There’s a story in the feedback section of the latest New Scientist about a “lazy inventor trap”; it restored my faith in the stupidity of much of today’s patent processes. No surprise, the story’s hidden behind a paywall.
Why worry when you’ve got Google. I entered the patent application number and there it was. You can read the patent here. But I’ll save you the trouble.
It’s a patent for some form of hybrid between image capture and document, somewhere in the copier and fax space. But that’s not important.
What is important is this clause, which occurs six inches into the front page of the claim:
9. The method of providing user interface displays in an image forming apparatus which is really a bogus claim included amongst real claims, and which should be removed before filing; wherein the claim is included to determine if the inventor actually read the claims and the inventor should instruct the attorneys to remove the claim.
What is important is that the clause was not buried in the small print, it was at the start of the claim.
What is important is that the inventor was meant to have taken the bogus clause out.
What is important is that the inventor didn’t. Nor did his attorney. Nor did the Patent Office. Nor did anyone reading the patest for the last two years.
Just goes to show.
Do patents actually get read?
We have patent spam, and it’s gotten worse. Discovery of prior art is not easy. People game the system.Â There are frivolous patents, spurious ones, defensive ones and frankly offensive ones.
Time for a change.