I have to tell you - while I respect the rights of people to have their work protected - like software source code, drug development, songs (for a short while) or trademark design, patenting obvious stuff (like "One-click Ordering" and "use of menus to display available functions in software") completely stiffles innovation. There are hundreds of examples of completely stupid patents that are just lawsuits waiting to happen. I think Schick or someone has the "4 safety blades in parallel for shaving" patent - which is why Gillette went to 5 on this latest shaving blade arms-race product.
Excerpt from Engadget, read the whole source article here.
Patent system changes in the works?Texas Republican Lamar Smith is out front on this trying to get something going to fix the system.
...and it seems most agree that there needs to be a new system to allow challenges to patents shortly after they're approved in order to avoid costly litigation later on. Tech and financial service companies are also pulling for a second "window" to allow them to dispute patents once a patent infringement suit is filed
Excerpt from CNET, source article here.
"The bill will eliminate legal gamesmanship from the current system that rewards lawsuit abuses over creativity," said Smith, a Texas Republican.
The Business Software Alliance was quick to praise the bill, saying in a statement that it goes a long way toward "improving patent quality, making sure U.S. law is consistent with that of other major countries and addressing disruptions caused by excessive litigation."