Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Claimed Monopolies Over 'Running A Game of Skill Tournament'

How sill can patents get? This silly:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/09/13/GameShow.pdf [PDF link]

Thanks to CourtHouseNews.com for reporting this.

Apparently the Game Show Network felt it could just steal another company's property by having a computer match, rank and distribute awards to competing contestants based on their relative skill levels. They obviously need to pay dearly for this moral outrage...

More on the specific patent that the U.S. Patent office deemed worthy enough for a monopoly here:


Federal Appeals Court Finally Offers Some Push Back Against Some Broadly Worded Software Patents

In an important decision, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has rendered many broadly written software patents invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as interpreted by the Supreme Court's recent Bilski v. Kappos decision from last year.

The new case is called CyberSource Corp. v. Retail Decisions, Inc.

The Patently-O blog has a useful summary and analysis of the decision here:


The PDF version of the decision itself is here:


Mark Cuban Comes Out Swinging Against Our Current Patent Laws

Outspoken entrepreneur Mark Cuban calls for the end of all software and process patents, referring to most patent lawsuits involving tech companies as B.S.

Read his views at the links below:



Cuban is the kind of guy with enough money and business clout that he could get an audience with most people in our corrupt Congress if he really wanted to press this issue.

Here's hoping that he does.

Invasion of Piracy: The film industry's extortion strategy in response to downloads.

Keegan Hamilton has a must-read article on the front cover of this week's L.A. Weekly (the largest alternative newspaper in the Southern California area).

There is nothing in it that regular followers to this site don't already know in its broad strokes, but its still well worth the time to read and get your blood boiling over how extortion artists have taken over the legal system in the IP wars.

The opening paragraphs:

The bad news arrived in John Doe 2,057's mailbox in May. His wife unsealed a thick envelope from Comcast and read a carefully worded message explaining that a company called Imperial Enterprises, Inc. had filed a lawsuit against him in Washington, D.C., federal court. He stood accused of having illegally downloaded a copyrighted film five months earlier, at precisely 6:03 a.m. on the morning of January 27. The name of the Imperial Enterprises movie he purportedly purloined wasn't mentioned until four pages later. Though printed in tiny italic font in a court filing, it practically leapt off the page: Tokyo Cougar Creampies.

Yet when Mrs. Doe set eyes on that ignominious title, she couldn't help but crack a smile at the absurdity of the situation. Her husband is legally blind, with vision roughly 1/100th of that of a person with normal sight. He is physically incapable of watching any film, this particular porno included.

Read the full thing here:


Copyright Karma Costs Mattel $137-Million

Via Eugene Volokh, a small excerpt from a judge's decision which seems to "get it" when it comes to copyright extortion:

Mattel asserted a copyright claim that was stunning in scope and unreasonable in the relief it requested. The claim imperiled free expression, competition, and the only serious competitor Mattel had faced in the fashion doll market in nearly 50 years. MGA's successful defense ensured that well-resourced plaintiffs cannot bend the law to suit their pecuniary interests. For these reasons, and pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 505, the Court awards MGA $105,688,073.00 in attorneys' fees and $31,677,104.00 in costs.

Judge Carter's specific reasoning makes one want to jump for joy! -

Fee awards to copyright defendants serve a purpose loftier than mere compensation: rewarding a successful defense that "enrich[es] the general public through access to creative works." Fogerty, 510 U.S. at 527. The rationales that underlie copyright favor limitation. Defendants play an important role in "demacrat[ing]" [sic] the "boundaries of copyright law" by raising defenses predicated upon public access to creative works and the novel expression of ideas...

Read the full Mattel v. MGA decision here:


Mattel has had a notorious history of IP abuse:



Their legal affairs department could definitely use some re-education. Meanwhile, they payback is enjoyable in this instance.

Keeping the ball rolling on outrage inspired by 'When Patents Attack'

Via Andrew Sullivan -

Ideologically diverse commentators are in agreement that today's patent system harms both innovation and competition.

The Economist headlines 'Patents Against Prosperity'.

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones rails against patent overreach as well.

Congress is still bought and paid for by the patent industry - but could we at least be witnessing a grass roots convergence against patent overreach from both sides of the political spectrum? If we could at least get a consensus to explicitly ban software and business method patents, that would be a start on desperately needed reforms.

I think what we are seeing here is a potential start of the start...which in and of itself is a start.

Federal Circuit: Isolated Human DNA Molecules are Patentable

Leave it to the Federal Circuit to do all it can to keep expanding patentable subject matters to their broadest possible reaches.

Patently-O blog has a useful summary of the decision here:


The lengthy court decision can be found here:


[Updated note: I would particularly recommend that you Judge Bryson's persuasive dissent in the opinion, starting at pg. 87 in the PDF document.]

More reactions to This American Life's (NPR's) 'When Patents Attack'

Timothy B. Lee at Forbes doesn't pull any punches: 'The Supreme Court Should Invalidate Software Patents'

Plaintiffs' Attorney Max Kennerly: 'Patents are granted too easily and then patent infringement suits are too expensive to defend.'

When Patents Attack - The Internet Is Paying Attention

The excellent and insighful piece from This American Life which John Bennett pointed to on this site earlier is getting a lot of (mainly positive) reaction from several heavy hitters throughout the web.

Masnick at Techdirt: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110724/22250715225/when-patents-attack-how-patents-are-destroying-innovation-silicon-valley.shtml

Felix Salmon: http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/07/25/the-cost-of-patent-trolls/

Matthew Yglesias at ThinkProgress: http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2011/07/25/277901/this-american-life-on-patent-trolls/

Andrew Sullivan: http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/07/shaking-down-innovation.html

They command the eyeballs of a lot of influential people. But you can still color me cynical that any rational leadership will come out of Washington on this issue.

Drug prices to plummet in wave of expiring patents

Funny how that works, isn't it?

The cost of prescription medicines used by millions of people every day is about to plummet.

The next 14 months will bring generic versions of seven of the world's 20 best-selling drugs, including the top two: cholesterol fighter Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix.

The magnitude of this wave of expiring drugs patents is unprecedented. Between now and 2016, blockbusters with about $255 billion in global annual sales are set to go off patent...

Top drugs getting generic competition by September 2012 are taken by millions every day: Lipitor alone is taken by about 4.3 million Americans and Plavix by 1.4 million. Generic versions of big-selling drugs for blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, depression, high triglycerides, HIV and bipolar disorder also are coming by then.
[P]atients, along with businesses and taxpayers who help pay for prescription drugs through corporate and government prescription plans, collectively will save a small fortune. That's because generic drugs typically cost 20 percent to 80 percent less than the brand names.

Doctors hope the lower prices will significantly reduce the number of people jeopardizing their health because they can't afford medicines they need.

Read more:

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Most Recent Comments

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An analysis of patent trolls by a trademark lawyer

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Killing people with patents I'm not really commenting the post, but rather asking if this blog is going to make a comeback

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default

Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without

Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do

Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous

Yet another proof of the inutility of copyright. The 9/11 Commission report cost $15,000,000 to produce, not counting the salaries of the authors.

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece P.S. The link to Amazon's WKRP product page:

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece Hopefully some very good news. Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series of WKRP in Cincinnati,

What's copywritable? Go fish in court. @ Anonymous: You misunderstood my intent. I was actually trying to point out a huge but basic

Rights Violations Aren't the Only Bads I hear that nonsense from pro-IP people all the