A long time ago in a land far, far away, I worked on some projects from which some colleagues and I applied for a couple of patents. We were doing some pretty cool software development and had the opportunity to be officially labelled as “inventors”.
The most recent patent was just awarded last week and I have since been inundated with mail from companies ready and willing to help me bring my new invention to market. Though I am very appreciative of these folks trying to take a cut of whatever money I might make from it, I would prefer that they stop sending me mail. They say, “hurry, you need to get <insert your invention here> to market as soon as possible!”
The funny thing is that it has taken four and a half years for this most recent patent to be awarded. I wonder how many things are out there that could be saving lives or cleaning up oil spills, etc that are stuck in the big patent machine. There are tons of silly patents and mean patents and patents that will have a profound impact on people’s lives. I can’t imagine patenting human genes (which is quite a scary mess). Seeds are patented and patent owners may do all sorts of evil enforcing those patents.
My patents are not evil and will not ever make me a single cent but I often wonder why some patents are awarded and who in the world thinks it is ok to patent some stuff. I am pretty proud to have been awarded these patents but I can’t imagine being so proud of a bit of work I might do that I would be willing to withhold treatment for someone’s illness because I own a patent on some gene. I cannot imagine forcing third-world farmers to buy my genetically modified seed (or suing them if their seed crosses with someone else’s seed for which I owned a patent). I just can’t imagine!
I guess I am rambling as usual…of course, maybe if I owned a patent on a gene, I could afford to buy one of the plaques that the aforementioned “take your product to market” companies was selling and I might actually have something to take a picture of so I could do a proper picture-filled post. Until then, I will be content with having my name buried in the records of the US patent office.
By the way, if anyone is interested in tattooing my patent numbers on their bodies, I am willing to sell the rights to the numbers for a small fee…
(oh yeah, none of the pics are my patents…though I wish!)