For Gods sake, why are those regulating the US patent system incapable of determining the difference between a genuine inventive step, and a bean-counter just trying to cash in by using flamboyant wording about something utterly, pathetically trivial?
Case in point is Creative this week rattling their sabre (or should I say toy rattle, because that would suit their mentality better) about a patent they have over “selection by the user of a least one track in a portable media player as a user navigates through a hierarchy using three or more successive screens”. Wow, isn’t that inventive. Have you had your ‘inventors’ IQ tested Creative, because they’re clearly shining geniuses in their field. Give them a raise - oh, but that probably already went to your Vice President of Intellectual Property Bamboozlery I guess.
The problem is that any real engineer / scientist / inventor with an IQ over 80 (and yes, mine’s higher than that, thankyou ;)) would immediately dismiss such an idea as utterly trivial, and would likely be supremely embarrassed to be associated with it being claimed as a true invention. Not so for the besuited types at Creative and the US patent office. Pride in doing things that are worthwhile? Ethics? Honesty? Plain old common sense? These are all things to be derided by these people in the face of cold, hard cash, and in truth perhaps they don’t even understand them. So furrowed are their brows as they pore over their Thesauruses looking for words that might disguise how microscopic their ‘advance’ (if it can even be called that) is, they probably barely have enough mental horsepower to hit the copy & paste buttons accurately enough.
I despair, I really do. What is the point of trying to be genuinely inventive when such trivial patents can be bought wholesale and used to just the same effect? Quality is clearly irrelevant, only quantity matters - are we doomed to a war of attrition where cash-rich but ideas-poor companies trample over the true innovators? If so I think we can wave goodbye to the days of true invention, and get used to a future where the banal is celebrated.