Thursday, April 6, 2006

Protection or Protectionism?

Netflix has been awarded a patent on a computer-implemented approach for renting items to customers. Naturally, they immediately use it to sue their biggest competition.

Here comes the editorial content: in what way is using a computer to communicate with customers an "innovation" worthy of patent protection? "Business model" patents rank right up there on my stupid list with software patents. The only thing they can possibly accomplish, as we are seeing in this case, is to prevent competition in certain markets. And that is not the way to award invention, it's the way to stifle it.

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