have started getting patents on their tax strategies. The premise is insane! Now if people want to use a particular tax strategy they may have to either go the lawyer that holds the patent or potentially another one that has licensed the strategy. I don’t generally have any sympathy for people who have enough money to be able to afford these kinds of problems. However, this is yet another really bad patent precedent. If these kinds of things are allowed to continue along with things like patenting genes, who knows where it goes next?
It’s time to stop the abuse of the patent system. Business method patents, need to permanently banned and all existing method patents need to be invalidated. A database needs to be created for the filing of prior art. Procedures need to be implemented to allow people to challenge a patent application after the application is published if they are aware of prior art on the patent. Finally, patent examiners should be given more training in what the word obvious means! Something like swinging sideways should be granted a patent.