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Speaking of our broken patent system

I mentioned our screwy patent system last post; today comes the news that the Supreme Court has decided that, essentially, natural laws can’t be patented.

From the article:

In general, Justice Breyer wrote, an inventor must do more than “recite a law of nature and then add the instruction ‘apply the law.’ ”

“Einstein, we assume, could not have patented his famous law by claiming a process consisting of simply telling linear accelerator operators to refer to the law to determine how much energy an amount of mass has produced (or vice versa),” he wrote.

So, that’s actually good. But it’s still evidence that our patent system is broken.

Point being, given that it’s possible to patent things that are in no way inventions, like genes and one-click shopping, it made sense for companies to try to patent natural laws, and to bring their claim all the way up to the Supreme Courth. Yes, the Court said no in this case, but in a reasonable patent regime this wouldn’t have even been a question.

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