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August 17, 2008


An anonymous reader at Slashdot, the e-gathering place for philosophic technology sophisticates, worries:

I am a developer for a medium-sized private technology company getting ready for an IPO. My manager woke up one morning and decided to patent some stuff I did recently. The problem is, I'm strongly opposed to software patents, believing that they are stifling innovation and dragging the technology industry down (see all the frivolous lawsuits reported here on Slashdot!). Now, my concern is: what kind of consequences could I bring on myself for refusing to support the patent process?

It leaves one weepy that such a saint, more concerned for the well-being of innovation than his own livelihood, and fearing for the holistic health of an entire industry, should have to suffer as a wage slave.

Fortunately, the worried worker received the helpful insight that innovation was, in fact, dead. The irony of the comment appeared unapparent to the dweeb that wrote it, who was appropriately posing under the moniker "Embedded Janitor".

Find some prior art. It's generally quite simple because there really are few new ideas out there. Tell boss the patent won't fly because of this prior art and you're saving the company $10k+. [note: The spelling was corrected in a few places to improve readability. One cannot be bothered with such trivialities when conveying concepts of such import.]

[note: The author of this blog entry had the audacity to appropriate the beautiful inspirational graphic used by Slashdotians to signify attempts at invention. Let it never be said that good taste collides with profundity.]

Posted by Patent Hawk at August 17, 2008 10:30 AM | Patents In Business


My gut reaction is that if I were the manager, I and my patent counsel would inquire of the developer exactly why he believes that idea is not patentable and also why he does not believe he is a co-inventor. If the decision is that the idea is patentable and he is a co-inventor and he continues to be uncooperative I would work with him to find other employment. I would also counsel him to be upfront with his new employer on his views on patenting software.

Do others agree?

Posted by: patent prosecutor at August 18, 2008 11:17 PM