Cult Leader Games Patent Office

By on July 16, 2018
Patent

July 16, 2018

A cult leader with deep enough pockets to doggedly pursue patents for mundane variations on established technology has been using his inventions as evidence of his genius. Keith Raniere’s followers, many of them women, several of whom he branded with an iron, are convinced that he possesses a “one-in-425 million level” intellect. He’s presently being held without bail on sex trafficking charges in Mexico. How to convince people not to fall for scams like his may be a mystery beyond solving, but the way the USPTO facilitates Raniere’s schemes is easily remedied, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They use the history of one of his successful applications, a few bells and whistles added to a standard treadmill, to show how the patent office can ultimately be cowed into compliance. They want the Federal Circuit to apply the Supreme Court’s decision in KSR v Teleflex more faithfully, and allow the Patent Office to use common sense when faced with mundane claims. The Alice v. CLS Bank ruling also needs to be defended, so that examiners can reject patents that claim abstract ideas implemented with conventional tools. The Foundation also suggests changing patent law so that applicants don’t get an endless number of bites at the apple.

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Electronic Frontier Foundation

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